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suomi

Soloing Rainier

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I second the south side of Adams. No crevasses, no rockfall, no seracs. As long as you're halfway decent at navigating (even in a white-out) it's a very comfortable climb for a solo climber.

 

Climbing Rainier solo is not recommended unless you're pretty comfortable avoiding weak snow bridges.

Edited by scottk

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I hate to digress from the subject, but I think the "just go do it" advice is horrible, no matter if we're talking about soloing Rainier or Adams or anything.

 

The same would go for saying "you don't need an axe or crampons."

 

We know little about other's experience on here. I think it's always safer to say what the conditions are, and let the person make their own decisions.

 

But probably better to dissuade than encourage.

 

My $0.02.

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dinomyte,

 

In a general way, I agree with you. However, here I think the balance may have been tipped a little heavy toward the "don't do it" side of the equation.

 

There's no question that the risk of a crevasse fall on Mount Rainier is very real. Some very experienced climbers have posted on THIS website about how they have been completely surprised by a sudden and unexpected collapse. Mount Rainer is not like many if not most other mountains in the lower 48 states. There is no doubt that the mountain is HUGE, with a capital "H" and that it presents hazards unknown elsehere. Help may be far away if something goes wrong or if the weather changes unexpectantly -- though it may not be all that far off on the D-C route (with the emphasis on the word "MAY").

 

But I think I more or less agree with the bottom line in posting the advice, "just do it." The climber on Mount Rainier, whether in a large group or solo, must make their own decisions and "standard precautions" or "accepted practice" need not necessarily apply. I've solo'd the mountain more than once, and I believe I had sufficient glacier travel experience and NW climbing experience to make sound judgments as to conditions as well as terrain, but that is neither here nor there. We don't know about "the other's" experience, their judgment, or their proclivity toward caution.

 

I don't assume the poster is incompetent or expert. Mount Rainier is serious, and I hope they realize this. Beyond that, and maybe a few tips to the wise, who am I to say whether they should head up there or not?

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I almost got the chop once walking solo on Rainier's easiest route. I was standing on a couple of inches of snow over a 90 foot cavern.

My tidbits:

*Rainier's crevasse patterns are harder to read than all the other glaciers in the state.

* If you can go on skis, your safety margin will be way higher.

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Haha, skiing that route late season has got to be much dicier than hiking, unless you are 'good.'

 

I just assumed this was a troll. Who asks permission on the internet to solo? You won't find the answers you are looking for here... they are up on the mountain. But uh, we didn't tell you to go there or anything (except for that one guy).

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Whoa...What a Big 'ol Can we opened up here. I am absolutely thrilled about this dialogue. Thank you. I value most opinions so far. Some of my favorite advice has been from 'spotly' and 'mattp' Thanks a lot. FYI all- I do have a fair bit of judgment from soloing other places along with a fair bit of glacial navigation and crevasse rescue training. Having never set foot on said mountain, however, I'm using this forum to probe a bit more than:

-my ego, judgment, experience can give (over-confidence? or correct competence?)

-my Rainier exp. climbing buddies' encouragement,

-the books can tell you,

-the rangers and nasayers say,

-what some dude at the bar sprays at you

 

It'll be really fun if/when I actually do it (with or without a team) and take a look back at what people said to see what made sense.

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I hate to digress from the subject, but I think the "just go do it" advice is horrible, no matter if we're talking about soloing Rainier or Adams or anything.

 

The same would go for saying "you don't need an axe or crampons."

 

We know little about other's experience on here. I think it's always safer to say what the conditions are, and let the person make their own decisions.

 

But probably better to dissuade than encourage.

 

My $0.02.

 

Well, as for the South Spur of Adams, I've done it a few times, the last time was a couple of weeks ago, and I carried my crampons to the top and back. No, I wouldn't go there without crampons and an ice axe, but I'd also say there were no fewer than 200 people on that route, and any route that I don't have to rope up for and use my hands on is a 'hike'. It's a walk-up. Nothing technical about it. No more technical than Camp Muir, in my opinion, just steeper and higher. Not a climb, not even a scramble. Just a steep walk. As for solo? Just be able to find your way on snow if it clouds over (which it has, half the times I've been there). By the way, I'm not saying do it or don't do it, never did. I'm just giving my opinion of the technical difficulty of the South Spur of Adams. And my opinion is - there is none.

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Just be sure you're coming down the correct ridge from Lunch Counter :blush:

 

It is possible to be a ridge or so off if it's your first time up it and you leave the TH in the dark. But that's another story, which shall go mostly untold.

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Lizard,

 

I totally understand. Although my post was directly after yours, I wasn't intending to reply to you. I was replying to the person who said "Just do it."

 

My only point was that not knowing another person's experience, I would prefer not to say "Just do it" and I would not tell them what they should or should not take on the trip.

 

I would personally feel better stating mountain conditions, telling someone what they are likely to encounter, and maybe even mention what I took with me on that or a similar climb.

 

Although everyone should realize that they must all make good decisions based on their own knowledge and experience, I can't imagine how bad I would feel if I told someone to "just do something" that they were not prepared for, and something bad happened.

 

I think the overwhelming majority of the posts do exactly that - they point out the hazards that Suomi is likely to encounter. He can make his own decisions, knowing whether he is prepared for the known challenges and whether he is willing to risk the uncontrollable.

 

I simply wanted to caution the person who said "just do it." Certainly, that's a valid opinion and given Suomi's experience level it MAY be doable, I just personally wouldn't feel comfortable throwing out a comment like that.

 

Not trying to be an ass or anything, I just tend to be cautious with the advice.

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Good discussion. I definately agree with MattP.

I have seen people solo Rainier many times and have friends who do it now and then. I personally choose not to and have summited by a few different routes. I would consider it if my girls were not so young.

Adams North Ridge is a little snow and a lttle more choss and a lot of trudging but more exciting and remote than the South Spur. I did it in a day.

 

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Lizard,

 

I totally understand. Although my post was directly after yours, I wasn't intending to reply to you. I was replying to the person who said "Just do it."

 

My only point was that not knowing another person's experience, I would prefer not to say "Just do it" and I would not tell them what they should or should not take on the trip.

 

I would personally feel better stating mountain conditions, telling someone what they are likely to encounter, and maybe even mention what I took with me on that or a similar climb.

 

Although everyone should realize that they must all make good decisions based on their own knowledge and experience, I can't imagine how bad I would feel if I told someone to "just do something" that they were not prepared for, and something bad happened.

 

I think the overwhelming majority of the posts do exactly that - they point out the hazards that Suomi is likely to encounter. He can make his own decisions, knowing whether he is prepared for the known challenges and whether he is willing to risk the uncontrollable.

 

I simply wanted to caution the person who said "just do it." Certainly, that's a valid opinion and given Suomi's experience level it MAY be doable, I just personally wouldn't feel comfortable throwing out a comment like that.

 

Not trying to be an ass or anything, I just tend to be cautious with the advice.

 

Yeah, I understand... At the TH the other day, as we were getting back, this guy and his wife pulled up in a pickup and told me they heard there was a 'trail to the top'. I said yeah, sort of. He kept looking back and forth between his wife and the trailhead. He looked like some middle-aged blue-collar good ol' boy. I told him we just got back, and it 'took us two days', and that there is no trail above 9,000 feet, just snow to 12,278 feet. He kept shifting in his seat and looking back and forth. I was trying to give him the message 'it ain't easy' and 'it ain't for beginners', and I gathered from his body language and the way he was looking at his wife was 'we oughta go fer it!' I gave him a couple of scare stories and left it at that. I figured if he did try it, he'd burn out well before the Lunch Counter anyway. He was in jeans and running shoes. 'D'ya think we could make it in a day?' 'That depends on how fast you walk 15 miles and 7,000 feet up a 12,278 foot mountain, 3,000 feet of it off-trail in snow.' I have no idea if he went for it, but it was up to him. But I don't care anymore. It's up to them. I didn't say 'go for it' or not, I just gave him the info. Okay, I did tend to be negative because I thought he had no idea what he was getting into. But the original poster sounds somewhat experienced, and Adams is nothing for someone with experience, just a matter of routefinding. And on weekends, that's not a real problem on the South Spur, just follow the conga-line of 200 other hikers and climbers and skiers and snowboarders and Boy Scouts and Mazamas and moms and dads and kids and dogs going up and down that thing. It's relative to who you're talking to, and the route you're talking about...

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Whoa...What a Big 'ol Can we opened up here.
You posted in the wrong section. There's plenty of beta to be found in the Rainier section, and there is a partners section if you want that. Note that Rainier may or may not be more difficult to navigate than this website (although from recent route photos found in the Rainier forum there looks to be a beaten path).

 

Don't ask people to tell you if it is okay to solo something--that's the big 'ol can you opened!

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I use to always feel lucky to get back when soloing a Mt. If it was me, I'd do that nice route on the NE side of Mt.Rainer.

 

Lots less folks and objective hazards.

 

Whats that route called?

 

BTW, being in the Mts is always dangerous, and can be more dangerous if you have a group of idiots with you as well, but much more dangerous when you are all on your own.

 

I'd try and stay away from the hoards as much as possible to preserve that experience and feel of challenging, calming and quiet aloneness being by yourself brings.

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I always wonder about "soloing" in a herd of folks. kind of takes away the "solo" zen doesn't it?

 

In the Mt's it does. But the best solo (most memorable) I've ever done was in Oz at Arapiles when Bob, Myself and Dave simulsoloed the 1500' long route Tiptoe ridge (5.5)

 

At first I thought " is this f*en nuts, there is 3 of us, why not just rope up? I had always thought of soloing as something you did alone. However, once I got over my thoughts of "If Bob falls I'm gonna get hit and ripped off of here, and they shifted to "If I fall I'm gonna take Dave out too", and settled my mind down to what was right in front of me..... it was an awesome high to be flowing in lockstep with 2 of my closer climbing friends.

 

We topped out to laughter and "Lets do that again". As we ran back down the descent trail, and started to realize the pains of descents in your knees and muscles, we changed our focus to "Lets have a beer and recreate that experience". :lmao:

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I guess I look at it from a different inward perspective. My best soloing has been on the Solar Slab in Red Rocks, where I have soloed unroped as far as the top of the arch (pitch 7 or 8). When doing so, I don't like have anyone watching, for fear that I will somehow allow them into my focus. I once had an onlooker come by and take a photo of me, which completely took the zen (focus) out of me, putting a small thought in the back of my head that perhaps now I am doing it to show off rather than the pure focus. It all probably effects everyone differently, and solo is probably a unique experience for everyone.

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I have solo'd Mt. Rainier several times followed by a ski decent. The best time to do this is in May and early June. Soling Mt. Rainier from late June on is really not a very good idea. There are just too many objective hazards and open cravases. The only reason why I do the volcanoes anymore is to ski down them. Good solos this time of year include Mt. Adams, Ruth Mountain, you can also check out some of the snow sloggs in SW BC.

 

There are just so many better targets this time of year---check out some fun scrambles--as long as you feel comfortable soling 4th and easy 5th you will have many options.

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I used to solo the R&D route every spring to get my zen jumpstarted. This year I lead it with gear and thought I was going to fall at one point.

What can I say? My focus was on the girl in the team below us.

 

 

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