Although Autumn officially begins on Sept. 22nd this year , it's starting to look and feel like "fall" now. The weather REMAINS outstanding (!), but change is in the air. Each day, the sun dips lower and lower into the sky, while the nighttime temps continue to drop.
Of course, there really isn't an official "Mt. Rainier Climbing Season," but if there were, it would start in late May and end around Labor Day weekend. Hmmm... Labor Day weekend just passed, and it's getting quiet around here...
I'd share a route report about some cool line or ski descent, but it's September and most of our reports are focused on the DC and Emmons. As an example, a climber called today and asked about the Kautz Glacier. From Aug. 21st to now, only 15 people have attempted it (6 made it) and they had little to share. The DC and the Emmons, however, are in fine shape (if you like crossing crevasses and few other climbers).
Regarding the "climbing season"... I find it WONDERFUL that we had no (I mean NO) rescues all summer!!! A few were hurt, yes, but no one needed any sort of "rescue." Everyone was able to walk off on their own. More on this topic later...
In other news... PAY ATTENTION MOUNTAIN GUIDES (or if you are interested in commercial guiding).
The NPS at Mt Rainier is OPENING professional guiding opportunities for competition to INDEPENDENT GUIDES (not concessions). After some research, you'll find that the scope of the introductory program IS quite limited, but the intent is for that program to expand. Moreover, other parks and agencies are watching Rainier, as independent guiding here could be precedent-setting within the industry, Park Service and other federal agencies.
As of today, roughly 8,600 climbers have attempted the summit this year, and the success rate hovers around 63%. By the way, it's no longer smoky up here.