We did it!
On Sunday, July 26th at 6am, our climbing team reached the summit of Mt. Rainier and stood on top of the highest point in the Pacific Northwest. We gazed out through clear skies toward Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood; with Hood piercing the skyline from over 125 miles away in Oregon. We were incredibly fortunate that Sunday morning climb coincided with a lack of inclement weather that had otherwise impacted our team most of the expedition. The success of that ascent shared by all of us who had striven for many months to make that moment possible.
The climb itself started with a beautiful, sunny hike from the 5,000-foot Paradise trailhead up the Muir Snowfield to Camp Muir on Friday afternoon. We briskly covered roughly 5,000 vertical feet in about five hours; according to our guides it was near-record time for a guided expedition. Upon reaching Camp Muir, winds of 35+ mph kicked up and persisted with snow & sleet until the following day. Saturday morning winds died down but fog and freezing rain buffeted our group while we learned rope, iceaxe and crampon techniques in preparation for the hazardous climbs to come. We finished the day with an 1,100-foot climb, our first with ropes and iceaxes, from Camp Muir to High Camp. A few hours later we hopped into our tents at 6pm to rest up for a summit attempt. We woke at 10:30pm Saturday night to clear weather and departed at midnight for the top the mountain. The route to the summit had recently been altered, leading to a lengthier ascent. On that route we had to overcome the rocky Disappointment Cleaver and traverse the icy Ingraham Glacier areas. The 9,000 foot descent from the summit took us roughly 9 hours and most of our group would argue for this being the most challenging part of the trek. Fog and wet snow/sleet through the Muir Snowfield proved especially challenging. The bus waiting for us at Paradise provided a brief moment to reflect before burgers and exhaustion took hold.
We are not done yet! So much of this climb was made possible by the support of all of you, our friends and family, and we want you to share in this success. We will be gathering everyone's addresses in order to send a brief thank you and a team photo for your support over the course of our campaign. We plan to leave the fundraiser open a few more days but after it is closed we will provide an update on our final contribution to the AHA. Thank you all again for your support and encouragement - we would not have summitted without you!
Tom & Chris
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