What a summer it has been so far! We’ve been so busy that we haven’t had a chance to update the old blog. We introduced waterfall rappelling and it’s been a hit to say the least. We have at least 8 people every single day this Summer if not more. This has been a really fun adventure for us. We hired a few new guides as well along with some interns. Many of you have probably met Noah, Mike, and Brenden as well our interns Ellie and Travis. We are super proud of the team we have built. They all have their strengths which rounds out our team. They also all have a passion for being outdoors, guiding, and teaching.
In July we took a trip out to Washington and Oregon. We started the trip off with a relaxing three days at Smith Rock in Terrebonne, OR. The first day we chose to ignore the locals advise and climbed in the sun all day long. Needless to say the 100 degree heat whooped our butts and we paid the price in dehydration. We heeded the wise advice on day two and did not climb until the evening when the climb we had our eye on was in the shade. Day three saw us climbing in the shade again but this time in the morning. We were really sad to leave such an amazing place where the camping is easy and the climbing is only a few minutes walk. We had other objectives however and Rainier was calling our name.
It’s nearly impossible to go to Washington State and not feel the tug of Rainier. Every time I head out there, I tell myself it will be the last time I climb Rainier, and every time I give in. We planned a three day climb. Our first day we slogged our heavy packs up to Camp Muir at 10,000ft. We arrived to have some dinner, melt snow for water, and build a comfy camp before watching the sunset. The next morning was a casual start. We had breakfast, made more water, and slowly headed off for Ingraham Flatts at just over 11,000ft. We had the better part of the day to build a new camp, eat, relax, pee, eat, relax, pee and so on. We got to bed around 6PM as the sun dipped behind Cathedral Rocks. I’m not sure how long everyone slept for but I know I got a fitful 2 hours in before our 10PM alarm sounded. We again made breakfast, and melted more snow to fill our bottles. We were off for the summit by 11:45PM. Only one group was ahead of us. Due to the warm temperatures they had been having, we really wanted to be back at camp by 11AM at the latest, as any later would risk rockfall and slushy snow conditions. We crossed the first ladder bridge above the Flatts and traversed onto Disappointment Cleaver. Another hour and we were on top of the cleaver and looking up onto a rather spicy section so many others had told us about. We had a rather unrestful break and headed upwards. Easy ground brought us to a 55 degree section of hard-packed snow where at the top, we then had to step out right onto a ladder spanning a large crevasse. I found this section to be quite fun. From this point the route wandered out onto the Emmons Glacier and back again. We stopped for one more break before a final push to the top. We made it to the summit at 4:30AM, only 4hrs and 45mins from our high camp to the crater rim. We then pushed on to Columbia Crest to sign the register and tag the summit proper. We spent an hour or so on top. We were excited to be the first people in Washington to be hit with the sun on July 25th. We knew were halfway and the descent is always a bit more dangerous so we made our way down. We were able to navigate our way back down to the cleaver safely and took a nice break. We then continued our descent to camp where Jamie met us with a ton of water. We arrived at camp by 9:30AM. We gratefully slurped it down, broke camp, and headed for Camp Muir. We cruised down to Muir, saw Ed Visteurs (which was a nice treat), and continued 3 hours on down to the car and the blazing heat. It was an awesome trip overall. I would say this is my last Rainier trip, but I know that would be a lie. =)
It is nice to come back to all of the hustle and bustle of the NEM Bunkhouse. We have been running around everyday with rock climbing, waterfall rappelling, a few hikes, and some personal climbing when we can get it in. This is the life. As the saying goes…Summertime and the living is easy.