Bureaucratically speaking, some climbers are arriving "after hours" and think it's OK to start a trip without getting a permit first. Unless you'd like to be turned around mid-trip, ensure that you have a permit in hand. If you think you're going to show up when the ranger stations are closed, give a call beforehand (and not the day before either) so they can help you out. The climbing ranger phone number is: 360-569-2211 ext 6009.
My last post about the Colorado climbers drew a few comments from the team leader. In an effort to keep this blog fun and balanced (with preference towards fun), I'm going to share his truncated version of the events (with minor edits to protect the guilty and innocent.)
"To set the record straight, it was the ranger's choice to proceed down the mountain with the hot water. I spoke to him shortly after reaching Muir myself and informed him that we had radio and GPS contact with the other two climbers. They were in communication with me and informed me that things were under control and the[y] were proceeding up the hill towards Muir safe and warm. I told the ranger this and he still made the choice to go down the mountain. Furthermore, I was prepared to dump my pack and proceed down the mountain with another member of our party if necessary."
Well the ranger did describe things differently, but the Coloradoans have another Rainier trip planned this summer so we'll see what happens when they return (perhaps we'll get a great trip report with summit photos?!) In the meantime, take note that the weather has improved remarkably since last week and climbers are once again reaching the summit.