Friday, July 24, 2009

Phu Nuru Sherpa volunteers with Climbing Rangers

The Mount Rainier climbing rangers at both Camp Schurman and Camp Muir were honored to have a special guest volunteer with us over the past two weeks in Phu Nuru Sherpa. Not only is Phu Nuru a strong, talented climber with an extensive climbing resume, he's also a fun, light-hearted man who everyone enjoyed working with. Before arriving at Mount Rainier, Phu Nuru also volunteered with the Denali climbing rangers, patrolling North America's highest peak with one of our own rangers, David Weber. Phu Nuru is visiting the United States for a variety of rescue trainings on scholarship from the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation (

Phu Nuru, a resident of Phortse, Nepal, has an extensive climbing and guiding resume that includes four summits of Mt. Everest (29,028'),
eleven summits of the sixth highest mountain in the world, Cho Oyu (26,864'), and climbs of twelve different 6000 meter peaks in the Himalaya. He is also a senior instructor at the Khumbu Climbing School which is held every winter in Phortse to train local guides in technical mountaineering, rescue, wilderness medicine and English language skills.

While on patrol at Camp Muir with climbing ranger David Weber, Phu Nuru enjoyed a beautiful sunset from the summit of Mount Rainier via the Disappointment Cleaver route. A majority of his time on patrol was spent practicing technical rescue, avalanche rescue and wilderness medicine skills with Weber. During his stay at Camp Schurman, Phu Nuru not only climbed the Emmons-Winthrop route but he also participated in an impromptu day of mountaineering rescue training (see photo) taught by lead climbing ranger and veteran rope rescue instructor, David Gottlieb.

Phunuru will spend the month of August enrolled on a mountaineering course in the North Cascades of Washington State to compliment his mountain rescue apprenticeship. Upon his return to Nepal later this fall, Phunuru plans to continue collaborating with Weber, the ALCF and Dr. Luanne Freer ( to develop a similar rescue program on Mount Everest to respond to accidents during the spring climbing season.

Mountaineering aside, the cultural and social exchange between the climbing rangers and Phu Nuru benefitted everyone involved and we hope to host many more Nepalese rescuers like him in the years to come!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Great weather!

With July moving right along, the mountain is seeing some of the best weather of the season right now and fantastic climbing conditions. Climbers are getting out and making the best of it. There's plenty of fun climbing to still be had all over the mountain.

Lately, a lot of climbers have been having success on the Emmons-Winthrop route (see photo). It's in great form right now and a nice option to consider when planning your trip.
Come out and see us on the mountain!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Egan on National Parks

"From that graveyard to the glaciers of Rainier, this land, this history, is a shared birthright. But we are absentee owners, at best, if we don’t create a new generation of stewardship..." Timothy Egan on creating a new generation of national park stewards. Check out the whole article here.

There are many opportunities to enjoy Mount Rainier this summer. Get involved in one of the many climb for causes, invasive plant pulls, or just come up for a hike with your family.

Around Paradise the snow has been melting at an exponential rate. Alpine fauna and flora have been returning as fast as the snow is melting. Late July can be the most photogenic time of the year in the park. Come on up and enjoy the views. Don't forget your sunglasses and sunscreen; winter parkas are also a must, even in July.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Early July

The first week of July has brought lots of action to the mountain. We've had three major rescues, a handful of carry-outs, and plenty of minor injuries to keep us busy.

On Wednesday, July 1st, our co-worker and friend Sam was hurt while skiing on the Emmons Glacier. His surgery on Saturday went smoothly and he was discharged from the hospital Monday. Our thoughts are with Sam and his long road through rehabilitation.

Saturday an independent climbing team was traversing onto the Disappointment Cleaver when one of the team members was struck by falling rock. His party was able to walk him back to Camp Muir. He was treated and then flown off by helicopter on Saturday morning.

Saturday night a different independent climbing team ascended the Kautz Glacier route to the summit. They decided to bivy around 13,000' on their descent when one of their party members began showing signs of HAPE. His condition worsened overnight and the party decided to traverse over to the DC route and descend to Camp Muir for help. High winds prevented transport via helicopter. Rangers and guides assisted in helping the party and injured climber down to Paradise where he was transferred to the hospital by ambulance. [ed.: HAPE is a life-threatening condition for which the immediate action is descent as rapidly and efficiently as possible].

With all of the injuries this last week we're stressing safety. Please be careful on the mountain. Use conservative judgment when putting yourself into a committed situation. Historically mid-July has held the best chance of success for climbers attempting to summit, but the possibility of rapid storm development and the changing physical conditions on the route, compounded by altitude, should always be paramount in a climber's mind.

However, with both the Emmons and DC still in great shape it's a good time to climb. Come on up and enjoy the best season on the mountain!