d_baker wrote: ↑
Sat Jan 02, 2021 7:25 pm
bloftin, sorry for the thread drift! I hope you find some partners and good luck on Rainier! Which route are you looking at?
No worries! It was surprising, though it probably shouldn't have been given the forum's recent history. We haven't set anything in stone yet, but possibly DC. Thanks for the Pete Lardy with Pikes Peak Alpine School suggestion. I'll look into that.
pvnisher wrote: ↑
Sat Jan 02, 2021 9:30 pm
Are the guiding companies going to be running trips in the summer?
There's definitely some forced close contacts among clients.
Maybe they've figured some ways out around it, it's mainly the shelter/tent and meal times.
I've done it in June, July, and September, and think mid July was my favorite, and higher likelihood of success, if you can select those dates.
I haven't checked with the main companies. I've been considering an individual (Ricardo Pena, https://www.alpineexpeditions.net/index.html
) who has done Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, the 50 state high points, attempted Everest twice (earthquakes and avalanches first time, 80+ mph winds above 26k ft second time), and has guided 50+ times on Orizaba, several on Aconcagua, and many times on other mountains. I'll see if he has availability in July.
Was July your favorite because of better weather?
nyker wrote: ↑
Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:34 am
Sounds like fun. Check with the outfits though for availability. Many of the 2021 trip dates for Rainier climbs are sold out already from the main companies (RMI, AA, IMG, etc.) so if you're keen on doing it with one of them, get your name on a wait list now. I'm sure some cancellations will happen.
Also be prepared to have the trip cancelled due to COVID, they're all playing it by ear. Given the current environment, they appear to have made some changes, like not offering meals, no group transportation included, individual tents etc. I assume Camp Muir will have some social distancing guidelines put in and that climber hut probably closed. Not sure how they will modify the dynamics of rope teams since when on a rope team like that you often will be pretty close to one another around some transition points, adjusting gear etc.
For the other comments on going unguided - that *could* be a good option to consider - if you and your chosen teammates are each comfortable with rope/knot work, setting anchors, crevasse rescue, wanding, moving through avalanche prone terrain are all appropriately fit/acclimatized and could each act as a capable leader on a team if things go south, then this is an option to consider. If you are not comfortable doing any of those items or there is a weaker link that won't be able to really act as an asset on the climb, then use a guide.
Rainier is a mountain with two personalities; on a good day with good weather and stable conditions, you can get up and down in one long push like a 14er with 3-4k extra vertical gain (Rainier has about 9k vert). Folks only seeing that side of the mountain will be lulled in to a complacency. On most other days you'll have to deal with less then perfect weather, possibly whiteouts, very strong wind often quite cold as it blows across glacial ice, shifting crevasses, seracs, rock and icefall and navigation and probably some fear and confusion in bad conditions. Navigation might not be as simple as your iphone app on a 14er - even on the "easier" DC/ID routes, the route changes as a function of terrain, crevasses, snowfall etc. so blindly following a .gpx generated route could have you walking into a new crevasse or stumble onto a blocked route where a huge block of ice now sits. Recent snow may thinly hide cracks. In a stretch of good weather you might have a trench from the guided teams, assuming they have been up that week, but those teams might not look upon it favorably if you are poaching their efforts in the same trench.
Thanks for all the info - I appreciate it. I have minimal experience with the above, so I'm definitely leaning toward guided.
cottonmountaineering wrote: ↑
Sun Jan 03, 2021 12:28 pm
just FYI to OP - rainier has unpredictable weather up until early July, its more likely than not in June not to have a weather window on any given day
Thanks for the tip. I'll see if the guide I'm looking at has availability in July, and check out Darin's Pete Lardy suggestion as well.
It sounds like May might have bad weather, July might be icier (?), August has lengthening crevasses, and June might still have not the best weather. Might be a trade off no matter which month, but June or July might be best? Weather seems like a pretty big factor that you can't really control, so having a few days window when there's generally better weather might be a good idea.