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PMT150

How much gear to take to the summit of Rainier

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Rainier will be my first 14er. We (4 of us) will be going the Emmoms route so high camp will be at camp Schurman. I genneraly know what equipment to take on a summit bid but Ive read some accounts from Rainier that seem like overkill to me, so I have to ask. What do you Rainier veterans recommend as standard gear for summit day. We are at the trailhead June 3rd. Thanks in advance for your reply.

Edited by PMT150

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I take the clothes I will be wearing while climbing plus a down or synthetic parka for rest breaks and the summit. Rope and crevasse rescue gear, harness, ice axe, crampons, 2 liters of water, lunch, sunglasses, headlamp, sun block, camera.

 

I don't take bivi gear, sleeping bag, or stove.

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The above, plus a little extra food, shovel blade and one of those super light Ortovox emergency bivy sacks that can fit 2 people.

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I assume you asking asking about emergency gear. Depending on you comfort level, maybe a cell phone. Maybe even several cause not all providers work up there. If you bring a emergecy space blanket, then drag a foam pad along. A first aid kit with some extra ibu for possible altitude headache. And a good first aid book that will help when you have a real situation. For example, how to deal with dislocated shoulders.

 

 

I like a small fm radio for the early hours climbing.

Bring a couple of blue bags which the rangers will give you when you get your permit. keep the route poop-free.

Altimiter watch so i know how much damn farther i got to go.

Roll of cloth tape. (repair kit)

 

And most important of all, bring your eyes and brain along. Watch the weather. evaluate for crevasses. probe if needed. Don't feel compelled for the summit in adverse conditions. june is a deadly month, no kidding.

 

brush up on crevasse rescue (for real, not just glance at a book) and self arrest. stay hydrated.

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Yes I was mainly talking about emergency/contingency gear but now there is another question...June is a deadly month? Bad snow, bad weather, or statistics? I climbed in the Cascades last July and had great weather and the snow was good...so why is June so deadly?

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well, i am no authority on rainier accidents but it seems like recently, there have been some real bad instances in june, including a downed rescue heli. Maybe Gauthier or some other MRNP ranger can give better details.

 

But it seems that june has been hard for reasons of avalanche (stays more wintery later up there), less favorable weather (june can be a wet month around here) causing a whole host of problems like falls, exposure to cold, forced unplanned bivies, getting lost and so forth. Big difference between june and july. But conditions can be good in june, just not as often, so a warry eye for objective and subjective hazards is more warranted.

 

On a side note, I have been up the emmons many times usually with groups of 10 to 12 and every time, there has been some strange medical situation. Nothing extreme, requiring rescue or life threatening, but strange like swollen throat parts, extreme ab pain, dislocated shoulder, people not taking their anti depressants, people going beyond their physical limits and having severe suffering on way down and lastly the strangest, altitude related temporary blindness. Granted when you have large groups, you roll the dice often for medical problems, but damn I can't have a trip without something strange. This trip is hard and the stress causes wierd things. Luckilly we always had good weather. But if any of those situations we had when combined with foul weather could easily turn deadly.

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Altitude related temporary blindness? Never heard of this. Can you elaborate more?

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I've seen it too, in one eye guy's vision worsened until he couldn't see out of one, and the other was weak. Resolved with descent and time. Later saw that he had ruptured some blood vessels in the one eye.

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Red eyes? Temporary blindness?

 

Sounds to me like symptoms of a rasta bivy kit... or perhaps too much time spent at Muir on Saturday? hahaha.gifyellaf.gifyellaf.gifyellaf.gif

 

Speaking of... the rasta bivy kit is all you need... anywhere... mushsmile.gifmushsmile.gifmushsmile.gifhahaha.gifcantfocus.gifwazzup.gif

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always puts the mind at ease and relaxes the muscles... that is, knowing that you have everything you need for a cozy bivy if needed

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I've heard that altitude has an effect on those individuals who've had radial keretotomy. That was at 8000m. I'm not sure about 6000.

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Altitude related temporary blindness? Never heard of this. Can you elaborate more?

 

It happened to John Roskelly on the Cassin Ridge during a rapid ascent once.

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Sounds like hell. I've heard of people who had RK surgery having issues with vision at altitude. Seems to me that blindness from altitude (not from corneal abrasions or bad sunburn to the eyes) would be due to swelling in the brain and might indicate a much bigger problem.

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Sounds like hell. I've heard of people who had RK surgery having issues with vision at altitude. Seems to me that blindness from altitude (not from corneal abrasions or bad sunburn to the eyes) would be due to swelling in the brain and might indicate a much bigger problem.

 

RK has been documented to cause problems at altitude, the biblio below may be useful:

http://www.wemjournal.org/wmsonline/?req...1&page=0053

 

famously Beck Weathers had problems.

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I take the clothes I will be wearing while climbing plus a down or synthetic parka for rest breaks and the summit. Rope and crevasse rescue gear, harness, ice axe, crampons, 2 liters of water, lunch, sunglasses, headlamp, sun block, camera.

 

I don't take bivi gear, sleeping bag, or stove.

 

I second this list, but if you're a group of 4 on your first trip, you might want to consider taking a stove/pot and sleeping bag along with you, along with at least one shovel... preferably two. Split those four things up between the four of you and you haven't increased your individual load much, but have really increased your odds if something goes whacko.

 

Have fun!

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Re: eye issues, the guy I was climbing with hadn't had RK, + was wearing glacier glasses the whole time. I'd heard of it happening before too, but 1st time I had seen it. 13000'.

 

But back to the original post...

 

Less is more, esp. re: weight, and if you have less you tend to use less. But think about your experience, your team's: how much experience do you have navigating on a crevassed glacier in a whiteout, in blowing snow, on a big rounded volcano? Sometimes you just have to hunker down, if it comes to it what would you do? Balance between staying light enough to not blow out your energy preparing for hell to freeze over, yet having a few things that will make the difference in you being able to survive a night out vs. having no options. Like knelson says, you are a group of 4, with a little extra gear between you still light loads but a lot of insurance.

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wasn't snowblindness cause she always had on good sunglasses, no itchiness and it came back when we descended. Snowblindness would take many days to get over.

 

I never found any mention in any book about this but i suspect that she had minor hape (strange though she had NO other symptoms, not a single one or ams) or maybe swelling around the optic nerve. (but then it is strange that both eyes where affected, would have guessed one eye would be affected) Also her vision went to all white. She had no eye surgery. mystery to me. maybe a climb ranger can educate us a bit. Mike G?

 

I would like to add a compass and map to my list of gear. Getting down in a white out is a bitch. Every year, people get lost coming down and end up on the wrong side of the mountain.

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June can be beautiful or you could get hammered by a storm. Just keep an eye on the weather. We were pinned down for about 6 hours at 13,600 one year by a June storm that blew in very quickly.

 

Lists are fine, but make sure you're focused on the potential hazards and why you're bringing stuff. On Rainier, you should be prepared to spend the night. Key items for spending the night include shovel (one for every person), down jacket or light sleeping bag, insulating pad, and probably a small stove/fuel for making water. It's not a bad idea to practice digging a snow cave so you know how much work it is.

 

Practicing crevasse rescue is well advised (including self rescue), and that will inform you regarding what you need. We've had one person pop through a wind crust into a crevasse. He was able to prussik out just fine and we were prepared for hauling him out if necessary. So in the end it was a confidence builder but it does emphasize the importance of being prepared...

 

If you have a GPS, use lithium batteries (much better in the cold and lighter!) and bring extras. On that storm in June it was about 10 degrees and I went through 4 sets of regular alkaline batteries in my GPS. Let's just say the data gaps were an issue.

 

Good luck and have a great trip.

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I've witnessed the eye thing first hand too. A climber from AZ whose group was on the same schedule as our Rednecks on Ice group started to lose vision around 14k on Denali. He was given O2 at the med tent, which helped his vision improve and fully restored upon descent to lower elevation.

The docs explained it as high-altitude retinopathy, which is different then what people like Beck Weathers experienced on Everest or others that have had LASIK, which was attributed to what is called radial keratotomy.

 

 

High-altitude retinopathy occurs frequently amongst climbers, but usually goes undetected and is a hemorrhaging within the blood vessels of the retina. According to the web, it usually occurs as a secondary symptom of AMS or HACE and most patients do not have it until above 16k, but like AMS it can occur at much lower elevations.

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Take everything all the other posts stated... cell phone, fm radio, avy beacon, shovel, climbing/crevasse gear, 10 essentials, etc... and don't forget the kitchen sink!

 

Relax, just take what you think you'll need for a summit day. Don't overthink it.

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With Rainier, a good rule (especially if you don't have much experience) is to go when the forecast is pretty stellar. 3 days high pressure, etc. Of course a lot of people coming from out of town have limited time, leading to more pressure to make something happen even if the weather is shitty. Talk with your group about a classic NW backup plan for bad weather on this side: look into Silver Star as a second option. Weather will be at least 50% better most of the time, and will get you guys on a glacier (albeit w/o much crevasse action) and some alpine terrain, in a beautiful setting. Of course it's always tempting to say "hey, we'll go for Shurman, then see what happens (and sometimes you get a nice clearing up high even when it's shitty below, you never really know)" but if there is a crap forecast, you'll likely suffer and be wet for 3 days then go home. Having a backup like this takes a little of the pressure off, reducing the risk of making bad decisions, and in the case of crap weather on the west side you could be climbing snow and rock in the sun among beautiful peaks. Just a thought; you may have climbed it already during your course. Good luck!

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It takes alot to cause snow blindness. My girlfriend and I went up in august with no eye protection. (just to muir and back) grant it we looked stoned as all hell but vision was not affected.

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