We had our gear check this afternoon at the Alpine Ascents offices. All our gear is ready and our packs are stuffed full. We were introduced to some of our guides on this climb and the six other members of our climbing party. Matt Hegeman will be the lead guide and Ben Jones is also joining us as one of the other three guides. You may remember Ben from our Denali Prep Course back in May. He’s fresh back from Denali where he helped guide Team 9 to the summit on June 28. The rest of the guides will be meeting us at the mountain tomorrow. It is a 2-1 climber to guide ratio for this climb. Which seems to be the standard.
Here’s Shelley at gear check with all her gear out in front of her.
Tomorrow morning, Robert is driving us to their office and dropping us off at 6:00 a.m. We’ll all pile into a van and drive up to Mt Rainier to the White River Camp Ground near Sunrise. From there we’ll climb up to our base camp. The first day is a big elevation gain from 4,300 to 8,500. But not nearly as big as summit day when we go from 9,500 to 14,411. The big difference between the two days is the size of the pack. We’re looking at close to 60-lbs on day 1. Day 1 should be a 6-hour climbing day. We’ve trained with 55 lbs, but not for six hours. I’ve been running on the elliptical machine with my 50 – 53 lb pack for an hour a day, so we’ll see how things play out. Shelley’s in great shape as well. This is what we were looking for, a big pack and a long climb. Denali is 14 – 17 days of that. So let’s hope we can handle a couple of days on Rainier. Summit day should be light, maybe around 40-lbs since we are staying on the mountain after the summit and won’t be climbing with our cooking gear, tent or sleeping bag.
You can read about the climb at the Alpine Ascents website. That will give you a good idea of where we are at each day of the climb. We have no idea what time we’ll be back in town, but suffice it so say that it probably won’t be till early evening on Friday night. Hopefully around 6:00 pm. We won’t have any phone or internet coverage till we drive through Enumclaw about two hours or so before we get back to Seattle.
The weather report doesn’t look as good today as it did the last week. They are forecasting thunderstorms in the park on Wednesday and Thursday. Specifically, Wednesday night to Thursday morning (summit night). Great. Temperatures at the summit are in the mid 20’s with winds in the low teens. That’s all good. The thunderstorms could be an issue. You can check the weather forecast at Whittaker Mountaineering’s website.
Our fingers are crossed that this third time will be it.