Mt. Rainier, June 25 2001, In the Paradise area, just above Alta Vista. Notice the rented climbing boots. Although helpful for traction, their purpose is mainly to keep our feet from being soaked on this five hour trek. Immediately above us are the Wilson and Nisqually glaciers.
This photo was taken early on in the hike, elevation approximately 6000'. (Climb started at 5500') The summit of Mt. Rainier, Columbia Crest, rises behind us. Although it looks like it is real close, nothing in the picture indicates that the summit is 12 hours or more away, at 14,410'. The distance in this photo is 4 miles as the crow flies...but the crow can't, because it's almost 2 more miles up. Please scroll down as our hike continues.
6800' -- Crossing the traverse to Panorama Point. In the summer, this is a simple stroll along a path...but in 20' of snow, with 4" added the previous evening, this is a somewhat dicey section of the climb. The wall of ice in the upper right hand side of the photo is the Nisqually glacier. Please scroll down as we climb higher....
We've climbed above Pebble Creek, following a backpacker through the Muir Snowfield. At this point the snow remains year round. This climber is using poles; the photo doesn't do justice to the steepness of this particular rise. Please scroll down....
Allison looking down from just above the same rock pile shown in the photo above. At this point we're well over 7300', and the going gets tough. Way down on the lower snowfield, Sandy and Brynna (visible as tiny specs in the distance) decided to climb up to meet us when we descend, about 15 minutes later. The peaks immediately beyond are the Tatoosh Range, average elevation 6500'. The river in the valley far below, at right, is at 2700' elevation. On the farthest horizon, dead center, obscured by clouds, is the jagged remains of Mt. St. Helens.
7500' plus -- Turnaround for us. After humping up a few more steep snow hills, we're fairly beat. The backpackers continuing on are part of an expedition to the summit. Their destination this day is "Base" Camp, at 10,188 feet. It's still 3 - 4 hours away. They'll spend the night, then leave early AM in the dark for the 6 - 8 hour trek to the Summit. Although it looks like you could just reach out and touch it, consider that from where I took this photo, we're only halfway to the top -- from sea level! The sharply pointed rock, furthest to the right in the photo, is Anvil Rock, elevation 9584'. At 14,410' the summit is still over a mile higher.
Round trip time of our modest little climb was about 5 hours. 3 1/2 up, 1 1/2 down.