Mt. Rainier (14,410 feet), Washington State

2 Jul 2000 - by Roger Wendell

On Sunday morning, July 2nd, CMC leader John Mill, and his assistant Steve Cleary, led 9 of our 11 member HAMS graduation team to the summit of Rainier. From camp Schurman (9,430+ feet) we departed around 03:00 am after waking to clear, starry skies at 01:30 am. Our route of travel was both the Inter and Emmons Glaciers, having started around 4,300 feet at the White River Ranger Station. (My GPS indicates that there are 1.79 line-of-sight miles between Schurman and the summit - we were delayed about an hour, mid route, due to a change in rope teams).

Summit conditions were clear, extremely windy and cold with Kurt measuring the temperature at about 15 degrees F. Visibility was good in all directions except for the continuous cloud layer covering the state at around the 10,000 foot level. The down climb was relatively quick until we reached the clouds and had to look around for wands until reaching Schurman.

The next day, Monday, required more careful down climbing as a steady snow fell, at times reducing visibility to a rope length. Earlier that morning, between about midnight and 02:00 am, we listened to many teams abandon their plans for a summit attempt because of the weather. We reached the White River Ranger Station in the early afternoon - walking through snow or continuous drizzle the entire way.

In SUMMARY I found the trip to be extremely enjoyable, educational, and inspirational. In some areas the glaciers were so bluish or green that it seemed "otherworldly." Also, our team, for a beginner like me, seemed efficient and cohesive under the expert guidance of both John Mill and Steve Cleary. And finally, no matter how difficult the hike it sure beats a day at the office...


In response to some off list questions:

1. YES, I had LOTS of fun on this Rainier trip!

2. Forgot to mention the FANTASTIC glissade action - I think we did a total of three.

Paul Wilson asks:

Way to go. Its great that HAMS is continuing the annual climb. Nothing like some real glaciers.

Question - did the glacier below Emmonds flat seem very open to the many crevasses or was the snow covering them? Maybe the visibility obscured the view?

Roger Wendell adds:

Ray Meng has given me permission to post his Rainier photos from our CMC HAMS graduation climb on my page at

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