Mount Rainier – Disappointment Cleaver with RMI

This is the story of my climb of the mighty Mount Rainier in Washington state.  Living in Colorado and climbing mountains regularly, I have become quite at home at 14,000 ft.  However, there are a couple of major differences between the Colorado mountains and Rainier, prominence and glaciation.  Standing tall at 14,411 ft,  Mount Rainier is one of North America’s premier mountaineering destinations.  It has the largest system of glaciers in the U.S. outside of Alaska, and is covered with huge crevasses.  Mount Rainier has a topographic prominence of 13,211 ft.  This makes it the most prominent peak in the contiguous United States, and the 21st most prominent peak in the world, beating out K2.
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Pacific Peak East Ridge

The East Ridge of Pacific Peak is a fun easy scramble on solid rock.  The ridge will keep you entertained with a few challenging towers, and plenty of amazing views.  At 13,950 Pacific Peak is one of the highest 13ers, and centennial which makes it a worthwhile objective for peak baggers.

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California Peak

At 13, 849 ft California Peak is the 84th highest peak in Colorado.  This grants it “centennial” status.  We climbed this peak in the late Spring (May).   Via the north ridge route.  This route is described by Gerry Roach as a “classic”.    This gentle giant is nestled in the dramatic and rugged  Sangre De Cristo Range.  The peak is an easy one, however, the spectacular views and solitude are sure to hold your interest.  This is a mountain you should have on your list!!

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Conundrum Hot Springs

Conundrum Hot Springs is a 100 degree pool  near Aspen Colorado, that is situated in a stunning alpine basin at 11,000 feet.   At the hot-springs you stare up at two 14,000 ft peaks (Castle and Conundrum) and a 13er Castlebra.

Our faithful backpacking partners Erik and Steph drove up from Albuquerque to hike back to the springs with us.  Our plan was to camp near the springs Friday and Saturday and climb a peak on Saturday morning.

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Rainier Training

Training

This post is part of a larger series of posts about my climb of Mt Rainier This 3 day climb is very physically demanding, and culminates with a 12-18 hour summit day. RMI stresses that you must come to the mountain in the best shape of your life. I started preparing physically about 8 months before the climb.  You need to be able to keep a pace of 1,000 vertical feet per hour for two days in a row while carrying around 40lbs of gear.   The old marathon axiom “it is easy until it gets hard” holds true here.  That pace should feel pretty easy and relaxed at first.   It is much harder at 14,000ft with 6 hours of climbing behind you. I felt my training plan left me well prepared for my climb.  I was in good enough shape to have fun almost the entire time.  I was very tired at the end, and my feet hurt a lot, but I was not completely exhausted. Continue reading

Rainier Gear List

This post is part of a larger series of posts about my climb of Mt Rainier

It contains a list of the gear that I brought along and used when climbing Mt Rainier.  I have updated the post with information about what I used, and what I liked.

37 lbs of gear

I intend to keep climbing difficult mountains so Rainier provided just what I needed, another excuse to buy more gear.    I found it helpful to know what other climbers use, so I have included a full gear list here.

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