Smooth Sailing on Mt Rainier

The good news, is that we have NO news. Other than a spate of warm weather (i.e. HOT WEATHER,) things remain consistantly quiet on the mountain.

Climbers have been successfully reaching the summit via the "standard routes." Most teams that are in good shape are doing so quite easily and w/o incident. There is an extensive Emmon's trip report here. We're keeping the "current climbing conditions" as up-to-date as possible, with new reports on Ptarmigan Ridge and Russell Cliffs.

As an aside, the wildflowers in the meadows are fabulous. This image is from Eric Hamel of the NPS.

Hot, Hot, Hot

The temps are soaring in Washington, and gaining altitude on Mt Rainier is one way to avoid the heat. The last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August historically mark the highest success rates and most reliable weather for the peak. If you're climbing, leave early, as the freezing level is hovering around 15,000 feet.

Recent mountain achievements include Jason Edwards personal climbing benchmark. Jason successfully made his 300th summit climb of Mt. Rainier on July 12th. Jason joins an elit clan of guides (there are only 6) who have more than 300 summits. The current summit record is held by George Dunn, who has over 480 successful ascents.

In other news, we've updated the route condition reports for the Kautz, DC, and K Spire to name a few. Please keep the updates coming.

"Primo" time to climb

Summer is in full swing. Warm temps and mostly clear skies have been generous to climbers and the forecast looks promising.

The snowpack is rapidly melting, which allows for quick and easy access to the alpine. Most of the Wonderland Trail, for instance, has melted out (save Panhandle Gap area.) The meadows are in full bloom, yet the upper mountain still has a fair amount of winter snowpack. Time to climb...

We've posted updated Mt Rainier climbing conditions on the Emmons, Tahoma, DC, Ptarmigan Ridge and other routes... If you've some reports, please pass them along.

PARADISE CONSTRUCTION UPDATE

A shuttle system is now assisting visitors along the Paradise Valley Road and those who park remotely at Longmire and Cougar Rock. The shuttle is free of charge and will operate Friday – Sunday and Labor Day through September 10th. See the Access and Roads page for more information.

Pushing up the bar

So, what will YOU be doing at age 83? If you're Bill Painter, you're still climbing Mount Rainier. Mr. Painter of Richland, WA successfully ascended the Kautz Glacier route this weekend with his family and friends.

He described the climb as his "most technical so far," but when I asked how he was feeling afterward, Bill's response was, "I feel fine today, but I sunburnt my lip a little." For training, Bill (a self described "family man") rides his bike at least 100 miles each week and regularly hikes a local hill called Badger Mountain... Actually, he makes that hike quite a bit... 1,502 times to be exact. But most of all, he credits his fitness to a life of hard work. Congratulations, Bill Painter!

Are you interested in climbing Ptarmigan Ridge or routes on the Mowich Face?? Make sure you register at the Carbon River Ranger Station. Remember, the Wilkeson Ranger Station is PERMANENTLY CLOSED. A number of teams have been turned around b/c they didn't get permits. See the registration page for specific and helpful information about registering for these routes.

So far, so good. Keeping it safe on Mount Rainier

"Accident-wise," things have been REALLY QUIET on the rescue front. We've had a few minor issues, but nothing too serious. One frustrating event did occur this weekend that required our attention. A climber took 15 hours to reach Camp Muir (with the help of his partner and the climbing rangers). Yup, 15 HOURS. OK, so he said he wasn't going to climb, but two days later, the Camp Muir ranger was notified about two climbers having an argument at the base of the Disappointment Cleaver. Seems the faster partner couldn't handle the stumblingly-slow pace and decided no ascent was better than a 24 hour one-way ascent. The tenacious one, however, continued uphill at a snails pace until guides and rangers convinced him otherwise.

We've also seen a number of folks show up at Camp Muir without the proper overnight gear. A climber at Camp Muir sent me these observations, I wanted to share them.
"Just a quick comment about our stay at Camp Muir. It always amazes me how many people... show up at Muir... with no tent. We saw this Thursday night when a group of 4 arrived at the public shelter. Problem was, the shelter was full. They became a bit indignant and fortunately for them, the ranger helped them put
together a lean-to from scrap lumber behind the shelter... so they weren't exactly out in the elements (I'd have told them to go back to Paradise)."
It seems odd to actually have to say this in 2006, but please, BRING the proper equipment and KNOW how to use it.

As for climbing info... I'm trying a new format on the Updated Climbing Conditions page... Otherwise, send me your comments and images. I want 'em... :)

Keeping up... 83 year old makes summit bid

The climbing season is rolling along nicely. Today, an 83 year old started a summit attempt via the Kautz Glacier and he's no stranger to Mount Rainier. Bill Painter of Richland, WA holds the record as the oldest person to summit the mountain (both in 2004 and 2005). Last year, he smoothly ascended the Emmons Glacier... More on his attempt early next week.

It's been 3 weeks since I've been in the park... Thankfully, some of the climbing rangers have been helping w/ route and condition updates. That said, we still love your climbing reports. Over the next day or two, I'll upload many of the great reports climbers have been sending. Of significant news was an ascent of Willis Wall, Mowich Face and new information on Kautz and Success Cleavers. Photo by Loren while on the Willis Wall. YIKES!!!