“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Mt. Rainier

I want to climb a mountain, and not just any mountain, Mt. Rainier.  It's height may not seem initially daunting, 14,410 feet.  When you combine that with the fact that Mt. Rainier is the most glaciated volcanic peak in the contiguous United States, and is known to locals simply as "The Mountain."...it begins to sound like a big deal.  
In 2010, 10,643 climbers were on Mt. Rainier.  Of those, 4,920 successfully summitted the mountain.  But, of course, that number is slightly down from some years.  For example, in 2009, 6,438 out of 10,616 were successful. I had several friends and family attempt the climb in the past couple of years.  3 of the 6 made the summit.  On my first attempt of Rainier in July 2012?  0 out of 9 made the summit.  I had to turn back before Camp Muir, and the rest of my climb team turned back at 12,800' due to unstable snow conditions.
But the views upon success are breath-taking!
Picture from my brother's successful trip in June 2011
According to the National Park site, "Reaching the summit requires a vertical elevation gain of more than 9,000 feet over a distance of eight or more miles."   Yikes!  This is why I began my training well over 6 months in advance of the climb on the first attempt.  I had too far to go, and didn't know enough about what the actual climb would be like.  I learned from that failure, and am making modifications to my training.

My stepmother, Dad and I will try again at the end of August 2013.  We will again attempt the climb with RMI guides.  Our route ascends either the Ingraham Glacier or Disappointment Cleaver and utilizes Camp Muir.  It is a four day trip.  The first day is pre-trip orientation.  The second day is mountaineering school where packing is finalized and skills are practiced.  Skills such as, cramponing, roped travel and ice axe arrest.  On day three, we will climb to Camp Muir, at approximately 10,000 feet elevation.  
Some of my friends and family at Camp Muir June 2011
Camp Muir, June 2011
We will rest a few hours, and then attempt the summit in the early morning of day 4.  

My first attempt at the mountain humbled me and brought me to tears of frustration.  I could not keep the pace set by my RMI guide.  I have a list of things I intend to improve so that this doesn't happen again.  I need to keep this quote from RMI in mind, "Training for mountain climbing should be neither easy nor comfortable because mountain climbing is neither."

Mountaineering school July 2012.
I invite you to follow my training journey here on my blog No Standing Still, and hold me to the goals/changes I committed to after my first attempt.

Always challenging my limits!