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twistedsteel

Climbing Mt. Rainier?

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As another climbing season on Rainier draws near I would humbly like to offer a few suggestions to the throngs of folks looking to conquer its lofty peaks. I offer these pearls of wisdom not really as a result of much serious thought, but mostly as just an observer who has spent hundreds of days(7+yrs.) trudging up and down her icy flanks. Remember these are only my opinions. . . and are not endorsed by any commercial enterprises currently operating on the mountain. As I am no longer employed as a Rainier tour guide I accept full responsibility for any angry outbursts or hurt feelings these suggestions may cause.

 

1.GET IN SHAPE! If it takes you well over 5 hours to get to Camp Muir and your pack weighs less than 60lbs. spend the rest of your summer working on your stamina not clogging up the upper mountain.

 

2. If your thought is that you will make it to Muir and then just follow one of the guide services. . .think again. If you feel like you must follow a guide then HIRE ONE because your not ready to do it on your own.

 

3. While on the upper mountain if you must stop or take a break get OFF the climbing trail. If you see a faster party coming up behind you pull off the trail, when it is safe, and let them pass!

 

4. If you don't have the climbing skill to negotiate the Ingraham Icefall and the rockfall area under the Cleaver QUICKLY and WITHOUT STOPPING. . .practice in a safer spot THEN give Rainier a shot.(Practice working with fixed ropes and biners with gloves on and walking on rock with crampons)

 

5. While desending if you feel unsafe walking out of the climbing trail to go around a party that's still moving up, you need more cramponing practice.

 

6. We all know there are large guided groups on the mountain. PLAN for that and leave well ahead or behind the large groups. If you are running across the Cowlitz to leave before a group of 30 climbers you slept too long.

 

7. Lastly. . .PATIENCE. We're all up their to have a good time. A kind word goes a long way!

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twistedsteel...

 

Thanks for saying things that nobody else will. :tup:

I will be going up to Rainier this year, and having never been there before, I will take this advise.

 

Any other wisdom to share about everyone's favorite volcano?

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1) If your pack weighs more than 60 lbs you have too much crap in it.

 

2) If you can not use a compass, learn before coming up to Muir.

 

3) Do not rely on others to help haul you out of crevasse. (Your carcass yes)

 

4) If climbing from Muir consider taking three days and camping at Ingarham Flats, making the summit day a bit shorter.

 

and finally ... you are not there to have fun, you are there to climb the mountain :D

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1) If your pack weighs more than 60 lbs you have too much crap in it.

 

2) If you can not use a compass, learn before coming up to Muir.

 

3) Do not rely on others to help haul you out of crevasse. (Your carcass yes)

 

4) If climbing from Muir consider taking three days and camping at Ingarham Flats, making the summit day a bit shorter.

 

and finally ... you are not there to have fun, you

 

are there to climb the mountain :D

 

Summary: climbing Rainier is too hard, dangerous and unpleasant. Stay home.

 

(less people means more fun for the rest of us... :grin:)

 

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Definitely not "wisdom", but what the heck, here comes some more....

 

- Make sure your tent in anchored VERY WELL when you leave Muir or the Flats. Lots of cool stuff, full tents, found in the cracks above Muir and at the Flats.

 

- It's a pain, but take your wands home with you.

 

- CamelBacks = frozen water or soaked parkas.

 

- Fifty-plus foot rope intervals between climbers above 12,000 means slow,slow travel and frustrated, frustrated fellow climbers.Same goes for getting on the Cleaver and travel on the DC.

 

-Crampon compatibility w/boots should be done before Muir.(See Style Tips)

 

-Real food, GOOD.... energy bars, BAD.

 

-Down parkas w/hoods GOOD....down "sweaters" not so good

 

- Take lots of pictures. It's a pain, but you'll appreciate it later.Take extra batteries.

 

- Avoid seafood at local taverns/resturants during post climb dinners.

 

Style Tips:

 

-Shorts over longjohns....enough said.

-White zinc oxide smeared all over face = good for clowns bad for climbers.

-1975 Kelty frame packs are risky UNLESS your wearing wool and you've got a 95cm wood axe.

-Motorcycle helmets = not so cool. Logger hard hats = cool.

-Using Duct Tape to attach spikes to boots may work, but a definite fashion no-no.

 

Hope this was helpful.

 

 

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I once made a raincoat with duct tape and a hooded wind jacket.

Heavy but effective.

 

Duct tape is useful for many fix-it tasks. A dozen wraps around a ski pole right below the hand grip can be very handy.

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BB Rule #1: Never forget to bring earplugs.

BB Rule #2: Pick your climbing partners with care. Spending time w/ various personalities might be OK at a party, but days spent waiting in a tent/snow cave for a storm to lift whilst listening to whining, boring, idiotic bullshit is not OK.

BB Rule #3: As mentioned above, duct tape is a useful thing. In case Rules 1 & 2 are forgotten, a dozen wraps around the face can be very handy indeed.

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Don't attempt a speed ascent unless you're interested in being harrassed by the authorities. If you do, make sure you maintain an "online identity" of third party timers to back up your claims. ;)

 

Also, you should always keep your eyes peeled for "The Nodder." OMG!

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Don't bring people who aren't ready to the mountain and then make them go down on their own when they can't keep going, I saw two instances of this in one day last year.

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1) .... glissading is risky and dangerous. You will eventually get hurt. Avoid it on Rainier.

 

(But good times on Hood, Adams, etc ;) )

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For your own health and what is left of my sanity.....

 

If you are showing up at camp late please drink .5 liters of STFU about 200 meters before entering. I am the deep sleeper of the group and responsible for waking up the earplug people when the alarm sounds.

 

There is nothing more infuriating than a loud mouthed hippy chick (it is NEVER a guy) announcing her arrival at camp to everybody then not shutting up for an hour. Here is a transcript from camp Schurman hippy chick the night of August 19th 2006 from 8pm - 9pm. Blah Blah that was harder then I thought it would be, Blah Blah I love nature, blah blah I didn't think I would make it, blah blah it is so high up here, blah blah pass me the bong, blah blah we should camp on the summit tomorrow (It just took them 12 hours to reach Schurman, I was in my mind praying they would just go for it), blah blah where is everyone, blah blah glad I hauled this sage up to burn, blah blah time for a cletic tarot spread, blah blah that was easier than I thought it would be. Blah Blah I knew I would make it. Blah, blah, blah

 

This chick was miracle... I thought for a second Rosie Odonnell had her fat ass parachuted in. Manic, dumb, loud as hell, and utterly oblivious to the peril she was putting herself in. Had one guy made the move to impale her with ice tools I'm sure 30 would have followed and all would have agreed that they saw OJ do it.

 

Getting roused out of my Ambien induced coma takes quite an effort. Once awaken in this fashion, I am liable to walk over, blind you with my headlamp, and piss on you and everything you have. While this may not cause you to STFU, it will give you a great reason to go home or something worthwhile to blah blah blah about. Male or Female I don't give an F***.

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Rainier does seem to bring out the very best in us doesn't it?

 

There were enough weirdo's up there when I climbed it in the 80's that I swore I'd never go back. Can't imagine what it's like on a labor day weekend now...

 

Twistedsteel, a noble effort. Kudos

 

d

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Vickster, your story reminds of the guy who started yelling "Hot Water" at 3am thus waking me from my sleep and planned late alpine start. After about 10 minutes of this I stuck my head out of my bivy sac and said that if he did not STFU that I was coming down, taking his hot water and giving him an enema with it. All was quiet after that.

 

 

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At camp muir, there was a guy snoring so loud I swear he shook the stone walls of the hut. His girlfriend woke him several times as some of the inhabitants were verbally threatening their well being if he didn't shut up...

 

Alas, it did no good. As soon as he went back to sleep it was on again... My little brother and I got up at 0030 hrs and cooked a bit of gruel and set off summitting around 0800. It was literally a zoo coming down with all the exhausted flatlanders about...

 

It was a nice summit, but once was enough.

 

d

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Rule#101: If you have problems with people doing the above things you should probably think about doing a route not named the Emmouns or DC

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Rule#101: If you have problems with people doing the above things you should probably think about doing a route not named the Emmouns or DC

 

or maybe camp on the snowfield away from muir a few hundred feet?

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My story did not happen on on either route, so see Rule 100 - You are not the only person on the hill.

odd - where then? liberty ridge? kautz?

 

and if you were doing an alpine start, why weren't you up at 3 am anyhow? :P sounds like the dude was just being your friendly alarmclock!

 

i only sleep at muir when i'm armed - so i can be me w/ impunity...

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Naw, Liberty was quiet and all of my other bivies we have been the only people. It was below Wilson in the rocks as to head up the Finger. It would not have been so bad but we were doing a late alpine start. Which means 4:30am.

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Duct Tape works wonders in climber huts, too! And don't forget that if applied carefully the subject will pull off at least one eyebrow when removing the tape over their mouth. Bonus points for both eyebrows (no fair if they only have one really long eyebrow)

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