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[TR] Mt. Rainier - Bike Tour Mountaineering -> DC Route 7/18/2014

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Trip: Mt. Rainier - Bike Tour Mountaineering -> DC Route


Date: 7/18/2014


Trip Report:

Terry Campbell and I rode our bikes from Portland to Rainier, climbed the DC route and rode home over the course of 6 days. This was our second climb of this type, we did Mt. Jefferson two years ago in similar pain and style.






We took 3 days to ride up to Paradise; our first day going over Old Mans Pass (hitting 45+mph on the way down), and staying at Swift Reservoir near Mt. St. Helens. The ride along the Old Highway in the Gorge is quite nice now.


Our second day climbed another bigass hill with a long (20mile) descent that would be good training for mountain biking season with its broken tarmac. We found a sweet camping spot on the river past Packwood and passed the time talking about Goran Kropp and how he carried like 140lbs of stuff on his back. My inner dialogue decided to stop complaining about our 50ish pounds of gear and food.


Our third day was pretty much just hills up to Paradise. Terry cruised easily up the hills because he's not human. I stopped a lot to 'take photos' en route. I cursed my weak body and the fact I had a motorcycle at home that could easily make it up this hill. We stayed at Paradise Inn in those sweet airy rooms - I joke, it was stuffy as hell. However we did destroy dinner and dessert downstairs.


On day four we got up early to eat our weight in bacon and eggs at breakfast before heading up to Camp Muir. Once there, Terry melted water while I watched. I eventually chipped in and set up the tent and a nice set of snow stairs. After not sleeping in the tent for 5 hours we decided to head up early instead of wait until midnight.


By 9:30 we were in the boot pack heading up to Ingram Flats. Besides me being a wimp at the ladder crossing, things went smoothly until 13,000 when a scary animal with large shiny green eyes hurtled down the bootpack. This caused Terry to think I had AMS as I stepped out of the bootpack saying "I think I'll let this have the right of way". (I might've thought it was a monster, it turned out to be a black fox)


We hit the summit crater near 4am and trudged over to the last summit hill, where we debated if that spot counted as a 'summit', or if we should go up to the true summit. After resting and eating a bit we decided to go to the top and scream into the wind. Two minutes later, pausing to sign the register, we were on the way back to Muir.


I had seen awesome photos of sunrises on Mt. Rainier before, but seeing them in person was something all together different. The light was perfect and the small amount of haze in the valleys really made the views spectacular.


We took our time going down to base camp in order to enjoy the views and let people use the bootpack going up. The crevasses were more exciting when you could see their full extent. Once at camp we jammed everything into the packs and hustled down to our bikes at Paradise. We re-packed our bike bags after eating some real food and headed down the hill to the West. We resolved to not trace our incoming route as the hills would have been less than fun now.


We made a slight tactical error when we bypassed the only open hotels on the way out, only to end up in Morton with no available hotel or camping in the area. After Terry and I ate our fill at the very excellent mexican restaurant, my lady was nice enough to drive all the way up and ferry us to a hotel in Randle for the night (thank you Rachel).


After 3 breakfasts in Randle, we were dropped back off in Morton so we could ride the 130 miles back home. The ride home was a blur of gas station stops for treats and chocolate milk, interrupted by a bout of scary bridge riding from Longview.


We ended the ride with a great ride at the golden hour across the St. Johns Bridge and an easy cruise to home. Thanks to Terry for an awesome trip.





Le start



Columbia River Gorge



New bike trail in Gorge



Cleaning up in the Swift Reservoir near Mt. St. Helens



Repacking for the climb



Start of day four



To Muir





Camp Muir



Sunset at Camp Muir



My nemesis






Summit crater



On way down






Terry waiting for me I assume



Little Tahoma





Packing up for bikes



St. Johns Bridge



Last block


Gear Notes:

Axe, crampons and sunscreen


Approach Notes:

180 Miles on bike via Columbia Gorge and Wind River Highway.

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Cool story. I really enjoy reading about people's very cool way to make an ordinary trip extraordinary and one to always remember. Way to go.

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Awesome work guys - a ride from Seattle to Rainier has been on my list for a while, thanks for the prod to keep it on the list and bump it up!

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Nice job guys! Looks like it was a very rewarding trip even if some moments weren't super enjoyable in themselves.

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wow! always wanted to do that. congrats!


how did you manage to hit 45+ mph with the trailers???? i tour with my bob yak, and i would not recommend going above 25 or so because it gets rolling faster than the bike, starts shifting side-to-side and being VERY scary to ride with.

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