There are lots of fun facts in the sidebar over there —————>
You can click on all of the links to learn more about Mount Rainier, volcanoes, and other mountain summits!
HOMEWORK: Without using Google – can you find Mount Rainier on a map? Hint – it’s in the state of Washington – look way up and to the left!
I will be training and climbing with a team of 4 others and a guide from a company called Alpine Ascents International (AAI). They are a very well-known company in the mountaineering industry, providing schools and climbs – they even climb Mount Everest!
HOMEWORK: Can you find Mount Everest on your map? Hint – it’s on the other side of the world from us.
How Long Does It Take?
Lots of people climb Rainier in two days, and a very speedy climber named Uli Steidl did it in under four and a half hours! Now THAT is moving really fast!
We will take 8 days total because most of those days will be school. You’re never too old to learn new stuff!
We’re not learning smart stuff like math and English like you kids are, we’re going to learn how to climb out of a crevasse if we fall in, how to walk with spikes on our feet (called crampons), and how to travel safely across glaciers. Glaciers can be dangerous due to hidden cracks under the snow. Traveling as a team provides safety – if one person falls in, the other teams members are all tied together and can stop the person from falling.
The AAI website lists our school lessons as:
Increasing technical knowledge/skills in all aspects of snow and alpine climbing including:
Glacier travel | Rope/belay techniques | Crevasse rescue | Route finding
Self-arrest | Rappelling | Safe climbing | Cramponing
Developing educated, self-reliant climbers with the ability to evaluate subjective/objective hazards including:
Rock fall | Glacier conditions | Gear evaluations | Critical decision-making
Group experience | White-out conditions | Wilderness navigation | Weather conditions
Woah – that’s a lot to learn!
On the summit day we will have additional guides join our climbing party to ensure a 1:1 guide:climber ratio for safety.
How Hard Is It?
This climb is going to be really, really hard. I climb lots of 14ers – mountains in Colorado that are over 14,000 feet tall. Most of these trails start at 10,000-11,000 feet, so you climb up 3,000-4,000 feet to the top. You start really early in the morning like 3am, and you try to be back to your car around lunchtime.
On Rainier we’ll be starting at less than 5,000 feet – climbing up TEN THOUSAND FEET! That’s a long climb. AND we will be carrying 70lb backpacks – that’s more than most of you weigh! That’s climbing the stairs up almost TEN Empire State Buildings carrying one or two of you on my back! Here’s a list of all of the gear that I have to carry, not counting the 13 pounds of food I’ll eat over those 8 days. And this photo is all the gear that has to fit into my backpack!
This elevation profile shows the Emmons Glacier Route, and while it doesn’t show the time we’ll be spending on the Winthrop glacier it’s pretty accurate overall.
Is It Cold On The Mountain?
It’s going to be really, really cold at the top, even though it’s June. Mountain-forecast.com shows temperatures between 27 and 28 degrees at the summit, plus wind!
Luckily where we’ll be spending most of our time training on Winthrop Glacier it will be much nicer – almost 50 degrees.
We wear very special clothing designed for climbing mountains in the cold – big clunky boots that have an entire boot inside another boot, layers of waterproof Gore-Tex and thick down pants and jackets, and thick gloves. We also wear helmets to protect our heads in case a rock falls, and big goggles to help prevent snow blindness – these also help to keep our noggins warm!
HOMEWORK: Sometimes Mountain-forecast shows the temperature as Celsius (C) instead of Fahrenheit (F). Can you convert the C to F? To convert C to F, multiply your Celsius temperature x 1.8 and add 32 to get your Fahrenheit temperature. To convert F to C, subtract 32 from your Fahrenheit temperature and multiply by .5556.
EXTRA CREDIT: At what temperature are Celsius and Fahrenheit the same?
Can We See Where You’re At?
You sure can! This link will show where we’re at on a map, and it updates every 10 minutes. We have a little electronic device called a Garmin InReach Mini that sends our location to the internet, lets us send and receive messages like text messaging on your cell phone, and lets us call in rescuers in case of an emergency. The InReach even talks to my watch and my phone!
You can get my InReach email address from Aunt Colette if you want to send me a message while I’m on the mountain! Keep it short though, it will only send and receive short messages. I can’t wait to hear from you!