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posielski

Rent Ropes and Harnesses

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Perhaps more important than having a rope and harnes is knowing how to use them....do you have the skill and confidence to arrest a fall if someone on your rope falls? Do you know how to set up a pulley system if someone on your rope falls into a crevasse?

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A harness is the first purchase for most climbers. Not owning one suggests you haven't climbed much at all, if ever. In that case, you should consider hiring a guide or staying on terrain that doesn't require roping up (e.g. South Ridge of Adams).

 

To summit Rainier you have to obtain a climber's permit, which involves interviewing with the rangers, who will assess the abilities and experience of your climbing team. This screening may seem annoying, but it might help keep people off the upper mountain who seem likely to end up in trouble.

 

So even if you get a harness and rope, you'll need to convince the Rainier climbing rangers that you know what you're doing.

 

Be safe and have fun.

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I have been climbing for the past 4 years, just never anything technical like Mt. Rainier. I have climbed many of the Cascade glaciers, including Adams, St. Helens, Shasta as well as Whitney. I have done these all multiple times so the next logical step is Mt. Rainier. I would hire a guide, but it is insanely expensive and I cannot afford it. I spoke with the rangers and they recommended that we have a rope and harnesses. Luckily I have found a friend who is willing to let me borrow his. And I am well aware of the objective dangers inherent when climbing mountains but I am willing to risk it. Because that is what mountaineering is truly about. It is about putting yourself at the mercy of the mountain. If it wants to kill you it will find a way, no matter how much experience or gear you have. I am planning to stay a full day at Muir so I can learn how to use all the gear properly before summiting. I spent a day at Muir talking to other climbers and I got some good advice last weekend. It seems like the most difficult part of the climb will be having enough energy to make and not getting altitude sickness. I hope I have the mental and physical willpower to make it. Wish me luck!

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Where to start?

 

"climbed many of the Cascade glaciers, including Adams, St. Helens, Shasta as well as Whitney"

 

Depending on the routes done, rainier may not be the next logical step as those may have been glacier less or just snow line routes. Baker might be the next logical choice.

 

"objective dangers inherent when climbing mountains but I am willing to risk it. Because that is what mountaineering is truly about."

It is most definitely not about putting yourself at the mercy of the mountains. It is about realizing the hazards, making choices to minimize the hazards and dealing with the hazards as they show up. Risk management is a vital skill if you want to climb for a long time.

 

" It seems like the most difficult part of the climb will be having enough energy to make and not getting altitude sickness."

 

If everything goes well this may be true.

give serious amounts of time to learning the skills that deal with the "what ifs" from people who know that they are doing or at least a good climbing manual. Things you need to have nailed down; self arrest, crevasse rescue and navigation. first aid too.

 

good luck.

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Expert mountaineers with the most expensive gear die in the mountains. If the mountain truly wants to kill you it will find a way. In reality we have no control. The mountain is letting us summit. In taking the first few steps we are giving all control over to the mountain. People don't understand this. Climbing is not a sport. It is a spiritual journey where we physically and mentally give everything we have and hope the mountain allows us to summit.

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The expert mountaineers who die are typically pushing very hard, in very remote regions, on exceptionally difficult routes where they consciously chose to climb with very little margin. They still to do everything they can to mitigate risk, but by necessity they expose themselves to more risk. That does not apply in any way to climbing Rainier on a sunny day in August.

 

More people die every year because they were unprepared, were using equipment they didn't understand or weren't experienced with, and were in places they were not prepared to be, that does apply.

 

If you want to climb for very long learning to mitigate as many risks as possible is a must. There are plenty of things out there that aren't under your control and can kill you climbing. Only an imbecile would add to the number by knowingly using unsafe gear, going unprepared, etc..

 

I whole heartedly agree that humilitiy is part of being safe, but surrendering all responsibility for you own well being is not humility it's foolish.

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Expert mountaineers with the most expensive gear die in the mountains. If the mountain truly wants to kill you it will find a way. In reality we have no control. The mountain is letting us summit. In taking the first few steps we are giving all control over to the mountain. People don't understand this. Climbing is not a sport. It is a spiritual journey where we physically and mentally give everything we have and hope the mountain allows us to summit.

 

what selkirk says +1

 

You do have control in the mountains. You take actions to lessen the probability and consequence of risk. With your attitude, forget the harness and rope and just solo. Why are you even looking for gear? I wouldn't even loan my gear if that is the attitude you have as I won't be getting it back any time soon.

 

Risk can be thought of mathematically as

risk = probability of event times the consequences of event

If either factor is low, there is very low risk. If one is high and one is near zero, then risk is near zero. Every action we do is to make the probability or consequence of event minimal.

If the probability of event is high and consequences is high, then risk is high. You are still in control because you can turn around. You are still in control if you are diligent about measuring these two factors

for example: I rope up to skilled partners to minimize the consequence of falling into crevasse. I read the terrain closely to find where the hidden crevasses are so I don't fall in one. I don't put my life in the mountains good intentions cause she punishes the foolish.

 

And you sir are sounding very foolish.

Edited by genepires

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You're getting good advice and don't need more commentary from the naysayer's club, posielski, but I'll chime in anyway.

 

First of all, let me say that I started out with an inexperienced and by some standards brash set of companions and we read books and practiced stuff and figured it out. There was some luck involved, but you can learn to climb that way.

 

I'm pretty sure that in asserting what sounds like some kind of fatalistic philosophical viewpoint you are expressing reverence for the mountain kingdom but don't mean to suggest that you don't think you need to be careful. However, I once knew somebody who used to say "if the mountain truly wants to kill you it will find a way" and guess what? The mountain found a way.

 

I would echo the suggestion that a slightly smaller and tamer objective might be a better first "technical" glacier climb. It'd be a good idea to obtain some instruction or a guide (maybe both) but I suspect that you will most likely survive your planned attempt at climbing Mt. Rainier though, as you know, a lack of experience and technical knowledge is not an asset there.

 

Meanwhile, as to a comment offered by Rad: I was once told that the rangers have no interest in deciding whether someone is "qualified" to climb on the upper mountain and no authority to make such judgments. Whether that is true or not, I can guess that they don't want that kind of responsibility. Mr. poseilski is going to have to figure that one out.

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I like your spirit. I ventured above camp Muir at age 9 with a homemade harness, kmart boots, and an ace hardware rope. One of the best alpinists I've ever climbed with tried to rent a harness as a kid and instead made a Swiss seat. My dad bought me a Forrest swami and I was off to the races. I've seen harness rentals in Chamonix but never rope rentals.

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"If the mountain truly wants to kill you it will find a way."

 

I believe most of the risks inherent in mountaineering are quite mundane and predictable; that is why many have remarked about your apparent lack of preparation and experience. When the Ranger is inquiring about your experience and preparation, please be sure to repeat the comments you have made in this forum. I'm sure the ranger will find your bravado refreshing.

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