Friday, August 29, 2014

Heads Up Regarding Late Season Hazards

Icy area
Fall is arriving swiftly with changing weather and variable visibility.

Please use caution and come prepared for your visit. The fall weather can change rapidly from sunshine to clouds, fog and even snow. Expect decreased visibility conditions.

In some places the glorious sunshine of the summer has finally melted down to the ice of the Muir Snow Field. Be aware of firm and slippery ice in some places. Crampons or other traction devices are still optional at this time but may come in handy on the upper section depending on your comfort and skill level.

Weak/false bridge across crevasse.


You don't want to go there.

As of this posting none of the crevasses observed were wider than ~18" and were easily stepped over. Note that 18" is still large enough for some people to fall into. By crevasse standards 18" is small but it is big enough to bite and cause serious harm or worse.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Mountain Ambassador Extraordinaire

Early in August - on the fifth - we remembered our partner on the mountain, colleague, and friend, Ted Cox.  Ted passed away two years ago, but still seems to be present in our lives everyday at high camp.  He worked at Camp Muir for about a decade doing most everything: fixing doors on huts, installing new solar toilets, painting and weather proofing the structures, helping climbers with broken crampons, hauling down garbage left in the public shelter, hauling up medical kit supplies, and assisting the rangers with search and rescues. These were but a few of his skills. Where Ted stood far above the rest of us was in his extraordinary willingness to befriend anyone who ventured over to say hello. "Welcome to Camp Schurman" he would say as someone walked out of the clouds into Muir.  The ruse never lasted long, but reminded everyone that everything didn't have to be so serious.

Ted brought a mix of compassion, thoughtfulness, humor, competence, and sense of place to Camp Muir.  He knew exactly the measure of the mountain with respect to the cosmos, and kept others informed of it with his sharp wit and smile.  Ted summitted Mount Rainier, but he valued brotherhood and the journey more than any summit.  He'd see folks jockeying to get in front of or behind other rope teams; frustrated from not summitting; nervous about late starts. Ted would try to tell them it wasn't about bagging the peak.  There's always a taller peak - some climbed, like Everest (29,029 ft) and some unclimbed, like Olympus Mons (69,649 ft) - but enjoying the time on the mountain and the people you're around is most important.

In that spirit we remind folks that next time they're waiting for a slow climber on a ladder, or behind a rope team taking a photo, or waiting at a bottleneck on a popular route; to offer a smile, some spare water or snacks, even offer to take a photo.  We're stoked to see so many folks up climbing and having great adventures together.  See you on the glaciers!