Ascent of Mount Rainier on 1997-08-14

Climber: Scott Surgent

Others in Party:Victor Caro
Date:Thursday, August 14, 1997
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Rainier
    Elevation:14411 ft / 4392 m

Ascent Trip Report

Followed the popular route from Paradise Ranger Station. A physically exhausting two days, but exhilarating too. We were blessed with great weather. This was our second attempt, after being iced off in May.

Hike to Muir Camp was tedious and exhausting but simple. We arrived around noon, and set up camp. The hut was too crowded so we found a spot nearby and called it ours. We had planned for 3 days up here, including a rest day before the summit climb. However, the weather was so good, we felt we should go for it immediately. We tried to get sleep amid the noise of other hikers. At 10pm, we woke and were moving upward around 11pm. Surprisingly, we could see headlamps ahead of us; we weren't the only ones getting a super-early start.

We made good time through the rocks and up the Ingraham Glacier, the darkness hiding all sorts of scary things from us. We slowly trudged upward on the Disappointment Cleaver. By now, some teams were catching up to us. We arrived on top the Cleaver around 3 or 4 a.m., just as the eastern sky began to brighten.

The remaining climb went well, just following in the footsteps of others, in a trench about two feet deep. In a couple more hours, we had arrived to the crater rim. We dropped in and rested with the other 40 people already here. We then walked across the crater to Columbia Crest to properly tag the highest point. I was utterly amazed I had made it.

The hike down was slow and methodical. The snow was slightly goopy as even at this elevation, temperatures were in the 25-35 F range. Going down Disappointment was a mind-f as I could see now the open air better than when we ascended it in the dark. I just looked at the snow patch in front of me, made sure my boots were in solid, and did that for a couple hours until down below it. The walk back to Muir afterwards was easy, yet by now I was totally exhausted. We stayed another night at Muir, and hiked down the next day.

Trip report
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:9031 ft / 2752 m
    Round-Trip Distance:16 mi / 25.7 km
    Trailhead:Paradise  5380 ft / 1639 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Headlamp, Ski Poles, Tent Camp

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