Great weather, awesome views and an amicable peak – Mt. Rainier Climb

Rainier-Route

Last weekend (Aug 6-7, 2011), I summited Mt. Rainier through the Emmons glacier. We had the best weather I have seen on the mountain so far, the views as usual were stunning and the company (Melissa, Jim & Heidi) was joyous!  What better way to spend a weekend, yeah? But wait there is more … I was climbing to support the cause of Asha for Education and fund-raise! In addition to our rope team three more Asha team rope teams summited Rainier! Kudos to all the climbers and the cause!

A little bit about the climb..

We started about 4am on Saturday from Seattle. After getting our permits we got to the White pass trail head around 8am. The glacier basin trail has been remarkably improved, thanks to all the trail volunteers. It felt like a highway! We chomped a wrap and called it lunch around 11am just before we started ascending the inter glacier. We got to Camp Schurman after an itchy scramble around 2pm.

Thanks to the rangers we had a shovel available in the snow-cave to fetch some good snow to start the long process of melting liters of water to be consumed! Given the heavy snow conditions this year there was no running water around. After a hot mountain meal and some hot chocolate we headed to bed around 7pm with the pact to do a summit push around mid-night.

Random assortment of tents at Camp Schurman

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Mt. Rainier – – Climbing with Asha and for an Asha (hope)!

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On Aug 21-22, I’ll attempt to climb Mt. Rainier with Team Asha. Through the season the Team has really prepared hard to make this a successful and enjoyable climb! All the familiar faces and a very familiar cause! Please support the climbers and the cause!

The Cause?

I have climbed Rainier in 2006, 2009 with a different causes – ranging from personal to helping Mayaboli school.  I’m continuing the same causes this time but also helping a tiny bit in making other climbers succeed in their personal and benevolent goals!

I’m looking forward to amazing weather, a great team and fun times! I get to use my climber’s pass again this season!

Support

Click here to donate

Mt. Rainier – Kautz: Tricky, DC: Red Tape, Time Spent: Awesome!

This weekend myself, Rob and Sumeet tried an attempt up Mt. Rainier (14410 ft!). Now Rob is an experienced climber, I’m relatively newb and Sumeet just learnt to do ice axe arrest last week :). Anyways, we thought that Kautz route would be do-able since the conditions were awesome!

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Pic 1. Geared up to 40+ pounds :).

We got there bright and early on Saturday and got a permit for Kautz route!

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Pic 2. Permit =  good to climb Rainier for a year!

We started from the parking lot at about 9am.

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Pic 3. Rob geared up!

Our plan for Kautz was to drop in to Nisqually glacier then go up the Wilson and camp near camp Hazard (11,500 ft). To give an idea there were about 200 people on the standard DC route and 10 on Kautz. Two parties of 5 and 2, just ahead of us. :).

Turns out that we over simplified the terrain and got carried away with good weather :). As soon as we dropped in to Nisqually glacier from a steep slope we realized that we weren’t prepared for the steepness ahead of us. As I plunged stepped down cautiously, Sumeet behind me took a tumble and got to practice his newly learnt ice axe arrest technique. I’m still amazed how fearless he is and always ready to go new and exciting stuff, while I’m a bit on the timid side :).

We regrouped on the glacier and decided that we will do Kautz some other day and may try and scoot over to Camp Muir and see if we can make our way through the standard DC route. It was already about 11am so kind of late to go try Emmons.

We hauled our selves up to Camp Muir and got there around 3pm. Our goal was to try and get to Ingraham flats and camp there so that we can get start ahead of the crowds. Turns out a ranger was meticulously taking a toll, we explained him our story and requested if we can scoot on this route instead of Kautz. He was really helpful and told us that higher camp is difficult but he will try and find a place for us at Camp Muir. Well 15 minutes later he told us that there are simply just too many people on the route and they had to turn some people back from the ranger stations. With over 200 people on the route it was best of us to come and try some other day :(. We didn’t push too hard, and decided to cook our meals at Camp Muir and head down.

It was perfect T-Shirt weather, I could even take off my shirt! We cooked some pineapple curry, chana Masala and had a party! We even offered some of our awesome food to few colleagues we ran in to at Camp Muir!!

Overall it was awesome weather great time, may be we get to use our climbing passes soon :)!

Summer ‘10 Activities – Climb, Camp, Hike and Cycle away!

Alrite summer is just around the corner! Its the time we folks in Northwest look forward to! The entire misery of dark winters and rainy days is worth the gorgeous 3 months of summer we get around here!

I have been meaning to do a few outdoorsy things this summer, and wanted to started chalking my list here so that friends and family can join in, talk me in to and out of few things :) –

  • Rock-climbing & Bouldering
    • A weekend bouldering trip to Squamish!
    • Climbing as many single-pitch 5.8s as I can. May be pick up Exit-38 Wednesdays!
    • Goal: Outer space (?) (July 2nd week or Aug 2nd week) – Outer space is a six pitch climb near Leavenworth, and it has been my goal since i started cragging a couple of years ago. Given my space and rock-climbing touch, it might not happen this year but still a worthy goal.
  • Mountaineering
    • Mt. Adams (June 19th?)
    • Mt. Baker (June 26th)
    • Mt. Shuskan (?)
    • Goal: Lead a trip up Mt. Rainier (July 17th), may be two
    • Goal: One ice-climb, may be Mt. Hood late in the season (Aug 1st week?)
  • Cycling
    • Flying Wheels Summer Century! (June 12th)
    • Goal: Lead a week-long trip along Oregon Coast (week of July 24th), in preparation to India biking adventure.
  • Motorcycling
    • Now that i still have my SV650s for this season I would love to do some long riding and track days with it. I have already been eyeing some routes.
    • Goal: Do at-least one long ride and one track day!
  • Backpacking
    • Yosemite (?) (Late summer Aug(?))
    • Need suggestions and friends to go with!
  • Hiking & Camping
    • Granite Mountain
    • Camp Muir
    • Goal: At-least do one camping trip with friends
  • Try a new activity
    • Rafting down Yakima river! (July 4th –?)
    • Sea-kayaking or Sailing
    • Goal: Learn to swim in open water

May be I should make a outdoor activities calendar. Making it public is a little itchy but hey its summer in the northwest!!

Mt. Rainier Climb – Trip Report

On Sunday July 19, 2009 (update: silly date mistakes) around 9:00am, my team summited Mt. Rainier via the Emmons Glacier route. In my previous post I took a moment to describe and elaborate on the cause I would like to support as part of this climb. The full photo album of this trip is shared here.

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 Our Team on the Summit – 14,440 ft!

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Maris and Myself at 14,440 ft!

The Team

This climb was part of Olympia Mountaineers club climbs and was led by Colin. Originally we planned on having four rope teams but a few people cancelled on the climb last minute so we had three rope teams of three people each. I wasn’t signed up to be a rope lead but John and Bonnie were gracious enough to let me lead a rope. We planned to hike to the high camp on day 1, do a summit bid starting midnight and come back to high camp and rest for remaining of day 2 and then walk out to cars on day 3.

The Route

The Emmons route compared to the more popular DC route is a little longer and little more technical. I have done the DC route before and I felt that Emmons route showed a little more of the true mountain – lots of crevasses and wind!

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Details

Day 1

We started at about 10am from the White river parking lot which is about 4500ft to get to our high camp (Camp Schurman) at about 9500 ft.

I got to lead a rope on this climb, I have been mountaineering for only a few years now and this was my first glacier rope lead. Here is an interesting picture on the first day as we were heading to the Camp Schurman high camp, seems like I’m leading my team to a crevasse – but hey there was a snow bridge there.

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We got to Camp Schurman at about 4:00pm and were told by the ranger that no camping spots are available on the rock. For next couple of hours we were digging snow platforms, and finally had our tents set up around 6:30pm.

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Day 2

We woke up around midnight to start our climb up on Emmons Glacier. By the time we started (around 1am) there were already a quite a few partied ahead of us. I glitter of head lamps covered the mountain.

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We had been informed by the ranger that the route was pretty straight forward expect for one tricky section which has a crevasse on side and a drop off on the other. Here is a picture of that section, while I was coming down it.

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At this section – which was about at 11,800ft we spent about an hour and half waiting for other teams to pass, as most of them were putting an anchor before crossing. We were quite a bit concerned because with this lag we were running a quite a bit late, as it was already 5am! and we had about 2500+ ft to go and less than 5 hour before we absolutely need to turn back.

Fortunately, after crossing on top of this serac our three rope teams (Colin’s, Josh’s and Mine) moved reasonably fast and we were at the summit about 9:15 pm. Here is picture of our climb leader Colin leading –

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It was very windy on the summit. We paid our homage and dedications quickly and started on the way down at about 10am.

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As they say the trip up is the easy part and other half on way down causes most mountaineering accidents! Well we did fairly well on the way down, we got to our high camp at about 2pm! However Mr. V, was a little slower and punched through a crevasse. It was only to be realized later than this punching through Crevasse will cause we some ankle trouble and an ER visit!

After getting to the camp we decided to take a quick nap and food break, pack out tent and be walking down by 4pm. This was slight change in the plan because the original climb plan was to stay as high camp on day 2 and then get back on cars on the next day. However the day 1 night was so windy and stormy at the high camp that no one could sleep. In fact, we were grateful than our 3-season vestibule less tent held in that kind of wind! So in the pursuit of some sleep we left the camp on day 2 itself!

The rest of the way down, as actually eventful! Mr. V successfully managed to get his a slight cut in chin while glissading the inter-glaciers. However, skipping the uncomfortable cut the glissade were fun!!!

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So by the time we got to the Glacier basin and started hiking out on the trail, my injured ankle had surfaced itself and grown in to an unbearable pain! With a 60lb pack it was increasingly becoming uncomfortable to walk out. I let Colin (our climb leader) know that and subsequently graciously Bonnie and John stayed with myself and Maris to only re-surface at the trail head in 4 hours, around 9pm! Thanks to Maris for carrying our tent for the test of way and thanks to Colin, John, and Bonnie for keeping us company! We did enjoy the awesome meadows and the views though!

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When we re-grouped around 9pm at the parking lot we decided to go for a late dinner in Enumclaw! We feasted in Mazatlan Mexican restaurant and every sip of my Dos Equi helped me relieve the ankle pain. After getting to Capitol hill, I made a late night ER visit and had my ankle checked and chin sealed.

The good news is that nothing is broken (as yet) but there is quite a bit of swelling hiding any other issues. Now the bad news – I don’t know if I will be able to go on our planned Seattle to San Francisco bicycling tour starting this Saturday :(.

Thanks to Colin, John, Bonnie, Josh, Ted, Chris, Andrew for letting me be part of this climb and thanks to lovely Ms. Maris was getting me on this climb! Colin did a great job leading the climb, it was my pleasure to be in such an awesome company!

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Mt. Rainier Climb – The Cause

I thought I would take a moment and elaborate on my personal and professional causes which I would like to evangelize as part of my climb.

Personal

Earlier I got email from Aparajita suggesting like Alok’s Rainier Climb, I should fundraise for Asha. I like Asha’s cause and zero-overhead approach, so please donate for Asha to support my climb. Asha has supported a project in my hometown in India – the Mayaboli school for hearing impaired. For those who know me and would like to personally donate for this cause I would be really happy to receive donations for the same. This is the same school for which I fundraised in my last Rainier climb. Please note unlike the general Asha the donations for Mayaboli are not 509(c)3 and hence not tax deductibleimages.

Mayaboli School For Hearing Impaired

Team Cause
I also want to promote my team HealthVault and have this climb help spread the word about need to improve the state of health care, particularly the need for individual citizens to assert right to Health Data.

Endorse HealthDataRights

To share to your success stories and learn more about what other folks are doing to make themselves an active participant in the Health eco-system – do take a look at http://www.iamenabled.com (please note – this is Microsoft sponsored venture).

Share your stories, join the movement

Ice Climbing Newb!

Ice climbing is a type of climbing.Image via WikipediaOn Saturday I had a great time chomping on the Serac’s in the lower Coleman glacier on Mt.Baker! Rob was helping me learn the basics of Ice Climbing. Well both of us forgot our camera’s so no pictures. But truly the weather was way better than we expected and we had good view of Mt. Baker and the high meadows were really pretty.

So what all did I learn? The one main thing to learn about crampons is what ever you do try to get the most points in. What this implies is if you are coming downhill then do freaking edge (you will trip!), but try to roll your ankle towards the downhill side and get more points in, and better is dont edge at all!

One trick of the trade of secret I learn from Rob is how to position and balance myself. The idea is to swing the tool, hand from it with your wrist and then then move your legs up such that one leg is on either side of the tool. Once you are in balance and have three point of contact just stand up and swing the other tool. This way one doesn’t barn door and uses much of legs.

I over used by hands, had a very tight grip and was very sloppy with my footwork. Well the result is i gotjavascript:void(0) a little sore and ran out of gas much earlier than i expected.

I have a lot to learn, but meanwhile just for shits and giggle check out this nice beginner video on ice climbing. And yep! thanks to Rob for hauling me in and introducing to Ice Climbing!:

Mt. Baker Climb

Maris and myself went for a Glacier climb with Mountaineers June 29-30. This was my first this season and Maris’ second in a week! Pictures of the trip are shared here and a video is below:

The weather was really awesome! We started from the trail head about 11:30am and reached hogsback around 3:30pm, we decided to set our camp (base camp) here since we had running water and roping up and getting up to high camp, melting water + dinner would put us to bed pretty late. By the way the journey to the camp was not as easy – the trail is in a really in bad shape and we had to scramble our way in and walk over thin logs with a 50 pound pack :). And Oh! one interesting thing happened, Maris dropped her pole on a shitty slope and i volunteer to go get it. I had to go through some loose gravel and some snow but as soon as i grabbed the pole on of my feet slip and before i realized i was doing a butt ride towards a raging creek :). Fortunately i had my ice axe and i could self-arrest in time and make my way up safely!! This was a pretty freaky i think everyone was a little haired up seeing it ;).

Anyways we started our climb around 2:00am from 5700′. After making our way up the first slope one of the rope mates felt a little weird to after a lot of back and forth Jim (the leader) decided to go back with him. So we were then five folks on one rope 50m rope ! Anyways the weather held great and we were on the summit at about 8:30!! We made our way back down to camp at about noon and headed out from the cars at about 4pm to have the much missed Mexxi-Mamma burger ..

Backpacking south olympic coast

Here is the Video account of the backpacking trip Maris, Myself and Jessica (Maris’ ex-housemate) did this Memorial day weekend.

Pictures of the trip are shared here.

The three day trip was a fabulous excursion in the Pacific Northwest’s flora & fauna, tide charts and yep the longest wilderness coastline!! All of these were unparalleled to my any relevant experiences before! I can go on and on about how i loved the coast but i think i’ll leave you guys to enjoy the video for now!