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Home Forums TR Archive Washington Bipolar Extremes of Mt Rainier, Emmons Glacier

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    Kyle Miller

    Sherpadad= Scott from Turns all year
    Andy= Turns all year
    Rory= a Teleskiing Kiwi
    Dan= Crstlextrm from TGR
    And Myself Kyle Miller

    When choosing a tour I would say that one of the biggest factors in choosing a location is based upon the weather. The forecast for the weekend looked promising with the freezing level topping out at 14,000 feet and sunny skies until some unstable air came in on Monday. With the conditions perfect Rainier was the obvious choice with a ascent and Decent of the Emmons glacier. It turns out Sherpadad for turns all year had the same idea so we decided to join forces for the Attempt.

    Our path to the summit with the Interglacier on the left

    After randomly meeting another member of our party at REI we decided it would be a good idea to Carpool. When we arrived at the ranger station we all met each other for the first time, got our permits then got on the trail. Andy, Dan and I made it to Glacier basin in about an hour where we filled up our water and prepared for the Interglacier.

    The Gateway to continuous snow Glacier Basin

    The crowds starting to head up the Interglacier

    I decided to take a solid board and boot pack compared to skinning which turned out to be the right decision as the snow was horrible for skinning. I got a head start up the interglacier expecting both Andy and Dan to catch up to me in no time, but that wasn’t the case as I waited at the ramp to the Emmons for more then an hour.

    Our first view of the Objective

    Andy making it up to the Saddle

    Dan skinning up with Cresent mountain in the background

    We arrived at Camp Sherman (base camp for the NE side of rainier) around 2 p.m and focused on staying Hydrated to battle altitude sickness. Our plan was to leave around 5 A.M. in two parties one a 3 man team and the other a two man team.

    Rainier’s Shadow and the Setting sun Lighting up Tahoma.

    Looking Northwest at the Puget Sound and the Olympics

    It was rather warm up at Camp Sherman so the 4 a.m. wake up went smooth.

    Getting ready as the sun starts to crest the Horizon

    It seemed that Rory was feeling Ill so instead it was going to be 4 of us instead of 5.
    So the teams were Dan and Sherpadad and Andy and I. Andy and I left a little bit after 5a.m. to the rising sun while Dan and Sherpadad decided on leaving around 6 a.m.

    Sunrise alpenglow on the Emmons

    Sunrise over the cascades

    Andy Climbing the Emmons with the early morning alpenglow

    We made sure to take our time and not run up the mountain in fear of getting altitude sickness.

    Messing with the crampons

    Crossing a nasty Icefall area

    Slowly Gaining altitude

    Andy with steamboat prow and the Interglacier below

    We arrived at the Summit around 11:30 and waited for the snow to soften for a few hours.

    Andy on the Summit ridge with Sunrise in the Background

    The summit Ridge is all melted out

    The Standard summit shot

    The ranger at Sherman told us the perfect time for decent was around 1:30 as it would be perfect corn from Summit to Sherman.

    Strapping in and getting ready to descend.

    Andy’s sequence first

    Then my sequence

    The run was great corn from top to bottom but the terrain was somewhat sketchy as there was too many crevasses to really open up.

    After a 45 minute run we rested at Camp Sherman awaiting Dan and Sherpadads arrival.
    The weather was perfect all day with no real wind and not a cloud in the sky until around 5:30. Our plans were to stay another night at Sherman and get an early morning run down the interglacier. Within an hour the blue sky had changed to Storm clouds with the occasional lightning in the distance. What was original a drizzle became a huge downpour that we were not prepared for. We had decided to leave the rain fly for the tent behind and our sleeping bags and my coat were down so we battled to keep them dry for over an hour. Realizing the storm was only getting stronger we decided to pack up and get to the White River camp ground as fast as possible.

    All of our gear was drenched as we tossed everything in our bags trying to make a quick escape. We left Sherman around 8:15 racing the last bit of light all the way to the bottom.
    After a quick run down the Emmons we hiked up to the Interglacier. While on top of the Interglacier I looked towards Tahoma which was engulfed in clouds. The run down Interglacier turned out to be amazing with Cold sinkable mash potatoes and lightning flashes in the horizon.

    Looking north from the Interglacier

    Looking East

    Dan riding down the Interglacier

    As we rode into the glacier basin it was obvious we were in the middle of a full on Thunder storm. The white river basin was being nailed by lightning every few seconds as we were running down the trail. It was by far the most intense Thunder storm I had ever seen. The rain had caused the white river to swell almost to the point of blocking our progress. We kept a steady pace navigating with the light from the lightning and the last bit of daylight making it to the car just before 10:00. The storm was intense but we all agreed that we made the right decision getting out of there.

    On another note I am attempting to Summit all 5 of the Volcanos in Washington this season and now I have only 1 left. Glacier Peak


    Nice work . . . Looks like I’m heading that way in two weeks, so I’ll probably hit you up for beta as the trip gets closer. Overall though, how was the Emmons? Pretty clean, or a few sketchy sections? Also, did you guys traverse north to get around the ‘schrud, or just go over it?

    Let me know when you might be heading to Glacier. I’m just one behind you now, should have my Baker pics up shortly 🙂

    Kyle Miller

    Actually the Glacier is breaking up rather fast and was somewhat sketchy.
    As for the Shrund there is a snowbridge going up it and we (Dan ,Andy and I) hucked it on the way down.

    Glad to hear that you summited baker
    3rd time is the charm


    Nice work.


    Great weekend sherpadad and you picked on the weather. Thanks for the report and pics. Can’t wait to make it up there myself someday.


    Nice work Kyle…good luck on glacier peak

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