This climb was a REVENGE climb. I was getting the monkey off my back, summitting Rainier, and then walking away from mountain climbing forever. So much so, that I even refused to spend the money on a slightly bigger size of mountaineering boots because I was positive I would never need them after Rainier. (I wound up wearing Mark's boots on the mountain once I realized his were only 1 European size bigger than mine).
My friend Wendy was so excited about this climb. So much so, that her excitement almost annoyed me because I was so terrified of failure. Luckily, once we found each other and embraced at the airport, for the first time, the fear cloud started to lift. We all arrived in the Seattle airport around 6pm PST on Monday August 19th.
|Wendy and I at the rental house the next morning - all smiles!|
Check-in with the climb team wasn't until 3pm on Tuesday, so we spent the morning getting excited about Rainier. We drove up to Paradise (the starting point of the climb). We didn't get to hike around this waterfall because the trail was closed, but the views there and at a couple other pull-over spots were awesome enough to snap a bunch of pictures. Finally, these views of Rainier started to get me excited about the climb ahead.
|Even without a hike, the falls were gorgeous|
|There she is. The ridge where Camp Muir is located on is visible from here.|
|Where the hike ended - what a view!|
Team check-in took about 3 hours. We met everyone on our team and our lead guide, Mike Walters. We watched a slide-show of the route, discussed some of the new parts of the route (the chutes and ladder section), and went through an equipment check. The guide demonstrated the avalanche transceivers so that we could skip bringing them to mountaineering school the next day. We got a list of items to bring in our pack the next day (much less than for climb day). Then my dad, stepmother, Wendy and I went out to dinner.
When we got back to the house, the intention was to bake some pizzas so that we could carry cold pizza for lunch on the mountain. And then the oven exploded. No, seriously. The circuit board in the controls of the oven popped and smoke. The maintenance guy couldn't fix it even though he came out immediately. We got a little inventive, and baked pizzas on the grill, half a pizza at a time. It actually worked surprisingly well!
|My Dad - demonstrating how mountaineers cook pizza|
|Wendy and I. We're a little silly in the morning.|
|We got a glimpse of some wildlife along the way...this deer, and lots of marmots.|
|My team headed up to mountaineering school|
|Can't complain about this view at the stop!|
|Not a bad view for our break, eh?|
|Wendy and her duct taped foot|
There is a video of me doing this - that I will add here when I get it!
We also practiced climbing an almost vertical slope while body belayed, and then practiced descending the same slope.
|The other rope team practicing the down climb. It felt much steeper than it looks in this photo while doing it.|
I feel like I learned a lot at mountaineering school. More than last year. I'm sure part of that is that it was my second time in mountaineering school, and part of it was that Mike did more things and explained things very well. We ate dinner at base camp and headed back to the house to prep for the climb. We had more pizzas to grill and packs to pack. The goal was also to get a good night sleep because it was very unlikely we would get much sleep at all the night on the mountain.
Here ends the first installment of my recap of my trip to Rainier. Next up - the climb to Muir and the summit attempt!