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Josh Lewis

[TR] A Fun time at Camp Muir (Mt. Rainier Attempt 2) - Dissapointment Cleaver 9/8/2009

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Trip: A Fun time at Camp Muir (Mt. Rainier Attempt 2) - Dissapointment Cleaver


Trip Time: A little over a Day (August 28-29)


Elevation Gain: 4,500 Feet


After Summiting Mount Baker I had hope for climbing Mount Rainier, right after Baker I went to Lakeside Bible Camp which I served there and during that time I studied the book "Freedom of the Hills 7th Edition" which is a Mountaineers book. Also I would wake up very early to go on runs to get in shape for climb Rainier. When I got home I went for a 5 mile run to test my strength, and then went for a 50 mile bike ride to make sure I was strong. My buddy Mark showed me some more stuff about using ropes and such which after that I spend hours studying crevasse rescue and figured out how self rescue works and the pullys and such. This time I felt very confident about climbing Mount Rainier without having doubts although I knew my chances were not perfect due to either weather or how the route was. Finding a partner was some what difficult. I had one guy in late July tell me they wanted to go, but after not responding for a while I dicided to look for more partners. I would get one, and then hear they had to bail, which kept happending, and others were discouraged from my past experiences. I finally found a few which seemed pretty good, although Bill is a bit hard of hearing. Before I left someone attempted to majorly discourage me, which could have worked but I realized he was wrong. I prayed for him and for our party and hoped all would go well.




My brother snuck out the camera from my brother and let me borrrow it, unfrtunatly there was no case and it was very limited on space (memory). After waking up Saturday August 28 at 4:49 A.M. I bring all our gear in the car and later meet up with my partner Jon. I payed Jon 20$ for gas which is around the amout he asked for which was for gas, he said he would drive me (I could have had Michael take me, but car pooling seems to be the best way). The weather was slightly rainy and cloudy which had me worried a bit. The forcast was said to be better the next day which is what encouraged me into going. Getting to the trailhead I worry because we were supposed to meet at 8:00 A.M. around paridise but we were late, fortunatly my prayers were heard again and he walked right up to Jon's car knowing who I was without ever meeting him. We got ready and headed up, Bill went his own way until we got to Camp Muir.




Jon had a really good pace going up, we started out going through meadows which above us was just more fog. Going up this time with overnight gear was a lot easier because I packed better plus I was stronger. I talked with some kids a little bit on the way up and later we were a little uncertain of were to go. Fortunatly we saw Bill as well as some other climbers head the right way which I thought too was the right way. When we started to get to the lower part of the Muir Snowfield we saw a clearing which I knew was going to be good. Soon we were out of the clouds and a bright sunny day greeted us as we kept heading up. Mount Rainier looked good, the Nisqually Glacier still had more snow than I expected at this time of the year. As we head up I start to get a little bit tired, but was still feeling strong and knew once we were at Camp Muir I would be strong again. The snow field was quite diffrent from when I went a little over a month ago. There was water dripping down making mini crevasses and such, which later we saw real crevasses which some were glacier sized. Eventually we had to jump some of them which by now was a casaul thing because on Mount Baker there were some I had to jump. Although because we were not roped up I was a bit worried at times and it became icy. I had been holding my ice axe out the whole time since Paridise (I like carrying my ice axe even when it's not snowy for a some what hiking stick on rocks). After a while I started to become tired because I was getting cold, hungry, thirsty but we were so close to Camp Muir or atleast thats what it seemed. After enduring a while longer we were there which I felt dizzy. After eating, resting, drinking I felt much better and soon felt normal, the altitude here did not have much effect, infact it felt almost as though I was at sea level, my runs and hikes paid off my asma.


















After Jon spoke with a lot of people about the Dissapointment Cleaver Route he was convinced that he did not feel comfortable with the idea. It was said to be broken up and had some worrysome spots which finally he said were not going. I was not disappointed. Normally I would be, but I felt like he was making a very responsible dicission and that Camp Muir was good enough. He offered "If you can find another climbing party, feel free and I can meet you at the bottom tommorow at 6:00 P.M.". Which I took up his offer, I asked around camp and there was a few teams that seemed willing but we spoke to the rangers and they said that Jon was the leader hence forth responsible for me, even though my brother and I signed a form saying he was not. So I had to stay in the group which seemed good, the mountain is not going anywhere and this means I have something forward to look forward to, plus next time I can be even stronger (although I am confiedent I could have made it, but there's next time). We went to bed early and I took some photos. We got to sleep in the climbers cabin which was nice although a bit crowded. My backpack wasn't very good for a pillow but was good enough.










We woke up in the morning and talked a little and got ready for the decent. I decided at first not to wear crampons, which was kinda a bad idea, someone once told me to wear them when only nessisary which I thought "oh.... I'll be fine". Eventually it got very slippery on the ice so I put them on, I did not tighten them enough, plus they were not fully compadible with my boots. Eventually one of them fell off, which I decided to take them off. At one part as I was going down it was kinda steep, icy and there were crevasses which as I did a mini ice axe arrest I said "Oh Crap!" which I almost never say, but it felt like a bit of a situation, putting back the crampons would take up more time and I would have to tye them good. I used some of the mini crevasses as footing holds to get down as well as the cracks from the creeks. I fell a little bit behind which one of the nice rangers (or nice climber) was with him and heads up to me and we temporarly swap crampons which these fit better and stay on solid. Going down with crampons on ice was sooo much easier which I was practically speed walking down. When we get to the bottom of the icy part of the snow field we wait for the lady to return and swap back crampons. As we were swapping I put my camera on a flat rock. I forgot it! After the swap there were some mini glassades which once I get to the bottom of the last snow field I see a climber in front of Mount Adams which I think "that would make a really good photo". I search my pack for my camera which I immediatly realize I forgot it way up the mountain! So I run up to my partner, tell him quickly what happend which he was ok with, and I run up the mountain. This was the most tiring part of the trip. I was passing people constantly which they probably thought it strange to see me again. I would ask people if they saw my camera which they said "no". It was exausting running up, when I finally saw the bottom of the icy part of the snow field I find my camera which I shouted "YESSSSSSSS!!!!!!" I was so worried, but as soon as a I grab it, I run back down the mountain so that way my buddies don't have to wait.




It seemed like atleast 1,000 feet of elevation gain from getting the camera, a guy on the way down offered me some water which was very nice but he could see I was very tired from running up. After this I meet back up with Jon which he did not seem impatient. Going down from here was much nicer and Rainier looked huge down near Panorama Point. The rest of the way down wasn't too bad, although lots of people heading up. Getting to the bottom we waited for Bill which fortunatly Jon sees which means we could head home. Even though we did not summit, it was indeed a good trip! My attitude had changed about turning around, perhaps some of the nwhikers prayers for me were heard. I really believe now that I see a bright future for hiking, scambling, and climbing!





Edited by Josh Lewis

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Josh, I have enjoyed reading your TR's. I greatly respect your honesty and willingness to share your experiences in the mountains and how they have affected you.


I will say that you have been very successful in a couple respects the past few trips - You seem to have learned a great deal with each experience, and you lived long enough to apply those lessons.


Keep your thirst for knowledge, progression, and safety and please continue posting your TR's. Climb on, broseph!

Edited by beer_factor

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Thanks! This one was fun even though we did not summit. More photos were added since your reply. I hope to have more climbs in the future/ hikes.

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Nice TR!


This reminds me of the first climb I ever did, Rainier. As a Jersey boy out of highschool, I saw a picture of it online and decided to climb it on the spot. Months of planning, collecting gear, training, and practice with another Jersey yokel culminated in the summit of Rainier. At the time I thought it was like walking on the moon.


Keep on trying and you'll get to the summit!

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