Saturday, August 31, 2013

Labor Day Sun!

After a week of some pretty stormy weather up here on Rainier the sun is back out and a fresh coat of snow can be seen covering the upper mountain. Today and tomorrow are shaping up to be a great couple of days. The Emmons route is still in great late season shape and the DC is undergoing some changes, making the route a bit more difficult but motivated climbers could still find some great adventures by climbing out of Muir. We even have a very motivated lady who is currently at Muir with skis and planning on having a nice (possibly bumpy) Labor Day ski down the snowfield.

Check in with rangers at the CIC or high camps for the latest conditions. Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Crater Explorations

Late July brought a climbing team to Mount Rainier that was looking to do something a little bit different. Their mission was to explore the summit crater and it's ice caves, with the Kautz Glacier as their route of access. By the looks of their pictures it looks like they succeeded, big is the only way to look at them. 

No significant in-depth exploration or research of the crater caves has been done since Willian Lokey in 1971 and 1972. William Lokey will be presenting about "Project Crater" and his crater explorations at the Paradise Inn Saturday, August 17th starting at 9:00 PM! This event is free however Park Admission is still required.

From Xavier:
"The climb went great. We spent 24th on the summit which was probably the hardest part of the whole climb. You know... altitude."

 "The caves are amazing. We didn't get much time in them as everybody was feeling a bit altitude sick + cold and tired but I got some good shots nonetheless. See below. I would love to spend more time up there and document the phenomenon more thoroughly."

"Ice caves in crater, wicked!"

The summit craters and steam vents have provided mystery and refuge to climbers since the early days of climbing Rainier. For more information check out Dee Molenaar's classic The Challenge of Rainier. 


Thursday, August 08, 2013

Honorary Junior Climbing Rangers

This is a shout out to some pretty awesome kids and their family that came out to climb the end of July/early August.

Here is a write up of their climb.

"We flew in from Thailand on the 29th of July...then headed up to Rainier. On 30 July, we signed in with Carrie a ranger we met last year when our son Pete climbed Rainier at 6 yrs old. This time we were back with the whole family-my wife Karen, Sahale- 12, Suu -10 , Pete- now 7 and six volunteers who work with us; the Free Burma Rangers (humanitarian relief in Burma); Dr. John and Christa Shaw, Hosi Valentine, Micah Beckwith, Jonathan Claussen and Chris Sinclair.

Suu Eubank crosses a ladder at 11,300
We camped the first night near Moon Rocks at about 8,700 so we could acclimate a little from our trip from Thailand. The next day (31st), we climbed up to Muir and stayed in the shelter as a hail, snow and lightening storm swept through. We decided not to climb that night and wait for better weather. The morning of the 1st of August broke clear so we did a day light start,setting We set out for the summit at 6:30am. The route was good and thanks to those who put the ladder across the first big crevasse at about 11,300. Then up Disappointment Cleaver and at the top met guided parties coming down from the summit.
Pete and Sahale Eubank on Cleaver
At about 12,700 there is a short ice wall followed by a large crevasse bridged by a ladder. Again thanks to those who put these in place!

We continued on to the summit arriving at 1130 am. This was Pete's second climb but the girls' first. There were clouds swirling all around us but none on the immediate mountain- it was beautiful!  We thanked God for this and for the opportunity to climb with family and team. We also thank all those we met on the mountain and all the Rangers.

Suu Eubank going down the 'ice step'

We missed seeing Arlington this year but met Julian who encouraged the kids. On the way down someone asked the kids what they thought of the mountains, Sahale said, 'It was hard but fun and anyone who does that mountain is tough!' Suu said, 'Well, it was fun but it was hard and it was cold.' Pete replied, 'Lets do it again!'."

 Dave Eubank & family

Thanks for coming out to play on our lovely mountain and sharing a bit about your trip. Hope to see you all again next year!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

August Changes

After a few weeks of nothing but sun we are starting to see a few clouds and showers in the forecast. It's pretty normal to get more thunderstorm activity and the occasional fall/winter storm rolling back through in August even though there will be many more beautiful days to be had. High camps will most likely continue to be very busy places on the weekends while weekday visitation will start to decrease.

The DC is still seeing large numbers of climbers and with the current condition of the route going through a bottleneck area, wait times have been long especially on more crowded days. Climbers should note this when planning their trip (see the DC conditions page for further info). The Emmons route on the other hand is in stellar condition with almost no bottleneck areas and if you are slowed or blocked by another party there are plenty of variations available to take. The take home here is if you want a less crowded Rainier climb come mid-week and/or choose any route other than the DC.

See you on the mountain.