Sometime in the middle of 2000, while I was preparing for
my 2001 Appalachian Trail Thruhike,
my pal Matt Posner
mentioned that climbing Mount Rainier was on his list of things
to do before he died.
When I returned from my A.T. hike, I started looking for my
next adventure. When Matt mentioned Rainier again, I decided
it sounded like a fun project, so I let him talk me into climbing
Rainier in 2002.
Neither Matt nor I had any experience with mountaineering
(my A.T. hike was hardly "mountaineering" even though I was climbing
up and down mountains all day every day), so we decided to book
Rainier Mountaineering Inc.
as our guides. Thanks to residual training from my A.T. hike,
some wonderful RMI guides, and no shortage of luck, I was able to
make the summit on the morning of July 31st, 2002. Woohoo!
Below are some of the pictures I took on my trip. Click on
a picture to see a larger version.
July 28th was training day. The RMI guides taught us how to
avoid getting ourselves killed on the mountain. They also did
a fitness to test to wash out people who weren't in good enough
shape. Thankfully, neither I nor anyone else in my group got
The picture shows the parking lot at Paradise (5400'), the starting and ending
point for all of our activities on the mountain.
The gentleman in the white cap, walking toward the camera, is a Nepalese Sherpa
named Nawang Gombu. This guy has climbed Mount Everest multiple times.
This is my pal Matt.
Many thanks to Matt for talking me into this adventure.
Matt was also a great training partner in the months before the hike.
My inclination would have been to slack off, then
cram all my training into the last month or two before the climb.
Matt also supported my addiction to buying gear, for which I am eternaly
|I didn't have much time to take pictures while I was on
the mountain. The RMI guides kept a very busy pace, and I foolishly
did not keep my camera as close as I had planned. I did manage to squeeze
off a shot of the rest of the group, and I got Matt to take a shot
of me. Don't I like like a total Badass Mountain Man? It was (thankfully)
a cool and foggy day on the mountain, and I had a lot of fun
practicing self-arrest, walking in crampons, and generally playing
in the snow like a little child.
We passed this tunnel on training day,
near the end of our "test climb". We didn't have time to stop and
enjoy the view. Actually, we didn't have time to stop at all.
Matt didn't even notice this tunnel, and I only noticed it long
enough to think "hey, that was pretty cool!"
This snow bridge was one of the more amazing things I have seen.
It had a very delicate and ephemeral feeling, as if it could fall
at any minute. Some of the pictures on
Matt's Site are better than
the pictures on the left.
Higher up on the mountain, I saw 100' crevasses, ice boulders the
size of office buildings, and snow bridges spanning huge gaps...
but none of these sights are stuck in memory as vividly
as the tiny snowbridge pictured here.
As you can see below, I didn't get a chance to take many pictures
on the summit day. RMI runs a tight ship: Only three breaks between
Camp Muir and the summit, and those breaks don't allow much time for
picture taking :-(.
While taking a quick break at Disappointment Cleaver, I
had the pleasure of seeing one of the best sunrises EVER.
These pictures don't do justice to the sunrise. It was a
shame I didn't get to spend more time enjoying it, but I had
a mountain to climb, dammit! Sadly, only 4 of us (from the
13 people in our climbing group) continued past the Cleaver.
You might ask "what were you thinking when you reached
the summit?". You might be disappointed when I answer "Damn, it's
cold up here!" That's all. No deep thoughts. No greater insight
to the meaning of life. Oh well.
Here it is!
The glory shot... the reason I did this trip.
Me at 14,410'. Woohoo!
After a rather tiring hike down to Camp Muir, I was able to squeeze
off a few more shots. Remind me to shoot more film on my next adventure.