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Josh Lewis

[TR] A Camping Trip Up to Camp Muir - 5/22/2010

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Trip: A Camping Trip Up to Camp Muir -

 

Date: 5/22/2010

 

Trip Report:

Distance: About 11 miles (some of the road had to be walked)

 

Elevation Gain: 5,000 Feet

 

Time: September 12-13, 2009

 

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My mountain,' tis of thee,

sweet land of Ingraham, of the DC;

land of the climbers' pride,

from every mountainside let climbing ring!

-Modified from the original "My Country Tis of Thee"

 

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This was another one of my fun adventures to Camp Muir. My original intensions were to either go up to Camp Sherman or Camp Hazard, plans later changed. On the way to Mount Rainier I met up with shadetree which is a member of nwhikers who was very generous and gave me my best pair of boots I have ever owned, which they were mountaineering boots which I am very much appreciative of, thank you very much! After this we went to the Mount Rainier Festival which Ed Viesturs was there as well as Jim Whittaker which they had some stories about climbing Everest and such. To be honest, not to be rude, but I'm more honored to meet Gimpilator and EastKing than some of the most famous climbers in the world. While we were there I found a sweet deal on crampons which were 50$ plus tax which at first was questionable because even though they were strap ons, they were a little rusted, used, and had short spikes. The guy said it was Rainier worthy, plus it seemed like they would be atleast semi ok, fortunatly the guy was right. When it was late noon we decided to leave the festival and head for Rainier. Due to our lack of money we could not go to the other side of Rainier for Camp Sherman. We had a little over 1/4 a tank of gas which my brother was iffy about the idea. After paying for the enterance fee we only had a little over 4.00$ for the rest of the way home! The reason I persuaded my brother was because I assumed we were going up to Camp Hazard which the parking lot was near Longmire and would not be as far as Paradise. As we drove, my brother looked at the mountain plus the name was a discouragment and he wanted to go to Camp Muir instead. Getting to Paridise it was very crowded, which we had to drive down to the East perhaps a whole mile or so down the road which there was a traffic delay on the way down which made me a bit uneasy considering we did not have a whole lot of gas for the ride home.

 

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We got out of the car, grabbed our gear and I snapped a few shots of flowers and we headed up the road to Paridise. Before we left my crampons were strapped to the top of my pack which they hit me in the head which very much hurt. After getting to Paridise we headed up the Alta Vista Trail to Camp Muir.

 

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The hike was nice, but hot which suprisingly I did not need much water nor food. As we looked over the side we could see parts of where we were when we hiked up in a White Out which scary memories came back of being lost up here. Fortunatly the weather was nearly perfect! Once we got to the Camp Muir snow field I took out my crampons which were easy to put on, unfortunatly even though my new boots were very nice, I had not broughten gaitors which some snow got in my boots which got my feet wet, but they were still warm. By this point the sun was starting to set which we realized we should try to hurry for camp. As we went up my crampons fell off which was due to lack of adjusting and tightening, so I decided to put them away. A lady coming down told us that we should not go to Camp Muir because she said a few times her ice axe plunged through a few crevasses. Not only that, but some say that Camp muir it self was full so we decided eventually that we should just push for Anvil Rock.

 

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After the sunset it started to get cold and I realized when I was up there that I was taking the view for granite, not always will I get such a view. The stars had a very good appearance, there were so many, perhaps the most I've ever seen. Even getting to Anvil Rock I was a bit worried about crevasse danger. We decided to head over to the right side of the Muir Snow field which ended up being a scamble due to the steepness and the rocks we scambled over. I started to realize that I should have been eating and drinking before, even if I'm not thirsty because I notice when I'm already thirsty which I now know is not a good idea. The blueness of the snowfield had a cool feeling to it. I started to see a bright flash in the distance which at first I had no idea what it was, when we started to see it more, we realized that it was lightning! "Oh boy" were my thoughts because I did not want to be caught in a thunderstorm on Rainier. It was pretty much clear with slight clouds which made it some what confusing although it was towards Mount Saint Helens, fortunatly non of the lightning came our way. I became a bit tired from this, which we found a good flat area below Anvil Rock and decided to set up Camp here. My brother Michael set up the tent, which I was shivering cold because I was in a t-shirt and was weak feeling. After he set up the tent I layered up, drank, ate, and got warm which I felt much better. Then I went to bed.

 

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I slept very good that night. Michael woke me up which when I looked outside I could see Mount Rainier glowing red from the sunrise. I snapped a few photos and went back to sleep for a while. Later we woke up and got ready for heading to Camp Muir. Our bread was gone which I was outraged because that was a good majority of our food. Michael left it outside our tent and I suppose some birds came though and ripped a whole in the bad and ate every last crumb of the entire loaf of bread, and all that was left was the wrapper.

 

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We packed up our stuff and set it under rocks, purified some water, which even though it is a non pump purifier, it was still work to hold it high up while holding lower my bottle to purify the water. After this we headed up, which I was feeling better that we were above Anvil Rock, my brother earlier mentioned "if that rock above is not Anvil Rock, we are turning around" which it indeed was. There were not as many crevasses on the way up as I expected, although many of them were filled in with snow which made me extra catious considering that now they are hidden cevasses, it's one thing to be on glacier roped up, and another to be on a crevassed snow field not roped up. Also at times we would hear the Nisqually Ice Fall which would have avalanches and rock fall.

 

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At one point I had to go all the way across the snow field because of a single crevasse, it looked atleast 30+ feet deep and it had rushing water going down it which I knew it was not worth taking my chances on. Another time as I was nearing Camp muir I knew there was a hidden crevasse on one spot so I plant my ice axe which I shatter a bunch of icicles below which sounds like glass breaking. After this we make the last push to Camp Muir. It seems as though each time I go up the altitude is effecting me less and less each time, although after the first time the second I felt much better, but this time I felt almost as though I were at sea level. I thought of the quote in the book "Into Thin Air" when the sherpa's were laughing sainyg to Jon Krakauer (the Author) "The air is very thick here" which they said this around 20,000 or so feet, which basically means if you think the air is bad now, your in trouble later. After resting up a bit I decided I wanted to scramble up the huge rock near Camp Muir which looked like a fun scramble. At first it was a scramble, but later ended up being atleast class 4 which if it were not such a short distance I would either not do it, or need to be roped up.

 

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Once at the top the view was wonderful, which I could see a long ways down the Cowlitz Glacier, Gibalter Rock, Camp Muir, and more. I looked at the second rock which was nearly as high, but was too technical to climb. Scrambling down was sorta a pain, at one point I had to yell rock because one flew onto the Muir snowfield and people were heading up, I was being extra careful not just for my own safty but trying to bring down as little of the mountain as possible. After this I headed back to Camp Muir, checked ou the edge of the Cowlitz which to my supprise my camp spot from a few months ago was unaccessable because there was a big crevasse dividing us from the rest of the camp spots. We heade back to Camp Muir and decided it was time to head down not only was it getting late but we could see clouds starting to come in.

 

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On the way down we stayed clear of the huge crevasse earlier mentioned because it was over hanging and hard to notice until it's too late. There wasn't a whole lot of jumping on the way down although eventually there was this one I did not feel comfortable about jumping but my brother said I should and ended up hurting my arm due to a bad landing which that too I will be careful about in the future. We also has some small glassades on the way down. At this point we were above the clouds and it started to remind me of a storm. We picked up our overnight gear, purified some water, and purified some water for some other people as well. After getting off the Muir snowfield we got to a creek which we started to get burried in mist. We rested a bit and the mist broke and a beautiful view we would get. It truely was a paridise! I could see beams of light, clouds above a waterfall, Mount Rainier, the sunsetting, and us above the clouds all at once, it reminded me of Heaven.

 

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After we had one last view of the sun it went away for good. We decented into the mist and it was a peaceful way down with seeing only a few people. Once we got to Paridise the mist had a dark blue look to it, which I could not get a photo because we were limited on memory card space, our good memory card is missing. We realized that perhaps we should ask a few people around for gas money which we so happend to meet the guys who I purified some water for, and they gladly gave us 5$ which Michael and me were very much excited, "WE MIGHT ACUALY MAKE IT HOME!" which were Michael's words. I guess sometimes it's true what they say "what goes around comes around". Which I think in my opinion this was a mericle. We later got to the car which from here was an adventure on it's own.

 

Michale had the car in Nuetral most of the time while driving in Rainier National Park which to save gas, at times I would be nervous because around turns we would go fast,and at others we would barly make it over a hill and had a car in front of us that would go slow, and then speed up which the people behind us must have thought "why are they going fast and then slow?" which was due to our lack of gas. I said many prayers that we would make it home alright because not only saftly wise, but chances were quite good that we would run out of gas, if had we left in day rather than late evening, we might not have made it, any traffic or even trffic lights were very worrysome which fortunatly we hit very little of. At one point my brother had the car in neutral and by accedent shifted the gear to reverse when going fast which all the low oil, and other warning signs came on and my brother had to immediatly turn into the emergancy lane and turn off the car. This very much worried me, because there was a good chance that if the car was messed up, we would be stuck, even if we could make a call, my mom would probably not answer, nor my brothers. Fortunatly the car worked and in good condition although we were worried because the gas meter said we had a bit more gas than before which might have been caused by heat to the gas. After this we drove the rest of the way home safely, which from here on we realized that 40$ is not enough to get to Mount Rainier and back comfortably, 15$ goes towards a pass leaving only 25$ for gas. But this too turned out to be a fun and learning experience.

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Thanks Kurt, it was a fun trip, hope to return soonish, next weekend I plan on going for Little Tahoma.

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Josh-

 

Be careful on little tahoma, it's fairly treacherous, or can be depending on conditions. Lots o' rockfall when I was up there . . .

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