[Mountaineering] (08/13/18) Mt. Rainier Summit

  • I did Mt. Rainier summit with RMI! Program details here
  • Route we took: https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105877100/ingraham-glacier-disappointment-cleaver-route 
  • When I got to Seattle in the summer of 2017, I thought "hiking" Mt. Rainier would be an iconic thing to do. I only knew a little about mountaineering back then so I had no idea what was actually involved. I saw the RMI program online and signed up to be on the waitlist.
  • In February 2018, while sitting at work, I got an email that I got off the waitlist. I think I was feeling particularly adventurous that day because I just thought "why the hell not!" and signed up. 
  • Well.. when I came home and began to actually look into it (facepalm), I only then realized it was kind of a big deal! Not only were there so much mountaineering knowledge and equipment involved, which were all new to me, I realized that the fitness requirement was no joke. Well... time to train! 
  • From March 2018 - July 2018, I trained for the summit climb which meant I made sure to go up at least 4K ft once a week with a heavy pack (worked up to 45lb pack). I would go to Mailbox Peak, Camp Muir, Granite Mountain, etc. I also kept up my weight training and interval training weight routines - so training 5 days a week, and hiking 4K+ with a pack at least 1 day a week. 
  • The 5 day course consisted of education and summit attempt portions. 
    • Education: The first day, we learned about our gear, how to use them, and what the route we would be taking for Mt. Rainier summit. The second day, we hiked to a snow field near Paradise and learned some crevasse rescue, self rescue and glacier travel techniques. On the third day, we hiked up 4.5K ft to Camp Muir with our 45lb packs then spent the night in the RMI lodge there. On the fourth day, we did more field training for crevasse rescue and glacier travel. 
    • Summit attempt: On the night of the fourth day, we were rushed to bed by the guides at 6PM. I couldn't really sleep until 10PM - I was feeling quite nervous for the next day; thinking about having to go up to the summit then descend the whole mountain. If I knew I would get woken up only an hour after, I would've tried harder to sleep! When the guides woke us up at 11PM, I felt pretty disoriented and thought "oh crap, I have to have a really long day on one hour of sleep". It soon quickly became too busy to think all that though, since we only had one hour to prepare everything. At midnight, we headed out of the warm lodge into the cold for the summit. Next few hours involved grueling snow-steps, munching only on M&Ms (couldn't stomach anything else), and almost giving up about four times (mostly due to feeling too cold despite having 5 layers of 800 down fill parkas or whatever). I remember feeling so exhausted as we were nearing the summit that I began silently crying, then feeling the tears freeze up around my eyes and under my nose. Well our rope team did reach the summit at 7AM! After "enjoying" the summit for about half an hour (which meant I was lying down and trying my best to get some sun on me), we climbed all the way back to the base, reaching the very base at 5PM (about 9K ft of decline). So the summit day was about 17 hours of... awesome, grueling mountaineering where I was pushing my limits mentally and physically.  

Nearing the summit and thinking "my face is frozen.."

Zeb, our guide, on the ascent

On the descent!

Also on the descent. Giddy about making the summit

Another rope team approaching Camp Muir from having made it to the summit 

4th day at Camp Muir. Doing crevasse rescue training.


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