Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
Earth N sky

Yes, another easterner gonna climb Rainier

Recommended Posts

I am from Southeastern Pennsylvania. You all probably would consider me a flatlander. I am pretty experienced though and I am generally out backpacking the most rugged trails I can find every weekend. Those endeavors lead me up and down the east coast from the Smokies to the Adirondacks, Whites and Katahdin.

 

I've never been higher than Mount Mitchell, highest mountain east of South Dakota and that mountain's loftiness stops short at 6,684 feet. None the less, the mountains in the east, even though not as high as those in the west, still provide immense amounts of challenge and one can still get their proverbial ass kicked out here.

 

I've never been out west. I have long wanted to climb Mount Rainier. The summer of 2007 I am going to do it. Four of my friends, all very experienced here in the east have signed up with RMI to get our first real taste of mountaineering. Actually, not completely true. One of the dudes in our group has climbed several 20k peaks down in South America.

 

We're completely stoked. I'll probably be stopping here for info, but wanted to make my introduction. I plan on making a full week trip out to Washington. In addition to hopefully getting to the Columbia Crest, I'd like to see other sites in and around RNP. I also want to do some hiking in Olympic and check out some sites in Seattle.

 

It'd be cool to meet some of you. I unfortunately found this board through the tragic events that unfolded on Mt. Hood. I appreciate in advance, any insight you all can provide me.

 

thanks,

 

Rob

ENS

Edited by Earth N sky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Rainier trip actually won't be my first trip to the west either, in April I am planning to climb Mt. Elbert in Colorado. Although not technical, it'll give me a chance to be at altitude.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You will love Mt. Rainier, an incredible mountain. Not sure how you will like the altitude, which can be tough. Hopefully you will have a couple extra days, and be able to zip up to Camp Muir and down to test your conditioning and aclimatize. Try to spend an extra night at Muir too before the climb if you can. You will find lots of climbers here that know Rainier well. Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With all the backpacking and hiking I do, I feel that physically, I am ready for Rainier. I am not sure how I will handle the altitude yet. That is why I am going to Colorado. Unfortunately, I won't have the opportunity to get up to Muir before the climb starts off.

 

thanks for your advice though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, if you can handle the altitude of Elbert, you will handle Rainier fine. Just like Elbert with lots and lots more snow.

Elbert should still have plenty of snow in April, just not glacier. And it is not really very comparable to Rainier. Although Elbert is a few feet higher than Rainier, the trailhead is over 10K and there is about half the elevation gain that you get doing the Paradise routes on Rainier. Hot shots from Colorado come up here all the time to climb Rainier and get their butts kicked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pick a weather window of high pressure. Many climbers have been stranded high on Rainier in late season storms. Don't be like the Mt. Hood climbers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forget the Olympics, and hike the Enchantments instead. 20 mile loop hike, with beautiful forests, lakes, bone-white granite spires, and big mountains. Located about 2 hours east of Seattle, and easily feasible in a day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Theres a difference between Elbert/Massive and Rainier: with Elbert and other Leadville peaks you *start* at 10,000. With Rainier, you *start* at 5,700. Elbert is a day-trip. Rainier is not. Apples and Oranges. In terms of strenuousness on a scale of 1 to 10, climbing Elbert is like a 2, climbing Rainier is maybe like a 6.

 

Rainier will be a new, different, and great experience for you, but I wouldnt worry much about altitude unless you get AMS sooner than the average bear. The most difficult part of the climb for you and friends will be busting that *huge* load that RMI will insist you carry up to camp Muir. Most climbers outside of guided parties learn to carry less stuff, and go faster, than your typical RMI group...but as your first time it will be good to be conservative and it will be really fun regardless!

 

Sharing your stoke!

 

Alex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I booked my trip for July 15th-17th.

 

What are the coolest dayhikes in Olympic NP? Anything 10-15 miles is good, loops best.

 

7 lakes basin is the best. Start at Sol Duc hot springs, go up to Deer lake, along High Divide with stunning views of Mt Olympus, then down to heart lake, down the Sol Duc river and return to the Hot Springs. Reservations are needed for overnight, but it is an excellent day hike. And I might add, a great day ski in the winter. Olympics rule!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps you have your reasons for Elbert but I agree with alex. You really won't develop much in the way of basic skills that you would use on Rainier,as well.

 

The best/easiest access (for April) mini version of Rainier (and the DC rte you will probably be doing) would be hitting Longs Peak via Key Hole rte. Hoof up to the Boulder Field and camp. Summit the next day and head all the way out. Probably nobody up there that time of the year too. Great scenery,as well...far,far better than Elbert.

 

info and a million pics of the rte:

http://14ers.com/routemain.php?route=long1&peak=Longs%20Peak

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I booked my trip for July 15th-17th.

 

What are the coolest dayhikes in Olympic NP? Anything 10-15 miles is good, loops best.

 

This isn't enough time unless you luck into a perfect weather.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I second the Seven Lakes Basin nomination. You may also want to consider hiking any of the western Olympic Coast trails.

Going from Pennsylvania, to the top of Rainier, then the coastline would show you some of the variety we have in the PNW.

 

Best of luck on Rainier. Hopefully the access/flooding issues will be resolved by July.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey ENS

 

I could suggest a good book for Rainier... :rolleyes:

 

The Olympic Mountains are FAB!! But it's best to take plenty of time on Rainier and not rush things. You'll enjoy your trip more if you don't overplan the entire thing and try to do too many things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Rob,

 

Fellow easterner here who has been climbing on Rainier twice; I had altitude problems the first time but none the second. I'll just add this - don't try to do too much right off of the plane. You could wake up in PA in the early morning and be on the slopes of the mountain in the same day if you wanted to, but it'll end up being too much. That amount of travel and the stress that goes along with it aren't going to help your body acclimatize so I'd recommend getting a good meal and a good night's rest at a motel or friends house when you get to WA and then head out to the park the next day. Have a great trip.

Pete

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ENS -

 

The first time I went up Rainier I did some hiking and a Crevasse Rescue class with RMI. The next day I went up to just below Muir with a bud (spent the night there), then up to Ingram Flats for a little sleep, and then an early start for the summit. This provides time to acclimate. If we would have planned better, we would have had a permit to spend the night back at Muir or the Flats on the way down too. That last day was pretty long.

 

Be careful on the snowfield btw Paradise and Muir. Make sure you're good w/ map & compass or are prepared to sit out whiteout conditions (unless there's a good boot track).

 

The Evil Dark Lord has the best book on Rainier ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Perhaps you have your reasons for Elbert but I agree with alex. You really won't develop much in the way of basic skills that you would use on Rainier,as well.

 

The best/easiest access (for April) mini version of Rainier (and the DC rte you will probably be doing) would be hitting Longs Peak via Key Hole rte. Hoof up to the Boulder Field and camp. Summit the next day and head all the way out. Probably nobody up there that time of the year too. Great scenery,as well...far,far better than Elbert.

 

info and a million pics of the rte:

http://14ers.com/routemain.php?route=long1&peak=Longs%20Peak

 

 

 

I strongly second this suggestion (I was gonna write the same thing before I came upon this post).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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:

http://thebackpacker.com/trips/trip/1005.php

 

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.

 

thanks again!

 

PS: The Elbert Trip is a trip amongst its own rite.

Edited by Earth N sky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...

 

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.

 

As someone else commented, don't schedule too much if you really want to do the Olympics. Driving from the coast to Seattle will take you half the day to start with. Also... you might want to plan a real quiet day after your climb. Regardless of how in shape you'll be, I'm pretty sure rehydrating and napping will be higher on your priority list than hiking. No matter how great of shape I'm in, I'm always toast the "day after."

 

While the Olympics are really nice, you can't do much with limited time. Personally, if I only had a couple days to burn after Rainier, I'd head north on I-5 and stay somewhere along the North Cascades Hwy. Maybe do a couple day hikes like Trapper Peak/Thornton Lake and Hidden Lakes Lookout. Those would let you peak into the N. Cascades area and give you more bang for your buck, in my opinion.

 

Olympics are great, but you're going to spend more time driving for just a couple days than it's worth. Better to budget a week or so for that, and use your free couple of days closer to the I-5 corridor.

 

Oh... and if you hadn't figured it out from Gator's post, the book you're looking for is "Mount Rainier - A Climbing Guide", ISBN 0-89886-956-0, published by The Mountaineers Books.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like you are dialed into the July climb...good weather traditionally and sounds like you are prepared-fitness is key for this. Knelson covered the rest.

TTT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll look into that book and the hikes in the North Cascades. That Sol Duc River / Seven Lakes loop looks totally awesome though.

 

I agree about being toast the day after the climb. Most of my doings that day will likely be mechanized hiking to get photos of Rainier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ENS it has been noted in this thread before but here is a little more "guidance" if you would. Great physical shape is good but if you have a choice of focus your cardio condition will dramatically influence your acclimating. I know of few people in great cardio shape that failed (in a good window) due to not being able to keep going. I know of several incredably strong folk who could not keep up the 12-14 hours of slogging.

 

As to the Colorado climbs it is a good goal but not a good comparison. In Co. you fly into 5k+ and you are nearly acclimated by the time you even start the climb (unless you race from plane to peak). On Rainer you fly into a near sea level. and in most cases don't start a climb until the day you put on your boots. Acclimation deteriorates quickly, by the time you get to Seattle you will be a sea level dweller like the rest of us. That brings us back to the cardio again as to how quick you adapt.

 

Have a great climb.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×