Left Seattle with Zak around 2pm for the White River approach to Mt Rainier. Stopping at the Ranger Station, we were lucky enough to get the desired permits, so Friday night was spent at Glacier Basin, and Saturday night at Camp Schurman. This makes for a leisurely pace, as far as Rainier summit attempts are concerned, and with only 3 miles and 1,600 feet to cover Friday night, we set out on the trail around 5pm.
Little Tahoma and the Fryingpan Glacier:
Rainier above the outlet stream of the Interglacier:
A ranger was staying at Glacier Basin that night, and directed us to one of the remaining tent spots. Continuing our leisurely pace, we didn’t set an alarm and woke around 8am for the climb up the Interglacier to Camp Schurman. Left camp around 9:30 and reached Schurman around 1:30, skinning the whole way and roping up only once on the Emmons Glacier.
Zak skinning high on the Interglacier:
We set up camp, and spent the rest of the day talking with other parties, melting snow, cooking food, and hydrating. Along with the great views of the Sound and Mt Baker to the North, rockfall from the Russel Cliffs or Willis Wall put on a good show.
Crevasses right outside of camp:
Sunset with the Sound and Olympics:
Most parties started their summit bids early in the night, some as soon as 9:30pm. Intending to ski, we opted to wake up at 3am, and set foot climbing at 4am.
Sunrise near the top of the Corridor:
Zak climbing through seras at 11,500:
The climb up went pretty quickly for us, 5 hours from Schurman to summit, but was pretty windy above 12,000. Higher on the climb:
The direct ascent over the bergschrund to the summit is no longer feasible, and the route now traverses out right to the saddle between Liberty Cap and Columbia Crest, then heads south to the Crater and summit. On the summit, the wind was probably blowing 50-60mph pretty continuously.
We reached the summit at 9am and hung out for a while, but after getting chilled and watching a cloudcap began to form, we geared up for the descent. We skied off the summit down highly variable conditions to the saddle, then roped up and downclimbed over the ‘schrund and down about 150 more vert before skiing again. Not too many skiing pics, since we were focused on the task at hand and Zak’s camera batteries died.
We skied almost continuously to Emmons Flats at 9,800, with only a few short carries over snow bridges that we couldn’t or didn’t want to ride.
Crevasse on the Emmons:
We roped up after Emmons Flats and walked the last 200 vert or so to camp, packed up, and walked down the Emmons to get to the Interglacier, which we were able to ski to 6,000, for a total of maybe 8,000 feet of vert skied.
Looking back up the route, you can see our turns through the Corridor:
FKNA man! Thanks for posting it. Awesome early morning picture in the pink seracs!
Rainier is on my list, but I don’t want to get on the biggest roller coaster in the park first thing. Maybe the cherry on the sunday for me next year.
Congrats to you on having an awesome year and some epic climbs. Got anymore on your list for this before the season is over.. or starts or ,, yeah… Is the official record keeping start july 1st? if so, wold this be considered this season, last seaon…Confusing.
Yeah, I’m not really sure when this stops being this season and starts being next season. But I think I’m done for a while, with no immediate plans to ski something big … that may change in a few days, but I’m looking for something more mellow right now.
From summit to 13,600 was mix of ice, windbuff, and in between. From about 13,500 to 13,000 was carveable hardpack that hadn’t quite softened. From about 13,000 to 11,500 was corn Below that were suncups, around 1-2 feet deep in the Corridor and above Emmons Flats Interglacier wasn’t too smooth either (but the suncups were way worse in the Corridor).