well, as far as conditioning goes, I am very fit. I backpack everyweekend and can handle a heavy load. Most of my hikes I maximize elevation gain, and despite the low elevation of the mountains in the east, you can still compound elevation change. The harder the hike the more I like it. When I hike I do a lot of 15-20 mile days and I have hiked over 30 miles in a day. I will continue to condition myself for Rainier. I intend to be in the best physical shape of my life leading up to this climb.
I definitely apreciate the difference between Rainier and Elbert. My reason for climbing Elbert in CO is strictly the Altitude. I want to make sure I can handle 14,000 feet. The highest mountains I have been on are the 6,000 footers in the east like Mt. Mitchell and Mt. Washington.
$$ constraints won't allow me a test trip on Rainier before July, but I was able to score a RT plane ticket to Denver for $143 from Baltimore... Pretty sweet deal!
My plan is to arrive in Seattle on Friday night the 13th of July. Some of my other friends will be arriving on Saturday the 14th. I'm not sure what I will do Saturday yet, depends on everyones plans, but I hope to stay somewhere in the Rainier vincinity, as we need to be at RMI's base camp by 8am on the 15th. The 15th is RMI's climbing school. The 16th we climb to Camp Muir and the 17th we summit and then descend back to base.
I think the 18th I may do some leisurely dayhikes in RMNP and stay in or near the park that night or head to the Olympic National Park area and stay there that night.
The 19th, I will dayhike in Olympic, I like the sound of the 7 Lakes hike some of you suggested. I'll probably car camp that night in the park.
The 20th, I might do another smallish dayhike in Olympic, check out the coastline and in the PM, I want to check out some Seattle.
I mainly post on www.thebackpacker.com/trailtalk .. some of you have already started calling me ENS, I wonder if you know me from TT. lol or if that's the default nickname.
here is the trip planning page on TT:
Anyway, thanks for the info! I really appreciate it!
As far as the hike around 7 Lakes, looks like the mileage is around 18 or so.. anyone have an idea? Looks pretty rugged too.. My kind of hike.
PS: The Elbert Trip is a trip amongst its own rite.