Ascent of Mount Rainier on 2015-08-08

Climber: Andrew Kirmse

Date:Saturday, August 8, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Rainier
    Elevation:14411 ft / 4392 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was a privately guided trip that Coby King set up. We met at Paradise and got started around 10:30 am. We reached Camp Muir in the late afternoon and set up tents there. So far the weather had been cloudless, though forecasts called for clouds and potentially some showers the next day.

We got up at 2am, late enough that we wouldn't get entangled with the many RMI groups on the mountain who had left earlier. Defying the forecasts, it was still perfectly clear. The previous winter had been very dry, resulting in many small open crevasses along the lower route, and some rockfall areas, including one near the camp. Disappointment Cleaver was all rock, with no snow at all.

Instead of the switchbacks directly up the glacier that the route takes most years, this year it traversed back and forth considerably, adding a lot of distance on the upper mountain. There were three ladders over crevasses, and a few sketchy snow bridges that look like they won't last much longer. Other steep places had hand lines.

A lenticular cloud blew in at the top, reducing visibility dramatically. We had crossed paths with the RMI groups about 1000 feet below the top while they were descending and we were climbing, and now we were one of last the parties on the mountain, and it was time to head down.

That night at Camp Muir was very windy and we almost lost a few tents. The wind died down a little by the morning, and we had an uneventful return to Paradise.

The huge ice formations visible on the upper mountain were really something else. Giant icicles 100 feet high, a balanced serac that looked like it could fall on you at any second---these were some of the compensations for the long route and low snow levels.

Our guides were truly amazing. They had about 400 ascents of the mountain between them and they've been climbing all over the world. They were extremely knowledgeable and helpful, yet we always felt like we were on our own climb, rather than theirs.

(Time estimates are from and to Camp Muir.)
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:9211 ft / 2807 m
    Round-Trip Distance:18 mi / 29 km
    Route:Disappointment Cleaver
    Trailhead:Paradise  5200 ft / 1584 m
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Headlamp, Ski Poles, Guide, Tent Camp
Ascent Statistics
    Time:9 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:5 Hours 

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