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Climbing and Snowboarding on Mt. Rainier
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Climbing and Snowboarding on Mt. Rainier

Climbing and Snowboarding on Mt. Rainier

I gave Mt. Rainier a try this last week but was turned around about 1,000 vertical feet from the summit, due to my climbing partner being overcome by altitude sickness. All in all, it was still a great trip and climb, and we even got a few thousand vertical feet of good shredding in!

I left Portland via the #12 bus, yellow line and Amtrak Cascades and within a few hours was waiting for my freind in Tacoma at Red's Valley Pub.
 

We headed up to the National Park and set up camp. There was a mouse at our camp that was bugging me through out the beginning of the night. I was laying there trying to sleep, when I felt him on my sleeping bag. Then moments later, he was in my face staring right at me. Maybe one of these days i'll get a real tent with a bottom to it.
 
We started out the next day around noon, and skinned into a thick white out. We originally had the intention of riding a line called the Fuhrer Finger, but the mix of low visibilty and no prior sight of the Nisqually glacier had us following the RMI train to Camp Muir.

When we broke out of the clouds at 9,000 feet it was glorious. Then it got really cold.

It was 25 degrees in the shade and it was quite a climb up to the camp. My buddy was very tired and already feeling the altitude sickness at 10,000 feet. I set up my MSR Twin Peaks shelter in 40 MPH winds with pickets, ice axes and deadmanned ski poles. I thought for sure it was going to blow away in the night, but we were actually very content with the shelter that it provided.

The next morning we awoke at 3 am to calmer winds, but still very cold temperatures. We roped up and headed out across the glacier.

We climbed over Paradise Glacier and made our way through a rocky slope to the ridge. We watched a beautiful sunrise over Little Tahoma and continued climbing up the Ingraham galcier and crossed several crevasses.
The route goes up the Dissapointment Cleaver, whick is the rocky ridge on the right side of the photo. It was steep and exposed climbing but luckily there were fixed lines to hold onto, placed by the RMI guides.

Above the cleaver my climbing partner could go no further. We were at 13,500 ft. when he started vomiting. Clearly we had to turn around.

We downclimbed the cleaver and crossed the Ingraham glacier once more to the col between Gibraltor and Cathedral rocks. We took a long break, drank lots of water, checked out some cool glacial features and got ready for the snowboard down.


 
We rode down a 700 vertical foot chute that was around 40 to 50 degrees for most of the face. It ended with a 5 foot bergschrund gap onto the Paradise Glacier. We snowboarded down around open crevasses right into Camp Muir.

The snow between 9,000 and 7,000 feet was awesome corn. I rode my hard boots switch for most of the run and tried to ollie an ice chunk with my heavy backpack. I did not make it over and took a faceplant into the snow.

A couple hours later we were in Ashford eating cheeseburgers and drinking beer. My buddy felt much better once he was below 10,000 ft. We camped one more night in the park, with the company of a radio collared fox.

Mt. Rainier is a great mountain with tons of history, and awesome ski runs. Now that I have the $43 annual climbing pass I will definitley have to come back to ride from the summit.

Tags: climbing
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