Mount Rainier - Emmons Glacier, June 2001
Mount Rainier and the massive Emmons Glacier as seen from the Crystal Mountain South-back.

This is yet another chapter in the I failed on Mt. Rainier again saga. Sowing the seeds of failure was a marginal weather forecast - Saturday would be nice, but windy with increasing clouds early on Sunday. To make matters worse, a certain member of our climbing party posessed a level of mountaineering experience and conditioning that fell far short of expectations. Accompanying me on this exercise in futility were Don, Nick (a first-timer on the mountain) and Doug. Ultimately, it was Doug who wanked with his big talk and frustratingly slow pace.

Don and I left early on a Friday afternoon and met up with Nick and Doug at the Sunrise Ranger Station. This was my first time on the northeast side of the mountain and as such was a welcome change from the usual gong show at Paradise. I enjoyed the short scenic hike up to our first camp in Glacier Basin. (Photos: NR, SV)

Click thumbnails below to enlarge...
Approaching Inter Glacier
Approaching the base of Inter Glacier the following morning. Blue sky started poking through and it looked as though the weather would hold.
Resting on Inter Glacier
We stopped for a rest on what appeared to be a former camp site on the Inter Glacier. The clouds rolled in and out but did not appear particularly threatening. Nick, Don and Doug - from left to right.
Looking at St. Elmo Pass
Looking down Inter Glacier towards St. Elmo Pass and the route to the Carbon Glacier and Liberty Ridge.
Nick at Camp Curtis
Nick takes in the views from Camp Curtis.
Cooking dinner
Cooking dinner at Camp Curtis. We relaxed in what was to be the last of the sunshine.
Little Tahoma
Little Tahoma as seen across the lower Emmons Glacier. The Emmons is one of the largest glaciers in the lower 48, second only to the Boston Glacier in the North Cascades perhaps.
Camp Schurman
Camp Schurman...the tent city within pissing distance from the top of Steamboat Prow.
Emmons Glacier
Looking up at the Emmons Glacier.
Sunrise over the Stuart Range.

We awoke at around 12:00 that night and took an eternity to get ready. Doug was impossibly slow and voluntarily untied himself from our rope following Don's continued urging that he pick up the pace. Nick, myself and Don made it to 11,600ft before stopping for a rest. Nick was looking quite ill at this point and was clearly not able to keep going for much longer. The wind was howling and we were all getting really cold. Don was concerned with our slow progress and didn't want to risk stepping over weakening snowbridges on what was likely to become a late afternoon descent. We had lost a lot of time before Doug clipped out and with Nick's condition and the worsening weather, retreat seemed like a wise thing to do.
Descending the Emmons
Descending the Emmons. Steamboat Prow is visible below Don. The weather started getting nasty and we were quite happy not to be stuck farther up on the mountain. We waited it out for several hours at camp, but the weather only deteriorated further. We resolved to go home, and did so in the pouring rain. What fun! The next attempt...
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