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New concessionaires on Mount Rainier

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New concessionaires on Mount Rainier

Postby mtnmike » Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:36 pm

Hi all;

Quick note about climbing Mount Rainier. For those who've always been interested in climbing Rainier but been have wanted other options than Rainier Mountaineering Inc. (I'm not saying they're necessarily a good or bad outfitter, but my personal experience with them wasn't the best) the park service has recently agreed to end the RMI monopoly, and starting in 2007 there will be other options, including Alpine Ascents International (http://www.alpineascents.com/aai-rainier.asp). Having climbed with both organizations, I have never been anything but impressed with AAI, and the decision to allow AAI to be one of three official guiding outfitters provides a choice that cannot be beat, IMHO.

Just thought I'd pass it along...
mtnMike
http://www.fourteeners.org

"Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory." - Ed Viesturs

AAI

Postby jimlup » Sun Oct 15, 2006 7:48 pm

This is good news indeed! AAI were the guys who were at Everest base camp during the '96 disaster. They mounted the rescue effort. And beyond that: a class outfit from everything that I have seen.

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Postby stonecold » Thu Nov 09, 2006 6:30 pm

Rainier experience: I recently climbed Rainier with RMI and must admit I was not very impressed. The overall feeling I was left with was the guide was trying to prove how good of shape he was in and he was not interested in helping the climbers finish with an enjoyable climb. I did summit but 5 others in our group did not. The new guide companies are a welcome relief.

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Postby Marty369 » Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:28 pm

stonecold wrote:Rainier experience: I recently climbed Rainier with RMI and must admit I was not very impressed. The overall feeling I was left with was the guide was trying to prove how good of shape he was in and he was not interested in helping the climbers finish with an enjoyable climb. I did summit but 5 others in our group did not. The new guide companies are a welcome relief.


X2...... thinking of doing it again myself with a different outfit. And taking more than 3 pictures due to the pace.

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Postby goatgirl » Fri Nov 10, 2006 2:34 pm

Thanks for the info. Mike - It's nice to know as I am looking into this myself. It was nice to meet you at Ed's talk!

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Postby mtnmike » Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:47 pm

Same here goatgirl -- pleasure to hang out in line with you as well! You'll love Rainier, I have no doubt.
mtnMike
http://www.fourteeners.org

"Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory." - Ed Viesturs

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Postby kiddrockies » Sat Nov 11, 2006 9:05 am

Went up with RMI this June. I enjoyed the younger guides who were patient, strong, caring and giving. The older more experienced leader guides were just collecting their checks. It was still the greatest outdoor adventure I have had, but I agree that I'd rather do it with a different guide service, or better yet, with a small private group.
The new services on the mountain will make things better all around.

You might consider Mt. Baker, if you're considering Rainier. It's every bit as beautiful, has amazing glacial features, and is a little less tricky, plus less altitude gain if you're a lowlander like me. I loved Baker and would feel great about another trip up. And, Hood's also worthy of attention.
The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hind's feet, and He will make me to walk upon the high places.
Habakkuk 3:19

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray.
Matthew 14:23

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My RMI experience Ranier

Postby tkelly1 » Sun Nov 12, 2006 12:43 am

I was not displeased with my summit climb with RMI. Half or less of our group did not summit but there is little the guides can do about altitude sickness (though they were drilling it into us that we needed to stay on top of our hydration, breathing, and calories). And there is little they can do about clients that paid no attention to warnings about the physical demands of the climb. They did a nice job of bagging them and getting off the upper mountain. Some things are true: I felt rushed by the pace. Some of this is absolutely necessary in order to have a safe climb - you know : "Speed is safety". Hanging around on some parts of the Cleaver to take pictures is playing a game of Chicken with the rocks. The rushed feeling is also simply that I chose a 2 day trip up - it's not going to be leisurely. Next time I'll take a longer program. All in all, opening things up to other competent services is likely to be good for all involved. I just think some of the light bashing of RMI isn't fair as AAI seeks to establish it's presence. Good luck to them and to RMI.

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Oh ... and BTW

Postby tkelly1 » Sun Nov 12, 2006 12:50 am

mtnMike's signature quote:

"Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory." - Ed Viesturs

Ed Viesturs could have worked for any outfit on the planet after climbing the 8km peaks w/o O2.

He's working for RMI. I think that says something.

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Postby kiddrockies » Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:30 am

Speed is important, but my group got up in plenty of time, and the head guide didn't want to go to the Point because it was windy... wanted to turn back at the crater rim. That was fine I guess. But on the way down, it was a full sprint all the way - and I was on a 5 day climb, not 2. We only had to get back to Muir, and he still wouldn't let us just stop and take a few pics at even a handfull of better, safe spots. We all snuck some in anyway of course, but there was no need to descend that dadgone fast. We went up the Cleaver but descended the headwall. Nice sunny day, got back to high camp by noon, good snow conditions, no avalanche danger to speak of.
They could relax just a little. I heard other things from other groups that were worse.
I got the strong impression the guy wanted to get up and down fast so he could look good to the other guides.
On the up-side, I felt like they absolutely knew their stuff. It was my third try with them, after a horrible ice-fall some years ago and a storm the next time. And again, the younger guides were very personable and more flexible.
The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hind's feet, and He will make me to walk upon the high places.
Habakkuk 3:19

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray.
Matthew 14:23

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Postby mtnmike » Sun Nov 12, 2006 10:17 am

Just to clarify, I am definitely not bashing RMI...the fact that the NPS gave RMI exclusive concessionaire rights to climb Rainier for so long, and the fact that they've been in business for so long with an exemplary safety record speaks volumes to the operation they run and the number of people who have had positive experiences. And I agree that Ed's relationship with RMI also speaks volumes...not to mention the reputation of Lou Whittaker.
What I'm saying is that there are different experiences to contrast here. Even In Ed's autobio, he talks about the grueling nature and crowds of the RMI climbs (pg 65~66). There's nothing wrong with that. But there's also nothing wrong with seeking more of a wilderness alpine experience, away from the crowds (which is obviously my preference. Kind of like the difference between climbing Grays & Torreys vs. Handies. Both comparable difficulties, but different experiences in regards to crowds.
mtnMike
http://www.fourteeners.org

"Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory." - Ed Viesturs

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Postby mainpeak » Sun Nov 12, 2006 1:53 pm

So I am trying to get some climbing buddies together for Rainer next year. One has already done it and will only go in spring before it gets too crowded. I think if we simply choose an alternative route, whether it be longer, or less aesthetic, or whatever.... that this would make it more enjoyable. Any such route recommendations from those that have been?

thanks!

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