Mt. Rainier July 2014

Mount Rainier – Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

I have mentioned before how important goal setting is especially with having sustained a QTR injury. Well my next goal/adventure is to check off another bucket list item that is located right in my back yard. Namely to summit Mt. Rainier which is just a few hours from were I live here in Seattle Washington.

Now, I have been on Mt. Rainier quite a few times over the years weather it was via just a quick hike around Paradise or snow showing around the area, but what made me want to climb this beauty was due to something a bit more personal. You see I had spent new years eve at a cabin that my best friend had rented for a bunch of us to celebrate at. The very next day had presented amazing weather conditions perfect for snowshoeing on the mountain. Once I got my gear on I started racing through the snow on Rainier and was having a fricken blast. Little did I know that just one week later I wouldn’t be racing through the snow let alone be walking even. Yes! Just one week later I would become somewhat paralyzed.

My bilateral quad injury made me want to re-visit Mt. Rainier and not only just snowshoe around it, I wanted to summit it once and for all. I have been talking to it with several of my hiking friends who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with me back in 2011, but nothing ever came about it. So this injury made me aware again of how badly I wanted to summit Rainier.

 

My 5 day Rainier climb is scheduled for July 5-9 which is less than a wee away and I am super excited. I am using RMI as my guide service and have been training as hard and as much as much as I have been able to. For the last 3 months or so I have been doing weekly training hikes on Saturdays. I started getting my legs back in shape for distance walking so I hiked Boulder River first to get my hiking legs back. This is a wonderful hike with many beautiful waterfalls right next to the hike. Truly spectacular if I have to say. It doesn’t have much of an elevation gain but being an 8 miler was a good intro hike for the season.

The next hike that followed was Mount Dickerman located near the Ice Caves off of the Mountain Loop Highway. Dickerman proves as a great hike for it offers over 8 miles  round trip, plenty of elevation gain, and stunning views. However me and my girlfriend got turned around due to snow conditions a month prior and this would be the case for this attempt as well. So I decided to call it a day by not having reached the summit and come back another time and try it again for the third time.

Hiking Mount Dickerman with my two 
Fermosan Mountain Dogs.

The third training hike was the infamous Mailbox Peak which is an ass kicker. Not being a necessarily long hike Mailbox puts you in your place for being extremely steep. You gain almost 1500 feet per mile and the trail has tons of exposed roots and rocks making it difficult for easy foot placement like other trails.

 

Me and my best-est buddy ‘Chase’ at the top of Mailbox Peak.

My next stop for a training hike was Mount Pugh which was my second time at attempting this bad boy. Pugh is an all around amazing training hike in my opinion because it offers many elements that you will encounter on Mount Rainier. You have quite a lengthy hike/climb at around 11 miles round trip. Your elevation gain is 5300 feet and the highest point being around 7200 feet. You will definitely run into snow and some technical climbing gear is essential like an ice ax and mini crampons (micro spikes).

 

With conditions having turned favorable this time around, I decided to try Mount Dickerman once more for the third time. The weather was perfectly sunny and I had brought all the gear needed that I spaced on bringing the last time. Being that it was another month or so between the last time I tried this hike, much snow has melted making the summit very reachable.

Once the summit was reached I was amazed on how truly spectacular the views really were. I mean you always read about reviews and such, but this time it really took my breath away once on top of the summit. There were only around 8 other people at the top making this an even more enjoyable experience. Not that I have a thing about crowds on top of the hill, but there is something to be said when it’s very secluded and you just feel one with the mountain.

Summit success on the third try.

The final training hike that I wanted to take on was to do Camp Muir this past Saturday, but I came down with a terrible head cold on Friday, that I decided to rest and get better for my climb next week. Much time, effort, and money has been spent for this Rainier climb so I don’t want to jeopardize it by being sick. I’m still fighting this nasty head cold but I should be close to a 100% by this coming Saturday. I will update my progress and share if I successfully reached the summit once internet access is available. Until then take care and peace out.

UPDATE – 3/2016 


I unfortunately wasn’t able to make the Rainier climb and summit as I got a very serious sinus infection that got progressively worse. I had to make the difficult decision to cancel my climb and get better, but I will schedule another climb either this year or in 2017. Rest assured that I will summit this beautiful mountain sooner than later.

 

 

About the author: Steven Gartner

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