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What should I expect attempting to summit Mt. Rainier?

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What should I expect attempting to summit Mt. Rainier?

Postby BearHamr » Sat Mar 18, 2006 8:13 pm

I have booked a trip with RMI, the three day summit climb, in early August. I have heard several different expectations.

Obviously, the weather is an hourly suprise and I am doing a Denali workout program, so I should be fit enough.

Just curious about details for those who have been on the mountain.
Thanks!
The only thing necessary for the truimph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke

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Sorry folks, I posted this on the wrong section.

Postby BearHamr » Sat Mar 18, 2006 8:33 pm

OOPS!
The only thing necessary for the truimph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke

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Postby Layne Bracy » Sat Mar 18, 2006 10:13 pm

Six friends, my two sisters and I were 9 of 24 clients on a 3-day RMI trip in June 2000. We did the Ingraham direct, Winn Whittaker, son of one of the Everest twins, being the head guide.

Day 1: We practiced roped travel, crampon use, and self-arrest. This day was also to screen for clients unable to make the trip. All were given the OK.

Day 2: Left Paradise(5500') at 9am, reaching Muir(10K) at 3-4pm. The pace was steady but not overly fast with hourly breaks. At Muir, the guides provided water. We retired to the hut about 7pm. It was cramped and noisy, with people constantly going in/out to the restroom, but it did the job.

Day 3: Up at 12:30am, hiking around 1am on rope teams of 1 guide/3-4 clients. It was a spectacular scene, hiking in darkness, small headlamps dotting the volcano, giant ice/snow blocks around, and a couple deep crevasses to cross.

At 11K, they said it was the last chance to return to Muir. One of my friends returned with a Sherpa, being nervous.

At 12K, a client was bagged(put in a sleeping bag and staked down), too tired to continue.

At 13K, a policewoman was bagged due to a sore knee. This was her 3rd attempt.

21 clients reached the rim around 7:30am. RMI had stressed that the rim was the final destination, but enough of us griped a little and they relented.

About 9 clients chose to walk to the summit across the crater in lieu of a rest. Great views of surrounding volcanos.

We enjoyed perfect weather, great guides, and a pleasant client group.

Good luck! If you want to simulate the physical effort required, hike a Colorado 14er two days in a row with 4000' gain and a 40-lb pack.

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Postby BearHamr » Sun Mar 19, 2006 7:08 am

Great! Thanks Layne for the detailed outline. Would you suggest wearing the plastic boots the entire time from Paradise or pack some light weight hikers? And...one last one. Do I need a parka for my water bottles? Will water freeze if not in a parka.?
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Postby Doug Shaw » Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:12 pm

Layne Bracy wrote:Good luck! If you want to simulate the physical effort required, hike a Colorado 14er two days in a row with 4000' gain and a 40-lb pack.


... on snow.

Althouglh I haven't climbed Rainier, I do know that walking in snow takes more energy than on nice, solid dirt trails.

Or bump up your pack weight. :)

And be sure your boots fit well. Most leather and entry-level plastic boots flex a little bit. Wearing crampons will reduce that flexibility a bit and if your feet are sliding around in the boots wearing crampons will exacerbate it and increase the odds of blisters or hotspots.

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Postby Layne Bracy » Sun Mar 19, 2006 5:14 pm

In my group, I think everyone just wore plastics the whole time. We didn't use crampons going up to Muir. We had very little snowfree terrain - you may have less snow in August, but will still probably be on snow from 6000' and up. You can leave stuff in the hut when you go for the summit, so I guess you could bring leathers and stash them. I'd probably just use plastics the whole way, though.

I don't remember any water freezing up. I think I kept a liter in the parka and another one or two in the pack. We had fairly pleasant weather - not too cold. To be safe, I think you would want to be able to insulate your water.

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Postby BearHamr » Sun Mar 19, 2006 5:55 pm

Got it, Thanks again. Layne
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Postby Jcwhite » Sun Mar 19, 2006 9:31 pm

If you dont mind me asking, what is the overall cost of this operation?

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Postby TalusMonkey » Mon Mar 20, 2006 6:01 am

RMI's fee for the three day Rainier summit climb is $795. Transportation is your responsibility - either drive from home, or get a rental car at SEATAC. Lodging is available in the area of their school. $80+ for a private room, or $30+ for bunkhouse lodging.

I was thinking about driving out and staying somewhere nearby the night before class. Then stay at RMI affiliated lodging the night after the traininig day and then the night after the summit descent. I think both the training day and the ascent to Muir day meet at 0800 at their headquarters.

Although I called and spoke to a guide at RMI to answer my specific questions, those considering a Rainier trip may find most of their answers at the following webpage:

http://www.rmiguides.com/rainier/summit_climbs.html
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Postby Crass3000 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 6:38 am

A great place to stay before the climb is Cougar Campground in the park. Its higher so flatlanders can aclimate a little before the climb.

Its a beautiful campground as well. No bugs!!! Being from Minnesota we have billions of mosquitos. I saw one mosquito the whole time I was there!!!

We just wore plastic boots all the way up. I wouldn't want to carry any extra weight. Its a long climb to Muir.

We used alot of duct tape on our feet to prevent blisters. Maybe everybody on this forum does that but it was new to me.

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Postby Scott P » Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:46 am

Be careful with one thing with RMI. The company is notorious for not bringing climbers to the summit, and not even telling them that they haven't reached the true summit.

For most RMI trips, they actually bring you to the crater rim at 14,150 feet, and they may tell you that this is the summit, or close enough (or they might not say anything at all), but to attain the true summit, it is an hour walk round trip, and a quarter mile across the crater to Columbia Crest. If you are interested in summitting, make this clear before you start.

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Postby TalusMonkey » Mon Mar 20, 2006 11:50 am

Scott,

Thanks for the tip on RMI and the crater rim. I better bring a GPS to make sure they don't try to shaft us. Definitely better communicate to the guides my requirement to reach the true summit from the start...

David
"When hiking in bear country one doesn't need to be the fastest runner in the party - just not the slowest."

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