Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mt Rainier : Camp Muir

We headed out of town on Friday intending to do a little Fall camping and then to climb to 10,000 feet on Mt Rainier to the base camp - Camp Muir - where climbers typically camp and wake to begin their summit.

It was cold. Definitely cold. But it was great to get out of the city and to crawl into my sleeping bag one more time in the forest before winter.

Saturday we headed to Paradise Ranger Station, loaded our packs and set out to reach Camp Muir. The sun was shining and it could not have been a more beautiful day. Umm,...first we saw a bear! Just eatin' away in some meadow foraging for berries. Crazy. And here is my 1950s photo near the start of the trail:

From the hike, the horizon was clear enough to view Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens in the distance.

We made it to Camp Muir but not without some wining and complaining on my part. And by the time we reached the top, the winds were so strong that we reconsidered actually setting up our tent; we discovered that there actually was a small stone structure that slept 25 people on wooden platforms. And Lucky for me (sarcasm), I was the only woman on the mountain amid 33 men. Wearing every layer I packed, I was still freezing. Even in the hut. But after crawling into my sleeping bag I finally warmed up.
I can't imagine being these guys in their bivvy sacks just laying there on the snow. Notice all of the crevasses the people who were planning to summit had to avoid as well. We were not planning to summit = me happy about that.

In the morning we woke around 6am. People were rustling about trying to cook food and pack, and ultimately, trying to decide whether or not the conditions outside were going to allow them to summit. Apparently some bad weather had come in a day early and it was snowing outside and white-out. Tyson and I joined a couple of men from France and packed up our things, put on our crampons and headed down. Even with the snow and white-out the descent was really fun. I was warm and the new layer of powder was fluffy and made it really easy to hike.

And eventually blue skies revealed themselves again. Overall a challenging but fun experience. It gave me a taste of what it would be like to climb Mt. Rainier and I'm not really sure its something I have the ability to do. Maybe things would be different if it was August and not OCTOBER. I guess we'll see.


Jamie said...

W.O.W. I am impressed!

hales02 said...

me too. can i do this with you sometime i come out?

La with an is said...

i cant wait for pete to be done with school so we can do fun things on the weekends like this! cool trip! i want to go! perhaps i should just throw down on the calendar and say "1st week of August, I DONT CARE WHOS WEDDING WE HAVE TO MISS! I'm camping at Muir"!