Fall 2016

Fall 2016

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Summiting Mnt Rainier via Disappointment Cleaver

I need to get this posted... I don't want to forget the details!

We were gone exactly 72 hours. 3 Days. We left a Thursday at 3:00. We drove until midnight. Slept at a tent sight somewhere in Oregon. Slept 5 hours. Drove to the park. Got to Glacier National park only to see a sign that read:

Sunrise Parking lot- 17 miles
(under the sign said)
Road closed Sept. 6
(it was Sept. 8)

17 miles away after all that driving and we had to do a 2 1/2 hour detour!!!!

We get to the park (finally) and reloaded our gear, changed into our hiking clothes, ate some last good food- and left by 3 PM on Friday.

Our Goal- 24 hours from parking lot to parking lot

This is me at the start of the hike. Beautiful paved trails, flowers everywhere and no snow. Very steep. Very hot.
We arrived at Base camp 4 1/2 hours later. That was incredible time. In 4 1/2 hours we climbed 5,000 feet. It was 4.2 miles to base camp. Notice the stone "castle" on the bottom right of this photo. That is where we slept/laid awake... for 3 hours.
We had to go fast because we had little light and lots to do. Here we are next to the castle. Me in purple, Ang in black and Andy Howell in front. We ate a great dehydrated meal and melted tons of snow for water.
Oops- this picture was supposed to be first. This is us half way to Camp Muir. This is the end of the pavement. Time to start up the snow fields.

This is Mnt Rainier behind us.
Weather forecast: Clear, FULL MOON!!!!, sunny, hardly a breeze
We laid down to "sleep" in the castle at 8:30 pm. with only a pad to lay on and our coats to cover us. I am a great sleeper. I fell asleep in minutes. Ang and Andy didn't sleep at all! I slept for 3 hours. They are so kind. They wanted to wake me and start hiking since they couldn't sleep, but they didn't. How nice!

We left at 12:30 am. This is so important. The snow is melting so fast right now (it is september - warm) that during the day time it gets very soft and slushy. It is almost impossible (and totally exhausting) to hike up a mnt in those conditions.

We hiked until 7:30 am. We had planned on hiking much faster than that, but we get off on the trail and ended up going way around a hard part instead of straight up the easy part. BOO!!!

(a few parts had deep trenches cut into the snow by footprints. That is the top up there)
The sun came up. We could turn off headlamps. At this point, we were EXHAUSTED!
- It was dark so we couldn't see the never ending mnt we were hiking up
- Getting lost was terrible for morale and our speed
- We ate pretty good. I started to bonk (be totally exhausted) at one point so we had to pull over
- having basically nothing in our packs was amazing because we left all our extra gear at Camp Muir
- crossing some cool snowbridges was awesome! (I am in front)

We reached the summit- All three of us exhausted. Well- almost the summit. Mnt Rainier is a volcano. This is the crater at the top. The highest point is directly behind us... 400 more vertical feet away - but horizontally it was a long long long way away.
We hiked to mid crater. We could finally untie our ropes. We just wanted to get to the top so we didn't stop and eat like we should have.
Almost to the top!
THE TOP!!! What a view! 14,410 feet up in the world
The people behind us are a group of Russians. They climbed the whole thing with no ropes, no ice axes to stop yourself if you slide down the mnt. They had on jeans and running shoes. FOR REAL!
This was a cool moment to sit and look over the world.
This was not a cool moment... Ang getting sick. Throw up all over. Altitude and exhaustion.
Heading back down was great. Great for my lungs and my legs. But we had planned on going a lot faster. BUT WE JUST COULDN'T! We were all totally exhausted. Totally totally exhausted. Forcing yourself to eat another energy bar or energy food was disgusting.

(this is one of the super cool snow bridges we had to cross. pretty crazy to walk across the ladder and see NOTHING below you)
The sun cups at the top. It is so warm up there the snow is melting so fast.
The crevasses are huge!
Just keep on walking past this ... soon to be a crazy avalanche... spot!
We got back to Camp Muir in 5 hours. We should have been able to do it in 3-4 hours. But we were barely moving. We grabbed our food, ate lots of it! and tried to rehydrated.

Hiking back down the 4.2 miles was only half bad. The first half was great. Running and sliding down the snow was fun. But the last two miles was totally painful. We were back on the cement walk way. My feet were soaking wet and felt like hamburger. It only took 2 hours to get down compared to the 4 hours up... but it HURT!

(my feet at the car- 7 blisters in all-
this picture shows the huge one off the side of my big toe)

This picture is the back of my heels when I took my boots off.

So with getting a bit lost on the mnt, being totally exhausted, not sleeping much for two days, etc... etc... etc... We made it back to the car in 26 hours. Not our 24 hour goal of parking lot to parking lot. But 26 hours was great.

so 15 miles of hiking,
26 hours,
9,500 feet of climbing up...
and of course 9,500 feet of climbing back down!


Then we jumped into the car, found the first good cheap fast place to eat. and then all three of us stayed awake because we had too! We had to keep each other awake. We drove for 7 more hours (including the terrible 2 1/2 hour detour!) and parked and slept at midnight. We woke up at 5 am... On the road again... just cant wait to get on the road again!

We pulled into the driveway having been gone for exactly 3 days.

Drive to Washington,
hike the highest peak in Washington,
drive home from Washington...
all in three days!

ps... I couldn't walk for days after this trip. I had been exercising but not hiking. I couldnt' kneel down to say a pray for 4 days. My muscles were so fatigued they would literally just give out on me as I was walking. Never have I had such pain, not soreness, but total pain in my muscles.

Great trip- glad its done... moving on to the next adventure in my little families life!


Jessica said...

Congratulations on making it to the top. I have to be honest your heels made me cringe.

Rachel said...

oh my. you are a strong woman! and you have good friends. what an accomplishment. whew :)

Corie said...

Go Amy! Those pictures are incredible. It looks breathtaking. (And dangerous... sheesh. I'm glad you made it safely!) What an accomplishment. You're amazing!