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John Brennan

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About John Brennan

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  1. Yes, another easterner gonna climb Rainier

    When I read your first post I thought you were a troll. I will assume your are not. I agree that to lead a group is allot more work and requires allot more skill then being guided. However if you are not the leader I am not sure going unguided with skilled buddies is really any different (other then you save money and your buddies are probably not as well prepared to handle an emergency as trained guides who do this for a living). Especially on a well trodden boot path like the DC root of Rainier. I think the guide d vs. non guided skill difference is more important off the beaten path on other mountains, or lesser used routes on Rainier. Case and point last August I went with a guided party on the Emmons-Winthrop route. On the way to camp Sherman we encountered several unguided teams that reported they wandered far up on the mountain before turning back due to the route being busted up and crevasses melted out. I felt sick and stopped at camp Sherman and waited out the day. In talking to the Ranger there I think he said no one had summitted this route in the last 1-2 weeks. The rest of my team did the climb with the guides. The guides were able to find a route through the maze, 18 hours later they returned to Camp Sherman. I am pretty certain no one in the group would have been able to summit without the guides. Nonetheless, it was a great accomplishment for all in my book. Assisted or not, they did climb the mountain, that is not a debatable statement. To say that those that climb with guided parties do not climb is at best a poor choice of words. To say to go on your own solo or lead a group requires more skill and adventure is statement you probably would not have received any debate from.
  2. Guide Services on Rainier

    I have done RMI's 3 day summit program and thought they did a fantastic job. Really, the summit day is to climb 4000+' from camp muir, then go all the way down to paradise in one day, getting off the upper mountain before the afternoon sun makes the glaciers too unsafe. So they do make you hustle on that program which I view as a good thing. In fact there are some areas that are quite dangerous and speed = safety in these regions (rockfall areas). They were always polite & professional in my experience. I have taken the 6 day glacier class on Mt Baker with Alpine Ascents International and also rate them as excellent. Both companies set very high standards for their guides and it shows. I have done 2 more trips with Alpine Ascents since then and if or when I return to Rainier I will likely look to them first. The 3rd company getting a large share of Rainier access that I am aware of is International Mountain Guides owned by George Dunn, Phil Ershler and Eric Simonson. I have no experience taking trips with this company but they are an RMI spin off and I get the feeling they will also do an outstanding job. In fact, George Dunn was a lead guide on one of my Rainier trips with RMI I did, I was very impressed with him, very good guide. Net: Find one that fits your schedule and which program looks best for you & your friend, I think you will be pleased with any of these three. If your goal is really variety, consider taking your glacier training on another mountain, Mt Baker perhaps. Alpine Ascents & IMG runs these classes in Alaska. Yamnuska in the Canadian Rockies and Alpine club of Canada runs these classes in the Canadian Rockies. Google these comanies and visit there web sites.
  3. Yes, another easterner gonna climb Rainier

    I live in Vermont and have attempted Rainier 4 times over 5 summer vacations in WA. I recommend RMI's bunkhouse in Ashford if looking for cheap housing near the NP and you do not have camping gear. There is a pizza stand on the premises that makes very good pizza, I used it for my dinner at Camp Muir. I have always extended my stay at least one week to do other hikes in the area: My favorites are in North Cascades. Hidden Lakes Peak, Hannegan Peak, Sourdough Mt. These are about 6-8 hour round trip hikes of comparable difficult to Mt. Algonquin in the Adirondacks. In Mt Rainier national park I recommened Shriner peak after your rainier climb. You will get great views of the DC route. Before your hike spend an afternoon at Sunrise if you can, a few hours at 7K feet with minimal exertion should help acclimatize. If they still let people on the mountain, climb Mt St Helens, it is a very unique mountain for obvious reasons. The closest I got to the Olympics is Mt Townsend, another day hike of comparable difficulty to an Adirondack day out. All of these are recomemded by me. Don't climb Elbert for Rainier prep, I do not think it will do you much good unless you did it a week before your Rainier climb. But do Elbert(or whatever CO peak you choose) for its own right. CO is beautiful too. As pointed out, it is easier to acclimatize in CO because many of the towns themselves are at altitude, not the case around Rainier. Have a great trip. -John PS... I have 2 of these books for WA and the North cascades. http://www.mountaineersbooks.org/showproducts.cfm?FullCat=46