Camp Muir Training Hike

Camp Muir is the base camp at Mt. Rainier.  As part of my training for my climb to the summit of Mt. Rainier in August, I joined 8 other Microsoft employees for a hike to base camp on Sunday, June 11, 2006.
It was a spectacular, sunny day in Redmond.  We met the group at Microsoft at 7am for some carpooling.  I rode with Scott, the trip organizer, on the 2.5 hour drive down to Mt. Rainier National Park.
The trailhead to Camp Muir is covered in snow even in early June.  We started from the trailhead at 10:40am directly into the snow.  The first part had a mile grade and we had a break just before it started getting steep.  I went off to “explore” in the snow and met a furry marlot standing guard by his den.  He didn’t even budge on my approach, so I let him be figuring he knew something I didn’t.
The first steep ascent towards pebble creek was well worn in by previous travelers, so it was like climbing a 6-story stairwell made of snow.  The ascent towards the top remained moderately steep for the entire trip.  We took another rest stop.  The pace was a bit slow, so Shawn broke off from the rest of the group.  I broke off as well, but was not nearly as fast as Shawn.  He was the first to Camp Muir.  As I was approaching the final destination, the weather changed suddenly and it began to snow on me.  I made it to Camp Muir at 3:25pm.  The rest of the group arrived 20 minutes later.
We had lunch at the top and changed clothes.  I put on my snowboarding pants to take advantage of some glisading (sliding down the mountain on your ass).  We started the trip back down at around 4:30pm.  Towards the end, I took the lead and touched back down at the parking lot at 6:15 pm, for a total trip time of 7.5 hours.  I’m a sore puppy right now, so I still have a lot of training to do!
Distance: 9 miles roundtrip
Time: 6-8 hours
Elevation Gain: 4,681 ft
Trailhead Elevation: 5,380 ft
Maximum Elevation: 10,061 ft
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