In March 2016, I attempted to climb Mt. Rainier with the Männer. Wind, snow, and winter weather kept us at Camp Muir, our base camp.
Today is April 15th, the day to file your income taxes in the United States. Thanks to my fabulous accountant and an automatic two-month filing extension for non-resident citizens, I wouldn't be hurried nor late today except for the fact that my last post to this blog was almost one month ago. The last few weeks since our departure for
The Männer arrived early at our vacation rental. Jet-lagged and exhausted after a long, uneventful flight to Seattle the night before, I was done packing, but I wasn't ready to go.
Ashford, Washington is a small dot on the map 50 miles south of Tacoma and six miles from the Nisqually entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. This sleepy little town at the Mountain's foothills doesn't have a traffic light or a gas station. A post office, two grocery stores, three mountain guiding companies, a half-dozen restaurants, and numerous accommodations litter
A loud, Pacific Northwest rain drumming offbeat on a skylight of the cabin woke me up at 1 am. I was dehydrated, and my body lingered behind in a far away time zone. Forced awake, my mind raced with nervousness. I knew we would have a short, first ascent, but the guides didn't brief us on what to expect. They
I had a restless night in our tent. A mixture of jet lag, altitude, wind noises, and lingering nervousness kept my sleep cycles short. Condensation and poor housekeeping left my feet in a moist layer of water on the floor. Unlike the Männer, I skimped on buying a second mattress. The inflatable one I rented was too short and narrow.
The long, deep howl of gusting wind woke me early in the night. It was 10:30 pm, I was cold, and I had to pee. The thought of getting out of my sleeping bag made me shutter more than I was already shuttering.
Our day began outside the Box. The sky was grey, but it showed no further evidence of the previous night's storm. 22° F (-5° C) and partially cloudy was an excellent way to start the day.
I awoke at 4:30 am. I was ready to make a summit attempt that had already been canceled. With nothing better to do, I turned over, filled my pee bottle, and rearranged the socks and gloves that were drying inside my sleeping bag. I listened to the hard winds that were blowing outside. The temperature had dropped noticeably inside.
Amy Ragsdale writes about taking her kids up the Mountain in Outside Magazine: Coming of Age on Mount Rainier.
One of our RMI guides, Seth Waterfall, talks about the Mountain as a training ground.
We awoke early on our last day at Camp Muir. The temperature was 6° F (-14° C) with a light wind blowing from the northwest. The sky was clear and blue. The clouds and the tension of the last few days had finally lifted. We were heading back to Paradise on a beautiful day, Good Friday, according to the Gregorian
With our arrival in Paradise on Good Friday over one month ago, the Männer and I marked the end of a journey. We had completed our winter seminar with RMI on Mount Rainier.