|Welcome climbers, friends and
The Rainier 9 was a team of 5 Americans and 4 Canadians
with one degree of separation. They shared a love of the
outdoors and a good adventure. Most had limited experience
at higher altitudes and alpine climbing (crampons, ice axe,
traveling roped together) but they committed to attempt
Mt. Rainier in late 2003. Most trained hard and came to
the Hill ready to give it their best in July 2004.
All the climbers made it to the summit of Mt. Rainier
and back safely. They did in style by setting an RMI season assent record
of 5 hours and 20 minutes from camp Muir to the Summit.
Three of the climbers, Bryan, Ian and Alan also summited Mt. Hood
a few days earlier.
Please enjoy the following pictures, videos and
updated final reports. The discussion board remains open for any
comments. Thanks to everyone for their wonderful support during
the training and the climb.
Alan and Cathy
News and dispatches from the mountains
|Mt. Hood - 11,200 feet
- Bryan , Ian and Alan are climbing Mt. Hood on Wednesday,
- The Hood 3 have arrived safely ... they have checked
their gear and are preparing to get a very early start
... arrive at trailhead by 2:00 a.m.
- All three climbers have made it safely to the summit
at 9:00 a.m. PDST! Alan reports that it is cold with
approx. 40 MPH winds...more to follow after their decent
- Here are a few pictures that Alan took today during
the climb...as you can see, parts of the
climb were very steep. It took them 7 hours up and 3.5
down. The winds were so strong that all three climbers
were knocked off their feet several times but luckily
calmed for the climb across the "hogsback" ridge. Once
on the summit they had great views of Mt. Rainier and
other west coast volcanoes jutting above the thick cloud
Seeing the East side of Mt. Hood from
Highway 35 for the first time. And this was the "warm up"!!
After 4 hours, we reached the final push to the
summit. The 45 degree slope is called the "hogsback" and then we
went through the "Pearly Gates" to the summit.
We roped up for this pitch up and down.
|Ian and Bryan (blue helmet)
climbing toward the summit up the Hogsback.
The Hood 3 on the summit!!!
|Mt. Rainier - 14,100'
- Everyone arrived on Friday, July 9 in Ashford
- Due to a mix-up by RMI with the lodging reservations,
the guys will now be staying at the Gateway Inn at
Mount Rainier (360)569-2506. The Inn is just down
the road from Whittaker's Bunkhouse where they were originally
staying. Also, coverage for their cell phones is very
limited. Unfortunately, Alan's ATT Wireless phone doesn't
work so the updates might be very limited.
- July 10 was climbing school, a required one day lesson
in the basics before attempting Rainier with RMI.
A Nepalese Sherpa, named Phursumba Sherpa was the lead instructor.
The climbers experimented with falling down, getting up. Next
they mastered sliding down a snow covered hillside
on their Gortex covered butts. Then a few lessons in stopping themselves
while falling and sliding down the hillside. Finally,
they experimented with walking, falling and sliding while tied
together with thin nylon rope. It was quite a day
for the intrepid climbers. Once the scores were in, all 9 passed
|The Rainier 9 going to school.
They all followed directions, as usual. Once there, they paid
close attention to Phursumba, especially on the falling down
and getting up parts.
|Phursumba pointed put the finer points of falling and
getting back up and Bryan paid especially close attention. Click
for the videos of the Rainier 9 practicing falling and
another for them getting a little frustrated!
|They were tied together with a nylon rope
and had to master "not stepping on the rope" technique. After
five hours, Phursumba had had enough and sent them home!
THE "RAINIER 9" SUMMIT
- The Rainier 9 is leaving RMI for Paradise in the Park to
begin their climb to camp Muir.
- Alan reports that the entire team has made it safely to
camp Muir. Everyone is doing well. They plan on starting the
climb around 1:30 a.m. PDST Monday morning. Good luck to everyone!!!
- The "Rainier 9" summit!!! Congratulations to all
the climbers!!! Alan reports that the climb took 5 hours
20 minutes and all the climbers are doing well. It is
cold on the summit so they are heading back down around
7:30 a.m. PDST. The decent should take approximately
- The climbers have arrived safely back at the RMI headquarters.
- New "Summit Speed Record" set by the "Rainier
9" for this climbing season 5 hours 20 minutes!!!
|Rainier Climb Summary
The Rainier 9 started their journey at the town of
Paradise in Mt. Rainier National Park. Clouds covered the mountain
for the previous days and they were wondering if it really
existed. As they began their walk to the snowfields and on
to camp Muir, the clouds lifted and there it was. Everyone
stopped for a few minutes to take pictures and reflect on the
climb ahead. Upon this first sighting, there was excitement,
nervous laughter and some quiet moments for everyone.
first part of the climb was to get to camp Muir. This involved
a somewhat long but gentle walk from Paradise at 5420 feet.
Everyone had their packs full loaded with clothing, sleeping
bags, water, food and more. With our guides, Jeff
Justman(JJ), David Conlan,
Raivio we took several breaks to enjoy the views of Mt.
Adams, Hood and St. Helens. Plus we heard words of wisdom from
JJ such as "I'm a member of AA now so all I drink is beer." And "Anyone
know where the route is?" Finally there was " No dry humping,
|Once at camp Muir, 10000', we took off our
packs and rested our legs. It was about 3:00 and had taken about
5 hours to climb the 4500'.
The views were awesome. With a "lights out" time of 6 PM, each person
made dinner, usually a freeze dried treat
There were three teams of 9 climbers plus guides
at the hut. Also, this is a public area so non RMI climbers are
around. All in all about 50 people milled around the area.
RMI hut at camp Muir is a wooden box that holds 35 people. That
is if they are lying down on the wooden bed slats. There is
very little ventilation and with the cheek to jowl sleeping
configuration, you hear every noise (internal and external),
smell every smell (internal and external) and feel every nail
and bump on the wooden mattresses.
Reinhold had tried to warn us but noooooo! Having
music to listen to while falling asleep seemed to be the key to
getting some sleep in the box.
|JJ made his entrance about midnight with a "Let's rock
and roll, Ladies." It was like a fire station drill with everyone
jumping out their bags, getting dressed and trying to grab some
of the hot water for breakfast meals.
Once out of the box, crampons went on along with
harness and rope and helmets. We turned our headlamps on to see
in the moonless night. Away from city lights and pollution, the
stars and Milky Way were spectacular!
In three teams of four climbers, we began the real
|The initial climbing across the Cowlitz Glacier and the
Cathedral Rocks was straight forward with the Rocks seeming
longer than anticipated. After about an hour and a thousand
feet we stopped for a break on the Ingraham glacier. It was
cold and windy so everyone donned their down jackets to preserve
The "crux" of the climb was the loose rock on the Disappointment
Cleaver. This is about 1000' of loose, crumbly rock. With crampons
on, each step was two up and one down. It was good that it was dark!
|The sun began to rise about 5 AM. It was breathtaking
as the climbers were bathed in a soft dawn glow.
The climbing was at a steady pace of 1000' an hour. At each
break the Rainier 9 did an excellent job of eating drinking and staying
warm. Also avoid having to use the infamous "blue bags". The training
and good fitness was paying off as we worked our way up the mountain.
With more sunlight, Mt. Adams soon appeared to
||After another two breaks and 2000' higher, we made
it the summit crater! The crater itself was snow covered but
vents of steam could be seen.
Everyone was tired but glad to be here and a little
surprised at the additional 20 minute to reach the "true summit" at
Columbia Crest. But not to be denied, the team climbed the additional
50 vertical feet to get summit poses before signing the summit log
book back in the crater.
Click on these pictures for the summit videos
|It took the Rainier 9 only 5 hours and 20 minutes to climb
from camp Muir to the summit of Mt. Rainier. This was the fastest
team assent for RMI in 2004!
The down climb was very different in the light
of day. All the potential hazards the Guides pointed out in the
dark became very real.
The Cleaver was especially interesting with the
loose rock and steep slopes. Once back on the Ingraham Glacier,
we saw the huge crevasses we avoided in the dark.
|We were back in camp Muir by
11:00 AM. After an hour to rest and pack the gear we left in
the box, we made the swift hike back to Paradise.
The weather had been almost too good. Temperatures
in the 20's, clear skies and moderate winds. The previous days saw
nothing but rain. As we were returning to Paradise, a lenticular
cloud formed on the summit indicating very high winds. No teams
summited for the next two days.
How was your climb? Click on each person to see the video and hear in their own words!
Facts about Rainier and the climb
- Formed only 500,000 years ago, Mt Rainier is an active
volcano located 67 miles southeast of Seattle Washington
in the Mt. Rainier National Park. It is 14,110 feet high
or 4,275 meters.
- Geologists consider this mountain to be an 'episodically
active' volcano, meaning one that will erupt again some
time in the future even though it may be quiet now. Mount
Rainier is the tallest volcano and fifth highest peak
in the contiguous United States. The last eruption was
between 1820 and 1894
- In 1999, 10,919 people attempted to climb Mount Rainier;
5,255 of them actually reached the summit, a 48% success
- Overlooking the Pacific ocean, Rainier gets brutal
weather. Often this is the deciding factor in reaching
Mountain Guides was our guide service. 4000 climbers
a year attempt Rainier with them with a 60% -70% success
- Day one, July 10th, was training and education day
where we learned about using crampons, traveling roped
together, breathing techniques and, of course, how to
stop a fall on a steep icy snow slope!
- Day 2, July 11, started at the small town of Paradise
at 5,500' where we will started our climb to a primitive
hut at 10,030' named camp Muir. This was about 4.5 miles
and took about five hours. We carried all our gear plus
sleeping bags. About 40lbs worth.
- The 4.5 mile Summit day, July 12, started around 1AM.
For the next several hours we crossed deep crevasses,
climbed 45 degree ice slopes and then snow slopes at about
40 degrees. We took the Disappointment
Cleaver route to the summit.
- We went around all the deep crevasses. On the steep
snow slopes, we used fixed ropes. We were roped together
in teams of four most of the time.
- The summit itself is the crater of the volcano. Steam
rises through deep vents but snow was still on the ground.
The "true" summit was another 20 minute climb from the
crater, about 50 more feet.
- We follow the same route down. Summit day will be long
-12 to 18 hours depending on conditions and other factors.
- Click here for a topo map of
|The Rainier Nine
If I push real hard ... no pull, pull!!
I have to get out more ...
I'll bring the wine.
|CO. - Technology
- likes to climb hills
|| CO - Home builder
- backpacker, 14'er climber
|| Alberta - Oil & Gas
biz - former alpine skier, heli-skier
Pants? I don't need no stink'n pants!
Is that Big Foot behind me?
Guess what is in my pack!
| B.C. - manages
commercial construction projects - accomplished Dragon
boat racer, expert alpine skier.
|| CO - GIS business
- avid cross-country skier and general outdoorsman
|| CA - Consultant
- international cyclist
I hope my TV works up here since I brought antennas.
Hi Girls. Need a Guide?
I think I forgot to clip in!!
|Alberta - Engineer
in the Oil & Gas biz - mountain biker, Canada Rockies
climber including Cotapaxi (19,348 feet) in Ecuador.
|| Colorado -
owns his own veterinarian business - aspiring mountaineer
with several Colorado 14'ers under his belt. See
his SummitPost page.
a high tech refugee who recently bought a stairbuilding
business. Climbed 20 or so 14k+ mountains including Orizaba
(18'700) in Mexico, Rainier, Grand Teton, Whitney, Shasta,
and many in Colorado. Lately into surfing.
|We wanted to stay at Whittaker's Bunkhouse but
a mix up on their part put us up at the Gateway Inn a few miles
up the road on July 9 and 10th. On the Hill we spent the 11th
at camp Muir, then returned to the Gateway on the 12th. Our
celebration dinner was on the patio at the Copper Creek.
In thinking about arriving on July 9 for the ice
climbing school on the 10th then the climb on the 11/12, there is
not much time to get used to 5,000 or 10,000 or 14, 411 feet! How
about a nice warm up climb, say Mt.
Hood near Portland. It is only a few hours from Rainier and
is about 11,200. It is a day climb but involves some limited snow
so crampons are required. Just a thought. Otherwise, arriving a
day early in Ashford, say the 8th would be a good idea. Bryan and
Robert have expressed interest.
We needed to arrive in Ashford Washington no later
than July 9 for our July 10,11 and 12 climb. Ashford is
67 miles southeast of the Seattle airport and takes about
2 hours driving time.
|RMI has sent us a list of gear, but
I found it confusing, especially all the layers. Basically,
we need three layers: base, warmth and wind. If you promise
not to yell at me if you get too cold or hot, here is my suggested
gear list. Also, take a look at my complete gear page . I will select my items from the "climb" column.
|Wicking body moisture and 1st layer of warmth
||capiline long underwear
||Patagonia or Smart Wool
|second layer for warmth
||windstopper tops and bottoms
||Mountain Hardware, Arc'Teryx
|outer layer for wind and temperature protection
||wind suit or Gortex bibs and top or Gortex paints and top.
Also some type of warm jacket -down or dry loft. I use the Mountain
Hardware Chugach and never get cold.
||Mountain Hardware, Arc'Teryx
||3 layers: base, warmth, wind
||100% UVA/B Glacier glasses
||baseball cap for lower, windstopper skull cap for higher
||socks, boots, gators
||REI, Koflach, Mountain Hardware
|gripping the ice and snow
||crampons, ice axe, ski poles, helmet
||Grivel, a, Leiki
||20 degree light weight sleeping bag (pad provided by RMI)
||4000 cu in pack
|10 essentials (already mentioned but do not forget!)
|| map, compass, sunglasses/sunscreen, extra food and water,
extra clothing, headlamp/flashlight, first aid kit, matches/lighter,
stove (not needed on this trip), knife
||2X water bottles 1 liter each
||toothbrush/paste, spoon, cup, altitude watch
|Have you done your workout today? I know it is
a hassle and you tell yourself "I'll get into it after the holidays" ...
But it takes time to get your body in shape - at least 6 months.
This means January 1 is the absolute last day to start your
training. As the RMI site states:
Mount Rainier is considered to be one of the toughest endurance
climbs in the lower 48 states. Regardless of the route chosen, the
climb is difficult. The two-day climb is eighteen miles round trip,
with an elevation gain and loss of 18,000 vertical feet. On summit
day, be prepared to climb for 12 to 18 hours while carrying a backpack.
AAI has a nice program for
Denali that I think will work well for Rainier. Here is a suggested
||Get into the routine
||1 hour aerobic exercise3X a week : 70% max heart rate: (220-age)*.70).
300 sit-ups a day.
||above plus 3x 20lbs biceps, trapezoids 5X a week
||all above but double weight routine, add 8 mile run at 10
minute pace once a week
||add running, 5 miles at 8 minute pace 3 times a week. Push
yourself when you want to stop
||keep it going but increase lower back exercises e.g. sit ups
||Rest and Maintenance
||light running and weights