MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
# #

July 26, 2011

Success on Mount Rainier and Mount Hood!

While Mountain Madness is not one of the main concessionaires permitted to operate year-round in Mt. Rainier National Park, we are fortunate to offer one summit climb during the each summer season. In addition, our Winter CUA permit allows us to ski tour, teach avalanche courses, and train for expeditions in the winter months (Nov to May). This year, we chose the Emmons Glacier route of our usual choice over the Kautz Glacier. In addition to this successful trip, we were asked by a small group of great return clients to arranged a guided climb of a harder snow and ice route on Oregon’s Mt. Hood. Teaming up with Timberline Mtn. Guides, and using their permit, this trip saw our guides heading south to the southern-most volcano in the Cascade Range. Two great trips!

A rope team heading to Rainier's summit. Alasdair Turner photo

Wildlife at Glacier Basin Camp. Alasdair Turner photo

Mount Rainier

"I just got back from a climb of Mount Rainier with Mountain Madness.  It was a return group of folks that I climbed with in Bolivia last year.  The Mt. Rainier climb starts with the drive to Mt. Rainier National Park and then a short hike to the Glacier Basin camp.  We spend the night there and continue up to Camp Sherman the next day.  Although some people choose to climb from the trail head all the way to Camp Sherman the same day the break at Glacier Basin makes for a much more enjoyable hike and an overall better experience.

Danny learning the details of the First Light tent. Alasdair Turner photo

"We got an early start the following morning and headed up the Interglacier to the ridge below Camp Sherman. 

"Once at Camp Sherman we had the option of climbing to the summit the following morning or taking a rest day and heading to the summit the next day.  Given the unstable weather we decided to take a rest day.  

Camp at 4 a.m. Alasdair Turner photo

"The next morning was clear and  cold.  The weather forecast for most of the Puget Sound was for rain.  We were above that rain, so we roped up and headed for the summit. 

Traversing above a crevasse. Alasdair Turner photo

It is always worth taking the time to stop and fix blisters before they get worse.
Guide extraordinaire Jaime doing some blister maintenance. Alasdair Turner photo

"Danny, Margen and Nancy all went to the summit with Jamie.  Rick and I turned around and headed down.

Margen and Nancy drinking tea after climbing Mt. Rainier. Alasdair Turner photo

"The following day we headed down, getting an early start knowing that food, and beer were waiting for us back in town."

- Alasdair Turner


Mount Hood

"We met the group at 8am at the scenic and historic Timberline lodge on the South side of Mt. Hood, home to North America's only year round ski resort.  After a brief gear check we escaped the craziness of ski camps on the south side of the mountain to the perfectly clear skies and the long hike in. There was a lot less snow than in the North Cascades and it was a pleasant surprise to hike on dirt instead of snow for a significant portion of the hike. 

Mt. Hood. Ian Nicholson photo

"We started at around 3,400 feet and walked up a large moraine above the Cloud Cap Inn and dropped onto the lower Elliot Glacier at around 6,500 feet. We ascended the glacier to another moraine separating the Elliot Glacier from the Coe Glacier around 7,800 feet. It was a long, hard day with an over-4,000-foot gain, but it meant we wouldn't have to move camp again for the rest of our trip. 

Practicing crevasse rescue. Ian Nicholson photo

"We slept in the next morning and had a nice large pancake breakfast. We reviewed snow anchors, ice axe usage and various crevasse rescue techniques. On our third day, we conducted a steep snow climbing school, focusing on ice axe usage and foot work. The group hiked over to the west side of the Elliot Glacier icefall to put our crevasse rescue techniques into practice! As a result, each person got the chance to be lowered into a creavsse; a scary idea, but an amazing experience nonetheless! We finished up with a newer crevasse rescue technique, Team C, that allows the victim to be extracted in less than five minutes. 

Beautiful alpine start. Ian Nicholson photo

"We went to bed early in preparation for a very early morning. We were grateful for a trip full of perfect weather conditions, and were happy to see the conditions holding when we awoke on the morning of July 4th. At 1 a.m. the stars and the Milky Way filled the sky with not a cloud in sight. We departed camp, leaving our tents and stoves for a mountain guide "load hauler" to pick up and meet us on the other side, saving us the pain of carrying the weight up and over.

Traversing off the summit. Ian Nicholson photo

"The sun hit us just as we got to the steep, 50-degree section of the climb that led us to a large maze of crevasses to weave through. The crux of the route, a short 10-foot tall section of vertical ice climbing, challenged the team as they put their new skills to test. Five more pitches of 40-55 degree Neve and we reached the first flat section in 3 hours. As we ascended the final exposed ridge, we encountered parties asking "Did you really come from that side?" as they looked down the incredibly steep North Face - over 1,000 feet of exposure on both sides. Our group proudly answered "yes, and we haven't seen anyone in days!"

Close to the summit! Ian Nicholson photo

"We hung out on the summit for 45 minutes, enjoying the sun and watching other climbers enjoying their 4th of July. The descent was quite a change from complete isolation to joining the mass crowd of climbers. However, we appreciated the shorter descent and we were all happy to arrive in our new camp with our tents and stoves already set up!"

- Ian Nicholson

The group at the summit! Ian Nicholson photo