The U.S. Army has been spending time with the Mt. Rainier climbing rangers over the past few weeks. On May 22nd, we flew to the mountain and performed hoist and other training missions near Echo Rock, Camp Muir and Camp Schurman. While participating, I was able to shoot some aerial images of the climbing routes. Check out the updated route conditions for new information and photos. Chinook cockpit image taken by David Gottlieb.
The New York Times gave their opinion of Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Interior, and they liked him! The budget outlook for the NPS also sounds good. Of course, time will tell, but it was refreshing to see some positive press.
On a very, very sad and all-too-familiar note, two friends of this blog died climbing on Mt. McKinley last week. Mizuki Takahashi and Brian Massey (both frequented Rainier) fell while traversing high on Denali near the Messner Couloir. The exact details of what caused the accident are unknown; what we do know is that both climbers were well loved in the Pacific Northwest. Mizuki had even contributed reports to our blog last year. I knew her through the solo climbing registration program. Mizuki loved to solo climb the mountain in the winter.
It's been a very rough six months for female alpinists from the Seattle area: Christine Boskoff (owner of Mountain Madness PI), Lara Kellogg (former climbing ranger), and now Mizuki. The loss of these three unique, independent, and amazing women is an emotional setback to many climbers in the region. Our thoughts are with their friends and family. Here is an image that Mizuki contributed to the blog last year.