Ascent of Mount Rainier on 2015-06-27

Climber: Tobias Flach

Date:Saturday, June 27, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Rainier
    Elevation:14411 ft / 4392 m

Ascent Trip Report

Great trip with the Mountaineers to my highest peak so far. Conditions were excellent. The forecast called for high temperatures with 40F at the summit and around 60-ish in the Camp Muir area. We started from the Paradise trailhead at 9am and at a leisurely pace made our way up to the Muir snowfield and then to a small nook called Protection Point below Camp Muir. The spot was great since it was off the route to Camp Muir, so we had the area to ourselves and no noise issues at all. There was a small stream running down the rocks but unfortunately it came from an area covered in watermelon snow, so we decided the melt and filter snow instead.

We departed for the summit at 9:30pm and roped up shortly after passing Camp Muir. One party came down from Cathedral Gap shortly after and told us that they turned around because they didn't feel comfortable with the amount of ice and rock coming down. After a short rocky section to get over Cathedral Gap we were on snow again and took our first break at Ingraham Flats. At this time all the teams in the area got busy preparing for their summit attempt as well. After refueling we quickly traversed to the Disappointment Cleaver due to icefall hazard in the area. There were already huge crevasses open on the downhill side. The DC climb was half on rock: very nasty, loose rock and we had to be especially careful since there were a bunch of climbers right below us. The second half was fortunately on snow again. At the top of DC our lead climber unfortunately had to abort his summit attempt (would have been his 28th!) because he wasn't feeling well. We took a short break to re-rope and exchange gear before moving on. There was a gusty wind blowing in this area which subsided after about an hour. The rest of the way to the top was straightforward. We followed the well-worn boot path passing some decent crevasses on our side. Besides one ladder crossing before the Ingraham Icefall there were three more crossings on our way up. The most challenging one crossed a bigger crevasse at roughly 12500ft and resulted in a quite a bottleneck of climbers. In addition there were a couple of smaller crevasse crossings and a couple of snow bridges which didn't look like they would last much longer.

The last 500ft were challenging due to the altitude and I was happy when I reached the summit crater early than expected (my altimeter said that I still had 400ft to go but I didn't incorporate the difference between the crater rim and the true summit). We made it to the rim at 6:30am, stayed for an hour, signed the summit register and climbed the true summit and then made our way back. We reached the top of the DC to pick up our lead climber after 1.5 hours. After returning to camp I was happy that part of the way down the Muir snowfield was glissadable, so I took advantage of it and saved my knees about 1000ft of elevation loss.

After attempting Mt. Jefferson a week earlier and not feeling too well, two things really helped summiting this one successfully. First, I took Diamox to take care of the altitude and it worked really well. Second, instead of power bars which I usually have trouble to chew and swallow at higher altitudes I relied more heavily on GU gels, sugar/electrolyte water and dried apricots. I wasn't hungry much on the way up but felt that my energy levels were dropping, at which point I forced myself to chug down a gel or two.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:9011 ft / 2746 m
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:9011 ft / 2746 m
    Route:Disappointment Cleaver
    Start Trailhead:Paradise  5400 ft / 1645 m
Descent Statistics

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