Mt. Rainier, Here We Come...
Excerpted from IMG climber Alecia Hoyt's personal blog
It is Friday morning, June 5th, 2009. In about 24 hours we are going to start our climb up Mt. Rainier. The basic schedule is:
- Friday, 2-6pm, orientation and gear check. Super carbalicious dinner and max hydration
- Saturday, 9:30am, start to climb. The climb today is from Paradise at 5400 feet to Camp Muir at 10,188 feet. We have a big dinner and camp out for the night
- Sunday, morning time wake up, spent several hours on skills (crampons, ice axes, ropes and crevasse rescue). Climb approximately 1000 vertical feet to Ingram Flats, have an early dinner. Summit orientation talk and split into groups for the next day. In tent and sleeping by 7pm.
- Monday, awake around 1am, breakfast and start to climb around 2am. We have another 3000-ish vertical feet today to make it to the summit, at 14,410. We should be summiting around 7-8am, hang at the top for a few hours, and then descend 10,000 feet back to Paradise.
We'll be back in Seattle on Tuesday to enjoy a fabulous celebration meal with lots of wine!... Wish me luck!!!
This Big, Fat Mountain
So, most of you know that the crazy idea to climb this big, fat mountain came from my outdoorsy overachieving brother... and that I was crazy enough to sign up with him. Don't get me wrong, I love the outdoors and getting dirty, and I am definitely an adrenaline junky! BUT, I do not love hauling my booty and my 40 lb pack up big hills and mountains.
What I did love:
- All the amazing brother/sister time Ryan and I had.
- The breathtaking views.
- Meeting some really awesome people who were so passionate about what they do (thanks, IMG guides!)
- The sense of accomplishment that came from hauling 35 lbs to a campground on a glacier at over 11,000 feet. Five months ago, I was struggling to haul myself (with no pack) up a 600 foot elevation gain hike in Hawaii.
There are so many photographs that I would like to share. I will include a few of my favorites here... Hey! I hauled my 4 lb camera up there, you are going to see nearly every darn photograph I managed to take with it!
Specializing in Mountaineering, Burritos, and TP
And now of course for my shout-out to International Mountain Guides (IMG) and awesome guides Eric, Max, Karl and Mike! This is the first guided type expedition I have ever gone on, so I don't have much room for comparison, but I'm pretty sure these guys are at the top of the pecking order. A few things that made them so awesome:
- Not only are they hard-core mountaineer dudes who know their stuff, they are also nice guys... they actually like people, and like helping people succeed in getting as high up the mountain as they can.
- Personalized attention... myself and several other expedition members were dealing with a variety of issues, and we all received kindness, patience and caring. Don't get me wrong, no one was holding my hand! But, when I was cramping a bit, Max slowed down and worked through it with me, talked me up to the camp. When John was having major knee issues, Max worked with him patiently the whole way down. Drove the van to pick him up at the bottom of the trail and had an ice pack ready. Mike (or the fast and light f*cker, as I like to call him), escorted a few people who couldn't make it to camp Muir back down the mountain on Saturday. Then he got up Sunday morning and hauled booty up to Ingram Flats so there would be a higher guide-to-client ratio and more people would have the chance to attempt a summit. Eric was our lead guide, and really pushed the head-men back in the office to have Mike come back up, in addition to always making decisions to a)keep us safe and b)get our asses as far up the mountain as possible.
- Food! Not what I expected, for sure. We had multiple hot, fresh meals, including burritos, pancakes and bacon, and pad thai. Plenty of hot water for soup, coffee (I donated some 100% Kona to the cause), hot cocoa, etc.
- Safety. Our lives really were in their hands, and I felt safe with them every step of the way. That is the biggest deal up there, trust me.
- Oh, and they had some extra toilet paper when I ran out (hey, I pee a lot). Thanks guys!
Alecia Hoyt, IMG Climber