Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Heat wave continues, and finally, a rescue!

This heat wave we're experiencing has "almost" become an oppressive barrier. Mount Rainier is cooking by northwest standards, with temperatures in the mid-70's and upwards of 80+ this week at Paradise. The "LOW" at Camp Muir on July 10th was 47 (holy smokes), while Paradise only dipped to a BALMLY 66 degrees! Folks, it's hot, it's sunny, and the snow is melting fast. The National Weather Service said the freezing level was 14-15K, but we don't believe them as some climbers have been summitting in tee-shirts and shorts!

Heat wave aside, many of the cool climbing routes remain in great shape. Despite the warm temps, climbers have been successfully summitting without much of a hitch. Conditions are so great in fact, that RMI guided an Army Captain, who in 2005 was blinded in action in Iraq, to the summit on Monday, July 9th.

The only troubling news - and fortunately relatively minor - is that we must sadly confess to an "assist/rescue" of a climber. To refresh your memory, the NPS escaped 2006 without one major rescue/incident on the upper mountain (something of a miracle.) And until this last Saturday, that record held true this year too. But things are different now, as a climber practicing self arrest broke his ankle at Camp Muir, thus ending the magical spell. That said, let's see if we can finish the year without any more mishaps! BTW, we have climbers, JUST LIKE YOU, to thank for this long standing safety record. If you can think of ways to make climbing safer on Mount Rainier, I hope that you will send me your thoughts and images along.

And with that said, check out our latest route reports in the updated route conditions folder. Liberty Ridge, Success Cleaver, Disappointment Cleaver, and more to come in the next few days... Go get 'em!