Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mt. Rainier- Climbing For Kids

August 20th, my 40th birthday I headed down to Ashford, Washington for my three day climb of the Disappointment Cleaver route with Climbing For Kids. Thanks to the generous support of family and friends I was able to raise over $4500 for Climbing for Kids. Climbing for Kids is an organization that helps underprivileged kids to get into the outdoors. I was pretty excited about climbing this mountain which I had my eye on for awhile now. Our guide service was International Mountain Guides. Jenny Fogle was our lead guide and with us we also had Austin Shannon, Kelly Ryan and Josh Smith. We had 7 in our group and the forecast looked very good. We started our climb from the Paradise Parking lot on the morning of August 21st. The parking lot starts at 5500 feet elevation and we climbed for hours to get up to the Camp Muir situated on on a rock saddle at 10500 feet. It was an incredible location with a number of other climbing groups getting ready for the summit. After a great sleep we packed our bags on the 22nd and headed up to our high camp at 11500 feet. You could not have found a more scenic high camp. This camp was situated at the foot of the Ingraham Glacier and we were not too far away from crevasses that could swallow a semi truck. I was so excited to get moving I had a hard time sitting still. I took a nap in the afternoon and hit the sack at 5:30pm to get ready for our 1:30am departure on the 23rd.

We were up at 12:30am having breakfast(cold golden grahams and coffee) and then packed and got ready to go. It was a brilliant clear night with a sky full of stars. We started off with our headlamps on and began to pick our way up the mountain. Disappointment Cleaver was challenging since there was no snow on it and we had to scramble up for an hour over loose rock with our crampons on. We continued on past massive glaciers and deep dark crevasses. I was so stoked to finally be on the mountain and working my way to the summit. The group seemed to be doing well. At around 5 the sun started to rise and I experienced one of the most amazing sunrises ever. It was hard to not stop to turn around to look at the sun rising in the east over the lower mountains.

It was at this point that i realized how big this mountain really was as we were towering over any mountain that was around us. The relief was impressive and we had clear views down to Mt. Hood, St. Helens, Mt. Adams and Jefferson to the south and Mt. Baker and British Columbia to the north. It was also really windy and a lot colder up near the summit and i had all of my gear on.
We continued to zig zag up the summit and at 6:45 we were all at the crater rim. Myself and Jason with guide Kelly Ryan went a little higher to the true summit(14410 feet) to sign the register and take a few pictures. Simply amazing.

We stayed on the summit for about an hour and a half and we then made our way back down to high camp where we collected our stuff and then back to Camp Muir. Most of the group was pretty hurtin from the climb and I needed to get back to the car to get back to Squamish for the vancouver island quest with my partner Jen the following day so I was lucky enough to run down from Camp Muir in under and hour with another guide.

Physically I felt great, my body was strong and the altitude did not cause me any problems. The guides with International Mountain Guides were incredible. They were safe, patient, great teachers and were passionate and enthusiastic. The meals were nutritious and delicious. They really set the whole group up well for success. I am really motivated now to go bigger and higher and i hope I get a chance to climb with them again. Congratulations to my climbing partners as well. I was proud to have raised the money for Climbing for Kids and this as well has inspired me to raise more funds in the future for people and environments in need. I was on a pretty good high driving home to Squamish. Not much time to rest though as I had to get on the ferry the next morning to meet Jen who was already starting the vancouver island quest, top to bottom, 750km in 4 days. Not sure how i was going to accomplish this but first things first.......a hamburger.


Fun way to spend my 40th!!

1 comment:

climbingamerica said...

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