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 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.