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Clarence Norment returns to Rainier with his daughter Charlotte 40 years after his first climb for her first attempt

Words by Clarence Norment:

I’ve been climbing Rainier for a long time – 40 years to be exact! I first climbed with Wilderness Ventures, through RMI, in 1982 when I was 16. Since then, I’ve climbed 4 additional times – in ’96 with my late wife Mary Elisa on a cross-country trip right after we got married, in ’97 on a 5-day Muir skills seminar, in 2012 with Casey Grom, and in 2017 with a group of seven friends on a team led by Jess Matthews! This time around, I brought my daughter, Charlotte, who has wanted to climb ever since she was little, but had to wait until she was old enough! She’s heading into her senior year in high school, which is exactly when I first climbed. So this is a really cool full circle experience for us. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have some awesome experiences with RMI, led by some amazing guides: John Day and Craig Van Hoy back in the 80s, George Dunn and Phursumba in ’96, Jeff Witherspoon in ’97, Casey in 2012, and Jess Matthews in 2017.

16 year old Clarence on the way to Camp MuirClarence and Mary Elisa in 1996Clarence and RMI Guide Casey Grom

Charlotte and I had an AWESOME climb with Nikki. The summit wasn’t in the cards this time around, but we did get to the top of the DC and had an incredible experience – and got back down safe and sound, which is always key! It was the first time I haven’t summitted, and my joke at the post-climb celebration was that it took me forty years and 6 tries to finally get a “Certificate of Accomplishment”! In all seriousness, I really am proud of this climb. Charlotte absolutely crushed it and was super strong – she would’ve continued on if I had – and I think the fire has been lit in her to make this a part of her life now, too. We’ll absolutely be back again, and my other two kids, Elena (20) and Clay (15) were very envious of Charlotte and are wanting to climb now too – so mission accomplished!

The team in 2017

Clarence and Charlotte at Ingraham Flats on the descentCharlotte is all smiles about her first Rainier sunrise

It has been such an amazing 40-year history, and having my daughter climb with me this time brought things full circle. She reminded me of myself when I climbed at her age – no fear whatsoever!


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