We met with our clients Chris and Karen at their hotel in the Greater Seattle area on Sunday the 25th, and proceeded to the trailhead from there. At the trailhead we were met with some light rain. Rain continued for the majority of the approach but was never more than our rain layers could deal with. We found a comfortable location to camp that was close to fresh water and out of the wind.
Monday morning we all got up early, enjoyed a quick breakfast and headed up the glacier for snow school where Karen and Chris very quickly picked up the basics of snow travel. Unfortunately due to a recent injury to her foot, Karen opted to stay behind for the summit attempt. We commend Karen for making a hard decision and listening to her body.
The remainder of our party left camp at 1:00 am on Tuesday morning for the summit attempt. An unexpected amount of crevasses on the glacier slowed our pace and left our route rather circuitous. We used many techniques to get up the route including short roping, running belays, short pitching, and some rappelling to maneuver a crevasse. The added crevasse work effected our schedule and we decided to turn around at 9,700 ft, just at the top of the pumice ridge. Our descent was swift and smooth with Chris handling some technical terrain incredibly well. We returned to high camp before 2:00 pm and rested for the remainder of the afternoon.
Wednesday morning we all got up at 6:00 am, packed our things and made quick work of the return to the trailhead. Everyone is in high spirts! Karen is off to the airport and Chris is preparing for our next adventure. We will be leaving for Eldorado Peak tomorrow.
We will check back in after we get back from Eldorado!
Driving up through a hazy smoke lining the valley near Mount Rainier, our 2019 Climb for Conservation team launched from Paradise en route for Camp Muir (10,188 ft). After a enjoyable day learning climbing skills with Garrett Madison, including techniques for cramponing, use of the ice axe and self-arrest, rope team travel, we tucked into our sleeping bags at Camp Muir. The next morning we woke up at 7am, ate breakfast and moved up toward Ingraham Flats at 11,100 feet to set up high camp. Around 2pm we geared up and started our summit ascent, first challenge being the rock climb over the Disappointment Cleaver. While the sun came down over the mountain the temperature quickly dropped below freezing as we continued to move higher on the mountain.
As the sun was setting across the horizon we reached the summit at 4,392m / 14,411ft. Climbers quickly made their way to sign the summit book inside a large metal box before roping up again and making our descent. The wind picked up to 25mph or so and all climbers were ready to move toward our warm tents and dinner back on the Ingraham flats.
To view our Washington programs for summer 2019, please click HERE.
Please enjoy a few of our top photos from this climb! 🙂
Photo by David Kernan
Photo by David Kernan
Photo by Jason Korb
Photo by Christiane
Photo by Christiane
Photo by Christiane
Photo by Christiane
Head guide Billy Nugent reports:
Billy here checking in from the Hogsback Camp on the North side of Mt. Baker after a safe and successful climb!
We started the morning off with an alpine start making our way up onto the Coleman glacier through some thick clouds that gave us some pretty lousy visibility. Fortunately for us, we climbed up above the thick layer of marine clouds right around the first hint of dawn.
The rest of our climb we enjoyed perfectly clear skies, light winds, and an almost empty route. It’s a rare treat on Mt. Baker to see so few other climbers. The climbing route itself was also in pretty good shape with few crevasse problems and generally good snow conditions.
The only thing worth noting was a massive icefall that came down off Colfax peak (a satellite peak of Baker) that left a massive tongue of debris across the climbing route. It’s definitely the biggest icefall I’ve seen come off Colfax. Ever. All the same it didn’t really pose much of a problem for us beside a few minutes of uneven footwork as we crossed the debris pile.
All in all it was smooth trip and we are stoked to have tagged the top! We’re gonna finish up packing our camp and hoof it back to the trailhead this afternoon. Pizza and beer is calling our name!
Our four-day Mt. Rainier is one of our signature summer climbs. Our team will be led by two of our highly experienced guides and is a group of only four climbers. The trip includes an introduction to mountaineering and the summit climb.
Mt. Rainier is located in the Cascade Mountain Range of United States state of Washington and has an elevation of 4392 m / 14,411 ft. As the sun rises and we make our way up this active stratovolcano, you will see beautiful views of the Pacific Northwest!
Day 1: Orientation and Equipment Check. Your guides will provide a program orientation and conduct a personal check of each climber’s equipment. There will be ample time for Q&A, packing and gear fitting suggestions, and directions for the next morning’s met up in Paradise. Exact location and time of the orientation and equipment check will be confirmed by email/phone just prior to the trip start.
Day 2: The group meets at the Paradise parking area (1646m/5,400ft) in Mount Rainier National Park. After our check-in with the National Park Service climbing rangers, we begin the hike to Camp Muir (3105m/10,188ft). The group sleeps at Camp Muir in tents. A great source of information about the hike to Camp Muir can be found on the Washington Trails Association website: https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/camp-muir
Day 3: We will conduct a climbing skills review which includes crampon techniques, ice axe use, self-arrest techniques, and rope-team travel. After the skills review, the group will ascend to the Ingraham Flats camp (3383m/11,100ft) to sleep in tents
Day 4: Summit Day: We begin before dawn and climb the Disappointment Cleaver route to the summit (4392m/14,411ft), the fourth highest-point in the Lower 48 states and the highest-point in the state of Washington, sign the summit logbook, and then descend to our camp at Ingraham Flats to sleep
Day 5: We descend from camp to the Paradise parking area, conclude our program, and exit Mount Rainier National Park
Day 6: Contingency day for weather or other delays
July 28 – August 02
Cost: $2,950 per person
Deposit: $2000 to secure entire 4 member team climb
Balance Due: 90 days prior to climb date
• Mount Rainier National Park reservation and permit fees
• Two highly-experienced Madison Mountaineering guides
• Personal equipment check and guidance on gear fitting and optimized packing
• Breakfast and dinner while on the mountain – if you have specific dietary needs, please let us know and we will be happy to accommodate
• All shared group equipment, such as tents, stoves, climbing ropes and hardware, first aid, etc.
• Transportation to the orientation and equipment check location or the Paradise parking area trailhead
• National Park Service climbing recovery fee
• Mount Rainier National Park entrance fee ($30/vehicle)
• Medical and evacuation insurance (please see below for options)
• Accommodations prior to and following the climb
• Any expenses incurred by early departure from the program
• Personal items and equipment
• Ice Axe: A short ice axe no longer than 60 cm.
• Crampons: General mountaineering crampons
• Trekking Poles: Adjustable poles for the trek to base camp
• Climbing harness: An alpine climbing harness
• Carabineers: 4 locking and 2 non locking
• Belay / Rappel device: For rappelling or belaying climbers
• Helmet: Must fit over a thick hat
• Light hiking boots or trekking shoes: For the trek to base camp.
• Mountaineering Boots: A double plastic or insulated synthetic boot.
• Socks: Minimum 3 pair thick mountaineering socks and 3 pair liner socks
• Short Underwear: 1 pair of synthetic short underwear
• Long Underwear: 1-2 pair lightweight long underwear pants and shirts. 1 pair of heavy expedition weight long underwear.
• Soft Shell Jacket: A hooded jacket
• Soft Shell pants: For trekking and climbing
Insulated Jacket: Primaloft or Down
• Hard Shell Jacket: To be worn in wet conditions
• Hard Shell Pants: To be worn in wet conditions, these pants should have full side zippers.
• Headlamp: Bring extra batteries
• Warm Hat: A warm fleece or wool hat.
• Balaclava: to cover your face and neck on windy days.
• Sun hat: A baseball style sun camp.
• Buff: 1-2 of these to wear around your neck & face to block the wind, UV rays, dust.
• Glacier Glasses: wrap around style sunglasses with dark lenses
• Goggles: With dark lenses.
• Soft Shell Gloves: 1 pair
• Shell gloves with insulated liner: 1 pair
• Expedition Backpack: A 65+ liter internal frame back pack.
• Sleeping Bag: Rated to at least 20 degrees. Down is preferable over synthetic.
• Compression stuff sacks: for reducing volume for your sleeping bag and down jacket.
• Self Inflating pad: A full length air mattress
• Closed Cell foam pad: Full length is best
• Headlamp: Bring a spare set of batteries
• Cup: 16oz. minimum
• Bowl: ½ liter minimum capacity
• Spoon: Plastic (lexan)
• Sunscreen: 2 tubes, SPF 40 or stronger
• Lipscreen: 2 sticks, SPF 30 or stronger
• Water bottles: 2 bottles with 1 liter capacity each
• Water Purification System: Tablets or Steripen
• Water Bottle Parkas: To keep your water from freezing
• Pee Bottle: 1 liter capacity minimum
• Pee Funnel: For Women
• Knife: Optional
• Toiletry Bag: Toothpaste, Toothbrush, baby wipes, etc.
• Hand Sanitizer: 1 small bottle
• Trash Compactor bags (4): To line stuff sacks and separate gear
• Camera: lightweight with extra batteries
• Travel Clothes: For days in Seattle.
• Small duffel bag: to store items in the hotel
• Small Personal First Aid Kit: Athletic tape, band aids, Ibuprofen, Moleskin, blister care products, personal medications, cough drops.
‣ Acetazolamide (Diamox) for altitude illness
‣ Antibiotics such as Ciprofloxin or Azithromycin for gastro intestinal or respiratory illness
‣ Ibuprofen for muscle soreness
‣ Pepto Bismol for loose stool
‣ Excedrin for headaches
‣ Anti-nausea medications.
• Climbing Snacks:
‣ Electrolyte Replacement Drink Mix: Bring a supply for 4 days such as Nuun.
‣ Energy Gel: Single serving gel packs such as GU, Clifshot, Powergel, etc.)
‣ Energy Bars: Power bar, Cliff bar, etc.
‣ Candy Bars: Snickers, Mars, Twix, Milky Way, etc.
‣ Hard Candy: 1 cup
‣ Crackers: 1 box
Successful Mount Rainier summit at (14,411 ft) this week with Climb for Conservation! Our team climbed the Disappointment Cleaver route and gained 9,000 ft and covered 18 miles. Thank you to our rockstar team who joined the Climb for Wildlife Conservation cause!
It was going to be hot, super hot on Mount Shuksan. We decided it would be prudent to get an early start so we left camp at 1:45am walking under a moonless sky across the Sulphide Glacier. Smoke from wildfires to the north turned the sunrise into an hours long epic, we arrived at the summit pyramid just as the sun crested the horizon. The summit was cast in shadow and we hurried down before we cooked. It was a beautiful day in the mountains.
Photo credit: Melissa Arnot
We had a successful Mount Rainier climb, Washington’s highest peak and largest volcano at 14,411′. Our team elected to push for the summit in the afternoon, rather than do the traditional midnight start, so we ended up reaching the summit around sunset, it was a beautiful view from the top, and we had it all to ourselves. Below are some photos from our climb, enjoy!
To view some of our other Washington programs please click HERE.
Our climbers had a wonderful late July Mount Baker trip! Guides Sid Pattison and JR Storms safely brought the team to the summit and down safely. Please enjoy a recap below by climber, Don Storms.
On the first day we all took our time hiking up to the hogs back area, standard bivy. We spent that afternoon enjoying views, re-hydrating and preparing to possibly climb in the morning. We had a hand wavy forecast so our strategy was to be ready to go on the morning of day two. If we didn’t have climbable weather, we would try again the morning of day three. As it turned out, we had bad weather on day two. We spent the day waiting for a suitable weather window. Sid an I got up at midnight on day three, woke up all of the climbers at 1am and started our summit push at 2 am. We were able to take advantage of a small weather window that allowed us to make it the the summit of Mount Baker in six hours. All of the climbers were able to summit. Six hours after summiting, we were back at our high camp and the weather window had closed on us. We spent the remainder of the day packing up and hiking back to the car in light rain. All of the climbers were in good spirit and happy we were able to thread the small weather window and climb safely. All thing said and done, we had a very productive safe and enjoyable trip despite the poor weather window. – Don Storms
Things couldn’t have gone better for the first 2017 Baker climb! With a very good forecast of clear sky, warm days and freezing temps overnight we were happy. We walked in our first day and set up camp and had great views of Mt. Baker from the Hogback camp. With plenty of running water nearby and dry tent sites we were happy campers. We did some training on campsite selection, how to keep a clean and tidy camp and went over some knots all while gazing up at the mountain and our intended climbing route. After dinner we went to sleep in preparation for a fun day of training higher up on the mountain. We rose in the morning to more beautiful weather and great snow conditions, soft around camp and firmer up high for good cramponing. We spent the day going over efficient walking and climbing techniques, rope handling and management, self and team arrest as well as some fun facts about glaciology, navigation and weather. Still being early in the afternoon we decided to take a walk up higher on the mountain and see our entire climbing route as well as take in the beauty of Mt. Baker along with the impressive Black Buttes. We put all of our newly acquired skills to use in roping up and climbing up steep terrain to the Black Buttes camp at around 8000ft. We made a hasty descent back to camp with plenty of time to play a couple rounds of Mountain Bocce ball with rocks and discuss the plan for our climb early the following morning. With a planned climbing time of around 2:30am we cooked an early dinner and tried our bast to sleep with the sun in the sky, never and easy task!
As planned, we woke up around 2am, had a quick breakfast and prepared for our summit bid. The morning was moonless and beautiful as we slowly began our ascent, each of us finding our rhythm in our breaths, focusing on the beams of our headlamps. Around 5am the sun began to rise allowing us to trade our headlamps for sunglasses and sunscreen and see how far we’d come. Only a few other climbing parties were climbing and it was a treat to feel a bit of solitude on the mountain. At around 7am we climbed to the top of the Pumice Ridge and traversed out onto the Roman Wall, the final steep headwall before the plateau of the summit. We hustled our way up the 1000ft headwall and it gradually eased off giving way to the lunar like summit plateau. With not a breathe of wind we strolled across the plateau to the small bump called Grant Peak that is the true summit. With all the up over with, all we had left was the down, we celebrated cautiously knowing we had to come back all the way we’d climbed up and knew the warming temps were going to make for mushy snow. After summit photos, hugs and some water and food we headed back down. The descent went as smoothly as the climb and with only 2 short food and water breaks we found ourselves happy and tired back at our tents where we relaxed and drank more water with our cheese, salami, crackers and apples. That night we slept like baby giraffes as they would say on Mt. Kilimanjaro! The next day we leisurely packed up our things and started our final stretch, back down the trail to our cars where we could truly celebrate a successful trip. As we changed out of our climbing clothes and into the clothes of flatlanders we drove home feeling tired but accomplished in a well executed climb. It was great.
Mountain bocce at our camp
Skier hiking up
Final steps up the Roman Wall