Mount Rainier - Disappointment Cleaver, August 2001
With relatively short notice, Ben hopped on a plane from San Diego for the opportunity to once and for all summit Mt. Rainier with me. I picked him up from the airport after work and drove to the Ohanapecosh Campground within the national park. The following morning we discussed our options with the park ranger. We had intended to climb the Fuhrer Finger route. However, it was in poor condition and we would have to navigate the lower Nisqually Glacier in a whiteout. Not having had any experience on the Nisqually Glacier before, we opted to climb the relatively straight forward DC route (AKA the 'Al Gore route'). Besides, by this point, we were desperate for success. After a huge breakfast at the Paradise Inn, we packed up and set off for Camp Muir.
We arrived at camp Muir and got to the task of setting up camp utilizing a spot that was already partially dug out when we arrived. Afterwards Ben took advantage of the perfect weather and worked on his tan. We woke at around 12:00 that night. Ben wasn't feeling too hot...must have had something to do with the sleeping pills he took. I also had a bit of a headache from all the whiskey I consumed a few short hours earlier. I'm not quite sure what took us so long, but we started our climb just before 2:00am. We made good time until we got onto the cleaver and had to wait-out the usual RMI traffic. Fortunately, we were well above the cleaver by the time the sun began to rise. The expansive summit crater had to be crossed in order to reach the true summit. It was a little windy up on top but it wasn't unbearable. And then...Finally! After seven attempts no less!! Paradise could be seen way down below while Mount Adams rose prominently from the horizon. Beautiful! (more...)
Click here to view photos.