- Melissa Arnot
- Alex Barber
- Gabriel Barral
- Jake Beren
- Zeb Blais
- Katrina Bloemsma
- Katie Bono
- Anne Gilbert Chase
- Sean Collon
- Leon Davis
- Elias de Andres Martos
- Cody Doolan
- Paul Edgren
- Mark Falender
- Leah Fisher
- Eric Frank
- Steve Gately
- Josh Gautreau
- Thomas Greene
- Casey Grom
- Dave Hahn
- Walter Hailes
- Tim Hardin
- Mike Haugen
- Bryan Hendrick
- Andy Hildebrand
- Mike Hinckley
- Joe Horiskey
- Nick Hunt
- Tyler Jones
- J.J. Justman
- Levi Kepsel
- Mike King
- Adam Knoff
- Katy Laveck
- Ben Liken
- Josh Maggard
- Paul Maier
- Linden Mallory
- Lindsay Mann
- Andres Marin
- Jeff Martin
- Erik Nelson
- Chase Nelson
- Billy Nugent
- Brent Okita
- Logan Randolph
- Tyler Reid
- Dave Reynolds
- Kel Rossiter
- Geoff Schellens
- Shaun Sears
- Garrett Stevens
- Jason Thompson
- Mike Tomlinson
- Mark Tucker
- Mike Uchal
- Pete Van Deventer
- Alex Van Steen
- Ed Viesturs
- Maile Wade
- Mike Walter
- Seth Waterfall
- Solveig Waterfall
- Peter Whittaker
- Win Whittaker
- Bryson Williams
- Dan Windham
- Robby Young
Posts from 07/2012
RMI Guide Katie Bono completed a speed ascent of Mt. Rainier on July 24th, ascending from the Paradise Parking Lot to the summit of Mt. Rainier and returning to Paradise in 4:58. Her ascent is believed to be the fastest ascent of Mt. Rainier by a female climber. Here, Katie describes her climb:
I first thought of doing a speed ascent on Rainier late in the summer of 2011. I started guiding with RMI that summer and spent plenty of time that year carrying heavy loads up the Muir snowfield as quickly as possible. I come from a cross-country ski racing background and I raced professionally for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, the Rossignol Factory Team, and Dartmouth College before that. I quit ski racing in 2011 but soon realized that I missed the feeling of pushing myself hard and finding my limits. As a result, this summer I found myself thinking about a speed attempt more frequently. It seemed like a cool way to push myself in a way I hadn’t before. When I first started thinking about it, I was planning for something in the sub-7:00 range. As a way to test the waters, I did a hike up the Muir Snowfield in early July trying to simulate a manageable pace to the summit and ended up with a time of 1:36. My time for running back down the Muir Snowfield was 38 min, including a stop to chat with friends. After that, I sat down, did the math, and figured that if I could do 1:45 to Camp Muir (elevation gain of ~4600’), 1:45 from Camp Muir to the summit (~4400’), 1:00 back to Camp Muir, and 0:30 to Paradise, I could do it in 5 hours. The big questions were:
1. Whether I could maintain pace all the way up to 14k of altitude and 3.5 hours of uphill hiking, and
2. If taking an hour to get from the summit to Camp Muir would feel at all unsafe. I didn’t want to do the climb recklessly - it was just a fun and unique challenge.
The next step was figuring out my gear plan. Fortunately, I’ve had a very full schedule on Rainier this summer, and as a result, I had lots of time to think about logistics at Camp Muir while trying to fall asleep at 6:00 P.M. I decided the best plan would be to wear running shoes, specifically a pair of shoes with built-in gaiters I had lying around. I would wear YakTrax to Camp Muir and up to around 12,000. After that, the route gets steep enough and snowy enough that I would don aluminum strap-on crampons over my running shoes. I checked out the forecast for the summit and used my experience from ski racing to figure out clothing strategies for racing hard in the cold - I would wear lightweight climbing pants, a base layer top, a super-lightweight hooded down jacket, and belay gloves as my layering system. I also decided to bring along some gels and sports drink in a water belt.
When the day came, I woke up groggy and sleep-deprived. I had picked up my boyfriend and fellow RMI guide at the airport the previous evening and hadn’t gotten back to Ashford until the wee hours. Driving up the road to Paradise in the morning, I realized I forgot both my YakTrax, and my sunscreen. Oh well, you only live once. So I kept on driving up. I got out of the car, tuned my iPod to some electronic music, and was off and running (or, more precisely, rest-stepping). It was a beautiful morning, and perfect for climbing. I had picked that day for good weather and good route conditions - the Disappointment Cleaver route is fast, direct, and reasonably safe right now so all systems were a go. I started off around 6 a.m. so I could hit the snow conditions just right for ideal ascending and descending. Having climbed the route two days prior, I had a solid sense of how to time it. The lack of YakTrax turned out to be not an issue - the snow was just grippy enough to make it work.
I reached Camp Muir at 1:38 on the timer, grabbed my crampons that I had cached earlier (and convinced some friends to set out for me), and dropped down onto the Cowlitz Glacier. The next big hurdle was climbing the Disappointment Cleaver. The whole way up, I had been walking at a very high cadence to minimize fatigue, but the rockiness of the Cleaver made it pretty much impossible to do that and it was a difficult stretch. After the Cleaver, the upper mountain was a haze of looking alternately at my feet, the rate of ascent function on my watch, and at the remainder of the mountain to climb. I hit the crater rim at 3:30 on the time, sprinted (a.k.a. walked) across the crater rim over to Columbia Crest, did a quick gaze around the whole panorama of the Cascades, and headed down. The crampons gave me just enough purchase to feel very safe running downhill, and I made it back to Camp Muir about 45 minutes after reaching the summit. I passed the RMI groups on the way down, and they offered to radio the crew at Camp Muir to get out some Gatorade and baby wipes for me (the most uncomfortable part of the climb, hands down, was the massive salt deposits on my face. However, they possibly helped prevent the outrageous sunburn I somehow avoided).
After reaching Muir, I had 35 minutes to get back down to Paradise, but I was starting to falter. I sprinted down through the sun cupped snow, trying not to fall with all my stabilizer muscles maxed to their limit and hit the trail leading back to Paradise. At this point I was looking at my watch, fairly convinced that I was going to get to the parking lot just over 5 hours. And, not that stuff like that really matters, but it’s somehow infinitely more satisfying to dip just under than just over. So I focused in, tried not to terrify too many tourists with my mad dash, and reached the bottom of the steps at Paradise at 4:58:41. I stumbled around glassy-eyed in the parking lot for a while, and then drove back home to get ready to climb the next day. All in all, it was a great climb — I definitely surpassed my own expectations, and it was incredibly fun to be able to do it with the cheering and good vibes of all the other people on the route that day going for their own summits.
Mark Tucker checking in from High Camp, Kilimanjaro. It is very breezy but hopefully that will change. We are in clear skies. We have a sea of clouds below us. The route looks like it’s in pretty good shape. May need a little bit of luck with the weather. The team is all together up here. And you know, we’re doing okay. There is the typical this, that and the other thing, but so far so good. So we got our fingers crossed and we have a great group of support team with our local staffing and an early, early dinner. The sun is just setting or we’re gonna crawl into the tents for a 5-hour nap and then we’re gonna hop on up and get goin’. Hopefully the next call will be from the summit, if I get the chance. So we will be checking in sooner than later. Thanks for checking in with us as well.
RMI Guide Mark Tucker checks in from High Camp
On The Map
I don’t mean to brag. I don’t mean to boast. I like jelly on my breakfast toast and I also like every team member on the summit of Mt. Elbrus, which is where we are right now and I’ll tell you what, the team did a fantastic job today. We have beautiful weather. About a 15 mph wind on top to keep us cool. But I’ll tell you what the team hung in there, it was a long day climbing and everyone has their feet on the summit, up here on Europe’s highest mountain, Mt. Elbrus. Thank you guys so much for following along and we will touch base with you when we get down. We still have a little bit of work to do so we’re drinking some water, eating a little snack, and take some photos, and then we’re gonna do the really kind of the hardest part to be honest, which is getting down but everyone is doing fantastic. We’ll touch base with all of you later. Ciao from Russia.
JJ Justman from the Mt. Elbrus Summit
On The Map
RMI Guides Win Whittaker and Seth Waterfall topped Mt. Rainier in very calm winds and beautiful skies. The teams checked in at 7:15 a.m. and had already began their descent from the crater rim. With the cloud layer just below Paradise, they have been enjoying the view since sunrise and the weather should stay in their favor as the sun continues to shine upon them.
Congratulations to today’s teams!
Today is our rest day in final preparation for our summit attempt of Mt. Elbrus. To fight the boredom we spent some time this morning going over some mountaineering techniques. Some of the team are putting the finishing touches on our summit packs while others are relaxing watching the movie “Step Brothers”.
We received an updated weather forecast and it has remained the same. Tonight and tomorrow is calling for clear skies with increasing clouds mid day. Basically, the weather has me smiling. So keep your fingers crossed and wish us luck. The team is doing great and we will give a call from the summit.
JJ checks in as the team prepares to start their summit bid.
On The Map
Mark Tucker checking in from Mt. Kilimanjaro 12,826’ at Karanga Camp. We had an ascent of the Barranco Wall today. More fun than fear. We have some great photos, that I can’t wait to see. The Karanga Camp is situation a bit on a hillside so we had to get creative with our extra clothing to buffer up some of the slope. Hopefully, it is not going to take away from a good night’s rest. Everybody is pretty fired up for, really the start of the ascent, tomorrow morning. We will move up to our high camp, spend a few hours of rest and then begin our climb tomorrow evening, early, early morning.
We experienced intermittent clouds and a high of about 65 degrees today, cool, but not bad, reasonable weather. We have a good view of the upper mountain from our camp here right now. At times in the clouds, but a bright half moon above us and the team is doing well. Wishing you were all here. Maybe next time.
We’ll check in tomorrow.
RMI Guide Mark Tucker checks in from Karanga Camp on Kilimanjaro.
On The Map
The Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guide Mike Walter reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning. RMI Guide Brent Okita also led his team on the Expedition Skills Seminar - Paradise to the summit. The teams reported clear skies and a beautiful day.
Both teams will descend to Camp Muir and then continue down to Paradise later this afternoon.
Congratulations to today’s teams!
Mark Tucker checking in from the Barranco Camp, situated at 12,992’ on Mt. Kilimanjaro. We had great conditions for our hike today. Sunny and a little bit of clouds down in the low lands. Our conditions were just perfect. Everyone on the team, except for myself, had record breaking altitudes. We got up to 15,272’ was our high point and then descended back to his camp at 12,900’.
It is a wonderful night out. A little breezy, clear and lots of stars. A half moon is illuminating quite a bit of snow cover up there on the summit, not the true summit but up to about 18,500’. A really pretty night tonight, that we are all enjoying.
We had a birthday celebration, one of our team members Carlos, turned 50 today. So, we had a cake, candles and the local staff did a sing-song and a beautiful red-rose covered card all signed by the team. He had quite a day.
We are staring at the Barranco Wall which is our challenge in the morning. It is more intimidating than the actual effort it takes to climb it. It is usually one of the more fun parts of the whole climb. [Call connection lost]
Well, checking back in had a dropped call there. On a satellite phone here so sometimes it does that.
The team wanted to give a shout out a big “hello” to everyone back home. Everyone is doing just fine. Rumor has it there have been some comments made to the Blog site which we are unable to check. But we look forward to taking a look at them when we get back to some computer access. Much appreciated by everybody sending their best wishes. Thanks for following. We will be in touch.
RMI Guide Mark Tucker checks in from Barranco Camp on Kilimanjaro.
RMI Guide Mark Tucker - Part 2.
On The Map
RMI Guides Peter Whittaker and Ed Viesturs led a team of climbers to the summit of Mt. Rainier morning. The Four Day Summit Climb July 23 - 26 led by RMI Guides Casey Grom and Lindsey Mann also reached the top today.
Both teams reported light winds and a beautiful day. The climbers will descend to Camp Muir and then continue down to Paradise later this afternoon.
In the North Cascades, RMI Guides Andres Marin, Eric Frank and Geoff Schellens led their team to the summit of Forbidden Peak. All team members reached the summit yesterday. They will break camp and descend to the trail head today.
Congratulations to the summit teams!
We are back from our acclimatization to 15,165 feet on Mt. Elbrus. The team got a closer look at the route. And more importantly, they were able to work out some of the nervous jitters that come from the unknown.
Today’s climbing up to Pastuhkova Rocks is very similar to the climbing we will face on summit day. The slopes aren’t flat but they are also not overly steep. Nice and relaxed is how I’d define them…just like our team.
Speaking of our team, they are doing fantastic. Everyone is working well together which should make summit day safer, more successful and more fun.
We are back at our camp relaxing in the sunshine. Tomorrow is our rest day. However, we will check in and give you an update on what the weather has in store for us on our summit day, which should be Saturday.
On The Map
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