Mount Rainier – Emmons Glacier
Jul 21, 2017
Jul 24, 2017
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Jul 21, 2017

I’ll start with the sad part of my story from climbing Mount Rainier’s Emmons glacier Route. Due to a long summer of climbing and working with little rest, I managed to lose almost all my photographs. So instead of my usual multi-day format, I am going to keep this one short. I am not into the idea of reliving my lack of photos and memories. Luckily My group mates were willing to share theirs. So a few of the pics you see here are thanks to them.

first view of rainier from the trail
first view of rainier
rainier and little tahoma from white river trail
rainier and little tahoma
meadow near camp in glacier basin on whtite river trail
meadow near camp 1

For our half of the charity climb group, I felt elated to learn that we got to climb the Emmons glacier route on Mount Rainier. Steep and difficult, it seems a good test of my ability to weather many of the larger summits I plan to set foot on one day.

We started the journey off by hiking up the valley to the Glacier Basin campground. The campground is excellent with easy access to water, a simple and easy approach, and a plethora of sites. The easy first day was welcome, and once in camp we practiced rescue techniques, and rope up methods. An absolute blast for anyone into climbing.

rope training glacier basin camp site
rope training
rainier from highway 410 on the drive down
rainier from highway 410
Jul 22, 2017

From Glacier Basin campground, we continued the Emmons glacier route on Mount Rainier via the rough climber’s trail. Close up views of Little Tahoma dominate the day. As you climb the views open up to all the surrounding valleys and peaks. We reached Camp Schurman by late afternoon. After showing our passes we opted to move above the ranger station and camp higher up on the Emmons glacier.

The sites around camp Schurman looked like they fill with haste on a summer weekend. The camp was itself, pretty incredible. While it was nerve-wracking to have my tent on the precipice of an opening crevasse, the view was unbeatable. Plus, pondering the next day’s adventure, quieted my mind and got me into bed ready for whatever came next.

setting up rope teams for the lower glacier
setting up rope teams
starting up the emmons glacier on mount rainier
starting up the glacier
camp schurman ranger station mount rainier
camp schurman
sunset from the emmons glacier
sunset from basecamp
alpenglow on the emmons glacier mount rainier
alpenglow on the emmons glacier
Jul 23, 2017

We woke up at around 1 am on July 23rd to perfect mountaineering weather. Bitter cold (low 20’s), zero wind, a clear sky, and almost no others on the glacier yet. We ate breakfast and started but I could tell our pace for the first hour or so was slow. Either way, once the sun started to rise the mountain became magical.

The sunrise appears to dance across the Emmons glacier and lights up Mount Rainier. Brilliant hues of pink, red, and orange dominated a 10-minute span that felt like an eternity. I could not believe the display I was watching. Photos abounded, spirits rose and our pace quickened.

brandon climbing the emmons glacier at sunrise
climbing the emmons
camp schurman from the emmons glacier
camp schurman from above

The climb itself was far less difficult than I imagined. I had undergone a serious training program for the entire summer that you can find here. I am sure that is why I was one of the more lively climbers in our group.

Reaching the summit is something that I cannot put into words. I still don’t know how to describe it, and every time I see photos I still get some fuzzy feelings. It is worth every step, that I can say. After leaving the summit of Mt Rainier, we were stuck in a few traffic jams while retreating on the Emmons glacier route. As I was in the lead on our way down I got to learn how to make a new trail on a glacier! Freighting, yes, but also 100% fun.

I remember the guide saying “why are you waiting in line, there is a whole glacier to use”. All I did after was nod at my team to follow and began running down the side of the Emmons glacier on Mount Rainier. I was on a pure mountain high and loving every minute of it. I wish I could capture that feeling and put it in my pocket for later.

waterboy on the summit of mount rainier
waterboy on the summit
making water back at camp mount rainier
making water at camp
view north from the emmons glacier on mount rainier
view north from the emmons
rest stop on the way to camp schurman
rest stop
foot of the emmons glacier from glacier basin
looking back toward the climb

Once we arrived back at camp we took the rest of the day to enjoy our accomplishment and imbibe a little. I carried a 22 oz glass bottle up the mountain for my enjoyment, everyone else brought cans. I know I looked like the fool who had to carry the heavy glass bottle back down.

The last day was a simple hike out with a lot of looking back in wonderment. Our entire group of 10 made it without
serious problems, even the guides felt impressed by that.

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