It's only been 3 days since I got off Mt Rainier after a successful climb up the Kautz Route and now I'm already back in Ashford getting ready to do it all over again on Liberty Ridge, the imposing route on the north face of the mountain.
My climb up the Kautz Route seems trivial after reading and hearing the updates of the recent climbs on Everest, but still, Mt Rainier is a big, serious mountain and she does not give up her summit easily. Or at least that was the case last week.
It takes 4 days to complete the Kautz Route, with summit day being the 3rd day. Our summit day was a tough one - other teams turned around on easier routes, and only two out of seven of our climbing party (excluding guides) made the summit. Temperatures were at about -20C on the summit, visibility was poor and the winds strong. I climbed with IMG and our lead guide, Justin Merle, who has been to the top of Rainier 96 times after this recent climb, said it was one of the most difficult climbs he has done.
I hope you enjoy the photos. Maybe they will also inspire you to make the trip out here for a climb on Rainier....
Tomorrow morning I join up with two other climbers and two guides (including Justin) for our six-day attempt on Liberty Ridge. Very few climbers summit Mt Rainier via Lib Ridge, due to the steepness of the route, the challenging approach through the crevassed Carbon Glacier and the ever volatile Rainier weather. Right now the forecast is saying unsettled weather throughout the week, but hopefully it will hold out enough for us to get up and down safely. If conditions don't allow for us to summit on day 4 of the expedition, we have two days up our sleeve so if need be we can sit it out at high camp and wait for the weather to improve. I am looking forward to climbing on the north side of the mountain and to the challenge of climbing over 6000feet on a technical, steep route. Should be a lot of fun.
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings...