Guess who dropped in at Camp Muir this weekend? One of Washington State's very own United States senators, Maria Cantwell. Maria wasn't there to climb, she came to check things out and "train" with other friends (word was, she's in great shape)! Well, we certainly felt privileged to see her, staff members, and friends (connected friends that is) make the trip (on foot, no helicopters) just to get their own perception of the park and high camps. Perhaps Maria will send us her own personal route update for the Muir Snowfield.
If you didn't realize, Maria sits on the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources committee... In layman's talk, that committee is a big deal for the National Park Service as it oversees funding, etc. Though her day job is in DC, Ms. Cantwell was up to speed on some of our difficulties at Mount Rainier. What was most interesting is that she seemed particularly concerned about high camp and mountaineering-related issues!! Now, perhaps, is the time to drop her a note with your thoughts.
And when it comes to dropping notes... I finally received a route condition update on the Tahoma Glacier from independent climber Jordan Lipp. Pete Fox also sent an update with lots of photos of the Fuhrer Finger. Climbing reports continue to trickle in and I know that readers just like you appreciate them. If you've a unique report, especially anything from the west or south side of the mountain, send it along!
Other "tres-cool" Mt. Rainier news includes yet ANOTHER successful ascent by our long-time and esteemed friend Bill Painter. Bill, once again, climbed the Emmons Glacier route today, pushing up the record for the oldest person to summit the mountain (he's 84). Congrats Bill Painter! You did a great job on your independent ascent without outside support!
First image: Maria Cantwell and Climbing Ranger Paul Charlton at Camp Muir, photo by Arlington Ashby. Second image by Paul Charlton: Climbers atop the Disappointment Cleaver with Little Tahoma in the background.