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Rainier Question

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Rainier Question

Postby timf » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:18 am

Sorry if this question has been beaten to death. I tried searching using several keywords to no avail.

I'm sure one should be prepared for the worst and hope for the best weather on Rainier and being near the ocean, one can never tell.
that being said, what is assumed as the best time of year weather wise? Put differently what time of year during the season has a better liklihood for better weather. Does your answer change when trying to combine weather and limited crevasse exposure? Hoping to go guided through RMI when I feel I might be ready, but what is best? May? July?

Thanks!

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Re: Rainier Question

Postby RJansen77 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:28 am

timf wrote: Does your answer change when trying to combine weather and limited crevasse exposure? Hoping to go guided through RMI when I feel I might be ready, but what is best? May? July?

Thanks!



Yes.

I did Rainier at age 15 with RMI, up and down the standard DC route through Camp Muir. I went in mid-July and we had gorgeous weather. In addition to that, I spent 30 days hiking around Washington leading up to the climb, and we only had two mornings of rain that entire time.

That being said, Rainier is a different story than the rest of Washington. On the DC route, earlier in the season means fewer crevasses and less risk of rockfall through Cathedral Gap and on the cleaver itself. Later in the season means more crevasses and increased risk of rockfall. I feel like July and August are generally the most stable, but on Rainier you're not only worried about being caught in an afternoon storm as bad weather can last for days on the mountain. You could have 5 days of sun where people summit each day, or 5 days of storms where no one makes it.

I would let others chime in as well, but build in an extra day or two if possible. Also, if you're comfortable going unguided this can allow you some flexibility when trying to determine your summit attempt. It's an incredible mountain!
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Re: Rainier Question

Postby Scott P » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:54 am

Mid-July through early August typically has the best weather. Conditions and the ideal time of year depend on the route taken, but on the standard routes this is usually the best time to climb as well (and the most crowded). In low snow years, early season can have better conditions.

See below for graph of probability of precipitation at the Rainier Paradise Ranger Station:

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Re: Rainier Question

Postby climbing_rob » Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:26 am

Single-point anecdotal statements like: "I was there on such-and-such a date, and the weather was gorgeous" are of extremely limited use, sorry to be so blunt, but such things are said on here all the time. Look at Scott's actually useful graph and note the big dip that starts mid June and that should tell you a good story, statistically at least.

Almost as useless as a single data point, anecdotal statement: I have lead CMC Rainier climbs four times, always in early-mid July, always with nearly perfect weather, always w/ 100% success (knocking on wood). Other CMC trips that have gone in June have had about a 50% success rate with weather. It almost seems like some higher power flips a weather switch sometime in late June up in the PAC northwest. There is also the daylight factor to contend with; later in the year the amount of daylight starts dropping significantly, meaning a late August / September trip, which folks say is very reasonable weather-wise, will have a substantially later sunrise. Sunrise on Rainier is a very welcome time, and waiting an extra hour or more would suck.

My bottom line advice, FWIW: Go in July. Nearly maximum daylight, best chance for fine weather.

Re: Rainier Question

Postby shredthegnar10 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:40 am

climbing_rob wrote:Single-point anecdotal statements like: "I was there on such-and-such a date, and the weather was gorgeous" are of extremely limited use, sorry to be so blunt, but such things are said on here all the time. Look at Scott's actually useful graph and note the big dip that starts mid June and that should tell you a good story, statistically at least.

Almost as useless as a single data point, anecdotal statement: I have lead CMC Rainier climbs four times, always in early-mid July, always with nearly perfect weather, always w/ 100% success (knocking on wood). Other CMC trips that have gone in June have had about a 50% success rate with weather. It almost seems like some higher power flips a weather switch sometime in late June up in the PAC northwest. There is also the daylight factor to contend with; later in the year the amount of daylight starts dropping significantly, meaning a late August / September trip, which folks say is very reasonable weather-wise, will have a substantially later sunrise. Sunrise on Rainier is a very welcome time, and waiting an extra hour or more would suck.

My bottom line advice, FWIW: Go in July. Nearly maximum daylight, best chance for fine weather.

Truth. That said, the time of the year when you have the best chance of having good weather is probably July/August. This isn't to say that some freak storm thing couldn't happen on the weekend that you choose to go, but it was pretty consistently sunny during those months when I lived in Portland.
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Re: Rainier Question

Postby gdthomas » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:25 am

We climbed Rainier in mid-late July twice because the odds of good weather were greatest, as Scott's graph indicates, and we nearly got blown off both times. Perseverance and flexible schedules kept us on the mountain. The statistics paint a clear picture but they can and do lie. As you seem to have figured out, hope for the best but plan for the worst no matter what time of year you go.

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Re: Rainier Question

Postby MountainHiker » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:38 am

Our Rainier climb was the third week of July. That was based on research for weather and glacier condition. But it is the Pacific NW. We’re glad we allowed some extra days. A storm came through the night after we arrived at Muir. Since we allowed for it, we were able to wait until the next night/morning for the summit.
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Re: Rainier Question

Postby Monster5 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:41 pm

Does anybody have any idea on when the Kautz route is usually climbed? Seems like most reports suggest an early season climb (mid-June) but I'm looking at the July 4th weekend. Does the crevasse/serac/rockfall hazard on the Kautz route increase significantly into July?
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Re: Rainier Question

Postby timf » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:41 pm

Thanks all. You've given all that I was looking for and that's general window of when the best weather USUALLY is. I never look for an iron clad guarantee as one never exists. Also looking at the like of Adams and/or Baker as other loosely ended options. So if anyone wants to chime in a 2nd time around. My initial thought on going with RMI is to do their 5 day option which I believe (4/5 day) includes a day of instruction which will come in handy as while I have used an ice ax, I've never roped up or encountered a crevasse in person which is why I would go guided to begin with.

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Re: Rainier Question

Postby EatinHardtack » Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:44 pm

I'll give my two cents worth I guess. I summited on July 2nd with not a cloud in the sky. I actually spent a few days on either side of the climb up in the PNW and it was clear the entire time I was there. I had never been up there before and went guided with RMI. Had a great time with them and my guides were a lot of fun. Actually one of them is on a crab boat on Deadliest Catch in the winter time now I guess. It was fun and a great trip. If I were to go back I'd probably not go guided, but it was worth it since I was solo and inexperienced on glaciers. Coincidentally LordHelmut and group climbed and summited Rainier the same morning as me, didn't even know they were up there.
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Re: Rainier Question

Postby SurfNTurf » Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:58 pm

I have a rope question. The only one I have is a 10.2mm 60-meter dry rope I use primarily for sport climbing and top-roping. I'm aiming for Rainier in late June or early July and I assume it'll be overkill for a glacier. So...

1. 30m or 40m?
2. Does anyone have experience with the Mammut 8.3mm Glacier Line, the Edelweiss Touring 8.5mm, the Edelweiss Discover 8.5mm or the Sterling Nano 9.2mm? Any other suggestions? I'd prefer something available on Amazon.com as I have a $60 gift card.

I hope to use this rope both for glaciers and for winter/spring alpine routes in the future, so I'm wondering if I should be looking exclusively at 9+ millimeter options. Thanks!
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Re: Rainier Question

Postby d_baker » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:30 pm

SurfNTurf wrote:I have a rope question. The only one I have is a 10.2mm 60-meter dry rope I use primarily for sport climbing and top-roping. I'm aiming for Rainier in late June or early July and I assume it'll be overkill for a glacier. So...

1. 30m or 40m?
2. Does anyone have experience with the Mammut 8.3mm Glacier Line, the Edelweiss Touring 8.5mm, the Edelweiss Discover 8.5mm or the Sterling Nano 9.2mm? Any other suggestions? I'd prefer something available on Amazon.com as I have a $60 gift card.

I hope to use this rope both for glaciers and for winter/spring alpine routes in the future, so I'm wondering if I should be looking exclusively at 9+ millimeter options. Thanks!


It's been years since I've done anything glacier related (training for and doing Rainier is my limit of experience here), but to answer your question #1 it could depend on how many people are going to be on your rope team. With 3-4 people, I would think a 30m is too short, probably even the 40m. If 2-3 people, a 40m would likely be ok.
I think I would just buy a 60m regardless though and use it.

I've looked into PMI's Verglas 8.1 rope and I have seen good reviews on it. It's rated to both half/twin system, so in a Colorado alpine situation, I've envisioned using it by tying into the middle and then use which ever method of protecting/clipping that I think is necessary given the terrain. If it were a snow slope, then I would use it as a single and would feel ok with that.
The ropes you mention might have the same kind of rating, and to me it seems like having some versatility with how I can protect a pitch could be nice.

Someone else here can & probably will go into better & more informed feedback for you though. Just my thoughts though.

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