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mambwe

Few questions about upcoming trip to Mt. Rainier.

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A couple friends and myself are planning on going to Mt. Rainier next July for a guided trip using the DC route. We're all from NY and we have one summer trip to Colorado 14ers under our belt, hence the need for a guide service. Of the three guide services IMG, RMI and Alpine Ascents, does anyone have any experiences or recommendations? We are leaning towards IMG and AA because of the second night at 11,000 feet. I've read that RMI gets you up & down and the experience isn't always great. We also like that IMG & AA does their mountaineering school at 10-11,000 ft on an actual glacier versus RMI doing their school at 6-6,600 ft.

 

Our plan is to be in Washington for 8-9 days and schedule Rainier towards the end of the trip to maximize time to acclimatize. We want to get a couple climbs in before our trip up Rainier. Can anyone recommend any climbs that don't include being roped together that we can do before Rainier? Something that the three of us can do with a guide. We have all the proper winter gear.

 

Thanks in advance.

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I was going ultralight on Rainier and ran out of food at camp muir and a hot female IMG guide gave me some leftover food. Props to them for that. Never gone with a guide before but she could change my mind easy

 

 

as for an easier climb to get acclimated maybe Adams?

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Mt. Adams is one of the peaks we are thinking about.

 

Of the three guide services img is who I am leaning towards.

 

What size pack should I have for a July-August attempt? Img says 70-80L, but that seems huge to me for the 3- day DC climb.

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For some shakedown climbs before hand, the best thing would be to have a handful of climbs you're ready to do and a flexible approach. Even in July things here can be variable, depending on weather and snowpack.

 

Adams would be great, but you have to watch road access to be sure you can get in. If you're going to be hiring a guide anyway you might contemplate one of the easier routes on Baker, Shuksan, or Sahale. There are some crevasses, but overall they are all pretty benign. The Brothers, Mt. St. Helens and the Cascadian Couloir on Stuart are all reasonable scrambles with no need for a rope. If you have the time and commitment, the Sitkum on Glacier Peak is a pretty climb, with lots of trail time to get there, and the glacier is also pretty benign.

 

Realistically though I doubt you'll be able to actually acclimate much unless you are spending most of your time above 8,000 ft, which is hard in Washington. You will be able to do some climbs with significant elevation gain in gorgeous settings, but your conditioning before you come will be far more important for your chances on Rainier than anything you do the week before you head up.

 

Good luck :tup:

 

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Oh, and I just took a 50L pack up Rainier (intended to do a 3 day, switched to a 2 day at the trailhead for weather). It was a tight fit with stuff strapped to the outside/under the lid (helmet, sleeping pad, tent, crampons, water bottles, extra pocket for stuff) for the approach, and had lots of extra capacity for the summit day. I would say anything between a 50L and a 70L would be fine, but it also depends on how compressible and tight your packing job is.

Really though, if you already backpack I wouldn't suggest buying a new pack unless you want an excuse to buy a new pack.

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I have a Gregory Baltoro 70 which is only 65L because it is a medium. I was thinking of bringing that. I'm still debating on whether it is worth buying a mountaineering bag to save some weight or stick with my Baltoro 70.

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Your Baltoro 70 is fine for size and a bit heavier than I'd like but probably more comfortable if your load gets to 50lbs (which it shouldn't if you go guided.)

 

I'd go with AA or IMG, they share tents on Ingraham flats. We attempted the DC a few weeks ago and based on what I saw RMI looks like you're being herded up the mountain and the other two seem a bit more private and fun. Plus staying at Ingraham Flats is awesome.

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I've heard/read the same thing about RMI. That's why I like IMG better. Spending the extra day at 11,000 feet sounds like a lot of fun.

 

The weight is what concerns me about my Gregory bag. I might take a look at others bags. From what I've seen, I can save ~1 lb.

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Honestly, I took a 6 day seminar with RMI and will say my experience with them was great!!! We were also up on the mountain in May, so the crowds were minimal. Our "schooling" took place up on Ingraham flats actually training on glaciers and actual crevasses. The guides were super professional, knowledgeable, and friendly!!!

 

However I will say if your looking for more of an "experience" the extra day is definitely worth it for training and acclimatization. And camping at Ingraham flats isn't too shabby. My interactions with the AAI guides and IMG guides will on the mountain have been pretty positive too.

 

Have fun!

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As far as packs go, for 3 days, I would go with a 50L or 60L. Forces you to cut down on unnecessary items on your trip. Light, fast, and effective!

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I would recommend IMG all the way. I did the DC Route with IMG this past July and had a GREAT experience with them. The service and the attention to each of the groups personal needs or concerens were excellent. The food was awesome too.

 

I carried a Aether 85 and it was not completley full. Don't worry, the first day they will help you go through your gear and pair it down. So bring more than you think and you leave 1/2 of it behind for the trek up the hill.

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I have done multiple trips with both RMI and IMG. I wholeheartedly recommend IMG. My experiences with them have been the best experiences with guides I've had in the mountains. Granted, many of the guides who I've been with have worked for both companies at one time or another. However, the philosophy at IMG is much more friendly in my opinion. I'm a little clouded because I built up a good relationship with one of the owners of IMG so I know a little about their inner workings. However, they are a top notch company who cares greatly about the experience their clients have.

 

I took the 4-day trip a few years ago up the DC and I was blown away by the experience. I climbed with Mike Hamill, Karl Rigrish and Ang Dorje. It was a spectacular experience with those guys. The best part of taking the extra day at the flats is that you're basically at the base of your route - you get to look at the cleaver and the icefall all day and see teams coming down. That's much better than being way around the corner at Camp Muir for sure.

 

This year I enjoyed a trip with those guys up the Kautz and it was a great experience. If you want to know more about IMG or would like me to direct you to contacts there if you wanna ask questions, just PM me and we can discuss it.

 

Hope you have a great trip! :-)

 

Cale

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Wow...wish I would have seen this sooner. My husband and I had our first climb up Rainier in July. Here's my trip report for you. We live in Ohio with less then ideal training grounds. We worked our asses off to prepare for this climb. We signed on with IMG. Professional and friendly all the way! We made a HUGE mistake that cost us our climb. After our orientation meeting at IMG, we went to RMI (Whittaker's) Grill for a burger, before heading to Paradise for the night. While at the grill we were treated to the extremely egotistical snot Peter Whittaker. What a huge disappointment he is! We got the burgers and took off. By the time we hit our room at Paradise, we were fighting to get to the bathroom, sicker then hell from the burgers. We both spent the night on the bathroom floor, sicker then we've ever been. We got up early, packed up, and attempted to start our climb with IMG. By the time we made our first rest break, we were both off in different directions getting sick again. We were way too sick to continue and it was all we could do to get back down to Paradise. Here's the kicker: when our guide got the rest of our team to the summit, she ran into Peter Whittaker up there. She told him that members of her group had missed their climb because they had food poisoning from his grill. Mr. Ego Whittaker started laughing and said "I don't give a shit...I'm having fun!" Really??? That climb cost us a lot of money, training, and time. When we left the mountain, I stopped at the grill and talked with someone about it. I was told we would hear from someone within 3 days and that Whittakers take this serious. That was July 14th. I'm still waiting for my phone call. Soooooo.....do you really want to go with RMI????? If I ever get the pleasure of seeing Mr. Whittaker again, I promise you, I'll break his nose!

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I'm not sure what Peter Whittaker has to be egotisical about.

Me either, but that sure as shit doesn't stop him. He embodies every bad joke about mountain guides.

 

Sandy, sorry your trip was ruined by bad food.

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I've guided dozens of people up Rainier by more than half a dozen routes. The most successful trips were three days or longer and all with a extra camp at 11 or 12K feet.

 

 

If you want to be successful and actually enjoy the trip take the extra height and time. Just one extra day at altitude will make a huge difference for any of us flat landers on summit day.

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I'm with you there, Dane. I've been up "the hill" several times but my most fun trip was one where we spent three nights on the mountain and camped at a little over 11,000 for summit day.

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