I successfully summitted the highest peak in Washington state on Monday morning, August 7th at approximtely 8:30am.
I returned from my trek the night before last and I’m still recovering (my legs are still sore) What an experience it was. Take a look at some of the pictures in my photo album. I’ll write more in the next couple of days after I recoup.
I’d like to thank again everyone who sponsored me for this climb. Thanks to your generousity, our group raised over $110,000 for the Washington National Park Fund, to ensure that future generations enjoy the beauty and majesty of our National Parks.
Here’s my recap….
I was standing on the summit of Mt. Rainier, the highest peak in Washington at 8:30am this Monday, August 7th. It was a long and arduous journey, and 3 days later I’m still extremely sore from the effort, but it was well worth it. I must sadly admit that towards the very top I was sorely tempted to throw in the towel. Fortunately I thought of everyone who had faith enough to support me on this journey and I trudged along. Of the 14 people on the climb team, only 3 were not able to make the summit and had to turn around. I’ll just give a synopsis here (next 4 paragraphs) and put more details on my blog if you care to read further.
The weekend started with Snow School on Saturday, August 5. We had to hike about an hour to get to snow. Among other things,we learned how to efficiently climb with crampons, how to self-arrest or stop yourself from sliding down the side of the mountain to certain death, and how to walk with your team on a rope and team-arrest (stop any team members from sliding off the mountain). I must admit I was glad to have this training after seeing some of the crevasses we had to cross, which were hundreds of feet deep. Some of them end in underground rivers in which several victims have fallen over the years and their bodies never recovered. Yikes!
On Sunday we began the hike to Camp Muir, which is at 10,030 feet. The guides set a VERY slow pace so that we could conserve energy for the big hike. At this point I thought the whole climb would be a piece of cake, but I was about to learn otherwise. It was a 5 ½ hour hike, mostly through snow on a beautiful, warm summer day. At Camp Muir we were provided with a bunk, feasted on our meager dinners, hydrated ourselves, and tried to go to bed at 7pm with the sun still up in the sky.
At midnight we were roused from our not-so-blissful slumbers to pack up and climb the next 6 ½ hours to the summit. We set off at 2am under a starry sky to take advantage of the hard snow/ice. Once the sun comes out, it becomes more dangerous as the snow begins to get soft and could give way. For the entire climb, we would only get 3 breaks of 15 minutes each, so just imagine going on your StairMaster at the most difficult setting for almost 2 hours straight and you’ll get a sense for how difficult it is. The sunrise was spectacular during the climb. At 8:30am I reached the summit and signed my name in the book at the top of the mountain. I didn’t get a chance to see the views from the top because of the cloud cover. L Of course, just my luck, after we left the summit the skies completely cleared up!
That was just the tip of the iceberg (or mountain in this case). We still had to trek the entire way back to Paradise, the start of the journey. We finally reached the very end and got to the shuttle at 5pm after a 17 hour saga. It was a bit scary to see all the crevasses that we passed in the middle of the night. You really aren’t aware of how much danger you’re in if you slip because you can only see the trail in front of you. Probably better off that way.
Once again, to everyone that supported my climb for charity, a very sincere THANK YOU! Thanks to all of you, not only did I have an amazing lifetime experience, but we were able to raise over $110,000 for the Washington National Park Fund (with the generous 1:1 matching support of Microsoft). When I saw the beauty of Paradise (bottom of Rainier) with all the wild, mountain flowers, the spectacular mountain views, the wildlife, and all the people enjoying this amazing place, I was quite proud of the fact that we were helping to guarantee that our future generations will be able to enjoy these wonders as well.
Prologue – Now that I’ve already climbed Mt. Adams (12,281 ft.) and Mt. Rainier (14,411 ft.) this summer, my next stop in 2 weeks will be Mt. Baker (10,778 ft). I plan to reach the top and then take-off on my paraglider. The fun never ends in sunny Washington J
Take care everyone!!! I leave off with a picture of the climb route from Camp Muir to the summit of Mt. Rainier, and a picture of my guide as he’s rounding a corner during the sunrise of the summit climb…