Hiking Mount Rainier National Park
by Heidi Schneider & Mary Skjelset (Falcon Guides)
© Heidi Schneider & Mary Skjelset/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
I had forgotten how arduous this hike is! My Dad and I are NOT mountain climbers, just run-of-the mill hikers. We rented crampons in Ashford and used them on the Muir Snowfield, and they were very helpful. I HIGHLY recommend using them. Much of the snowfield has melted and is melting, so there are some icy, slushy sections. At one point, we could hear the water rushing underneath the snowfield, and opted to stay near the rock outcrop on the right. It took us 6 hrs. to get up and 3 hrs. to get back down, so it was a pretty long day. We were prepared for cold and white-out conditions with heavy clothing,extra food,and the rest of the 10 essentials, but thankfully had beautiful weather all day and did not need them. I feel a great sense of accomplishment having done this. Don't forget to say hello to the marmots on the way up!
Spectacular hike that from which we couldn't have asked more. Our yearly buddy trip to hike out west took us to Rainier. After a rainy/sleety day on Burroughs Mountain the day before, we awoke to a drizzly day for our Camp Muir trip. However, once we hit 8000 ft., the skies were so blue they hurt your eyes. And, as anyone who has ever made this trip on this kind of day can attest, the view from above the clouds on Mount Rainier is nothing more than breathtaking. The view of the summits of Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens and in the distance Mount Hood sticking up out of the clouds like islands in a milky sea was spectacular.
While the hike was strenuous because of the snow field (with a foot of fresh powder on it from the night before), the altitude and the sheer steepness of the climb, I cannot praise the trip enough. And the "butt sliding" on the way down not only was fun, it was knee/leg saving.
Next time - we take the course and try for the summit!
The trek up to Muir was the first leg of our group's summit attempt. The poor weather had changed our dates and four of our group of seven elected to wait until Saturday morning. Jimmy, Eric and I decided to brave the storm and head out from Paradise Friday morning so that we could rest on Saturday. The rangers had marked the trail plus we had our compass headings and GPS as back ups. We were carrying tents with us but as the storm wore on we were hoping for space in the public shelter. Too much of the great scenery was missed with the poor visibility as I realized later on the descent. I have to mention that I was hauling all of my gear in a great Mountainsmith pack that I won here at Trails.Com! It has become the only pack that I use for mountaineering because it weighs so much less than others and can still haul over 5,000 cubic inches of gear very comfortably. When we topped out at Muir about 2:30 PM we found plenty of room in the shelter and that it was quite comfortable compared to setting up tents in the cold wind. The shelter was still quite cold, about 36 degrees F later that night, but I was very comfortable in the Moonstone down sleeping bag that I won here at Trails.Com. Pretty amazing to win great quality gear that is useful and really works! We spent Saturday hydrating and resting for launching for the Summit at midnight. The views were tremendous as the weather cleared, with Mount Hood, Mount Saint Helens and Mount Adams all in view. I can highly recommend Camp Muir as a destination or as a high camp for a summit bid.
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