Today Andrew and I ascended 14,411 foot Mount Rainier in a 12.5 hour car-to-car effort. We arrived at 6 pm yesterday evening to register and rested in the visitor center lounge until our departure, which was just before 11 pm last night. The route was virtually entirely snow from parking lot (elevation around 5,500 feet) to summit. The stars were gorgeous walking up the slopes. We made Camp Muir in reasonable time and pressed onward. The Ingraham Direct route was a great choice because of it directness and it allowed us to pass the multitudes of people ascending the Disappointment Cleaver route, which is the standard guided route. However, we had to jump one large crevasse on the Ingraham and snow bridges were becoming weak. This route is usually "out of shape" this time of year and it looks like the hot spell of late will put it out of commission this weekend (route is in center of the last photo).
We arrived at the summit at 6:30 am and chilled in the summit crater for over a half an hour and then we began our descent via the Disappointment Cleaver route (right ridge in last photo). We chose the DC route for descent to avoid the risks of serac fall and weakening snow bridges on the Ingraham Direct as the sun warmed the snow slopes.
It was a relatively warm and calm summit for Rainier. Not a cloud in the sky and views from Baker near the Canadian Border to Mount Jefferson in central Oregon.
In the later stages of the descent on Muir Snowfield I postholed awkwardly resulting in some ligament in my knee straining. It doesn't hurt when I walk just when my knee is fully outstretched with weight on it. Hopefully it will heal fast. The walk down the snowfields felt like forever and I was surprised it was only 11:25 am when we arrived (I thought it was more like 2 pm). Nonetheless, the final snow walk felt like forever and my legs were toast.
Thanks Andrew for being such a great partner. I always enjoy climbing with you! This was my third summit of Mount Rainier, but I'd say this 12.5 hour effort has to be the most ambitious and my biggest accomplishment on Rainier. I am exhausted right now!
Stats: 10,000 feet vertical, 12.5 hours roundtrip from parking lot, many glaciers, many miles