Jan 24, 2010 at 10:13 pm #1254482
I plan on climbing Rainier around the first of June. I have experienced guides to go with but no one in the UL community. I want to use my lightweight wool base layer, a thermawrap top and bottom, and then a windshirt and something like precip or Reed pants on top. Maybe stuff a rain coat in the pack. It sounds like temps down to about 20F? Does this sound like enough of a safety margin if the weather deteriorates?
GregJan 24, 2010 at 10:32 pm #1566004
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
No. Not enough margin at all.
It is quite common for Everest climbers to go do their pre-Everest training on Rainier.
Rainier can have some really awful weather. It's not that hard to clothe yourself for +20 F, but now figure on +20 or +10 and a 50 knot wind.
I have a 7000-meter parka, and I think I would take that if I were going back to Rainier.
–B.G.–Jan 24, 2010 at 11:24 pm #1566006
See the Denali light article, recently published, to get an idea about adequate clothing. Rainier is nowhere near as cold as Denali (though a storm can make it very dangerous). Some lofty layers should be on hand for this kind of climb, as a bouviac is always a possibility.Jan 25, 2010 at 7:33 am #1566047
Thanks for the replies.
I had doubts about the safety margin. I will look up the Denali light article.
GregJan 25, 2010 at 10:54 am #1566093
Then again, I know a retired kindergarten teacher from Parkland named Yarl who would summit solo tied to an 8' ladder on his back for crevasse protection, then ski down. Clearly not for the uninitiated.Jan 27, 2010 at 11:36 am #1566812
it really depends on the 1. weather 2. your route 3. your skill level. Check out these excellent weather conditions resources:
I went there two times (without a guide) last year, once in July and once in September. July was much colder weather, with strong winds. My partner made it to the top wearing only heavy fleece as his insulation, bus said it was chilly on top. September was very warm, actually too warm.
My clothing was:
Icebreaker lightweight base layer
Light fleece/or MH Powerstretch Zip Top
Montbell UL Down Inner Parka
GoLite Phantom (goretex paclite jacket)
Patagonia Capeline 1 tights
Mammut Nimba softshells (they have microfleece liner)
I had an extra fleece in my pack, which i never used. I only put on my parka when i stopped to rest.
I also had a neck gaitor, a fleece hat, googles (!!), and RBH mitts and lightweight powerstretch gloves. On my feet, i had stiff Scarpa boots, not exactly mountaineering boots but very similar, and much less expensive.
The fact is , if you know the weather is stable and are not trying to "fit in" the climb into your schedule, summer Rainier climbing can be done pretty light. Denali list is an overkill, as it assumes minus 20 degree temps. Plus if you are going the DC route, which you are i 'm assuming, and during a weekend, it's like a trekking highway. Most of the people i met over on DC could be technically considered as trekkers, but came prepared as they were climbing an 8,000 meter peak.
Regrets? i am considering getting a loftier down jacket, perhaps something with at least 5 ounces of fill weight. June 1st is still very cold month for Rainier, and one that could present with an unexpected weather. You may want to get a good down layer. Positives: less open crevasses, more direct route, and less people.
On my second attempt, i saw this guy doing a triple record from Paradise parking to the summit via the DC route, in his trekking shoes, wearing a day camelback, very thin layers, and a pair of trekking poles. Of course the weather was excellent, and this dude was at some point a denali speed ascent record setter.Jan 27, 2010 at 11:42 am #1566817
I can also send you my entire gear list for this climb if you'd like.Jan 27, 2010 at 12:38 pm #1566847
@eric_kLocale: The northwest is the BEST
I would like to see your list if you dont mindJan 27, 2010 at 3:20 pm #1566941
Thanks for the help! Elena, I would like to see your gear list.
I am planning to pick up a Montbell Alpine light for my down layer. I think that the thermawraps, wool, and precip will be enough for the bottom- I will throw in a fleece layer too.
GregJan 27, 2010 at 7:57 pm #1567041
Here is the list, sorry for the mess, i cut and pasted it from my Excel sheet.
CLIMBING GEAR – SUMMER Oz
Backpack: GoLite Pinnacle 23.0
Pack Liner: Trash Compactor Bag (2) 0.5
Hard Shell Jacket: GoLite Phantom 12.0
Insulating Layer : Montbell Women's U.L. Down Inner Parka (S) 6.8
Midlayer 2: Lightweight Fleece (??) 5.0
Base Layer-Long-sleeve: Icebreaker Women's Bodyfit 150 LS Atlas Half Zip 5.2
Climbing Shoes: Scarpa (??) 20.0
Insulating Socks: RBH Designs VaprThrm Insulated Sock 2.5
Hat: Fleece Hat 1.5
Neck and Face: Neck Gator 1.0
Hands – Liner: Powerstretch Liner Glove 2.0
Hands – Insulation: RBH Designs Vapor Mitts (XS) 6.0
Tent-Body: Tarptent Double Rainbow (shared) 0.0
Tent-Poles: Pole 0.0
Tent-Stakes: Ti Stakes (6) 0.0
Sleeping Bag: Western Mountaineering Ultralite Short 28.0
Sleeping Pad – Inflatable: Therm-A-Rest W Prolite 16.0
Sleeping Pad – Closed Cell: Blue Foam from REI cut torso size 4.0
Pillow: BPL inflatable 1.0
Stove: Snow Peak GigaPower 3.8
Pot: Evernew, 1.2 liter 6.0
Cup: Plastic Cup 0.3
Utensil: Lexan Spork 0.3
Cleaning: Mini spounge 0.1
Lighter Mini Bic: 0.3
Water Containers: Platypus 1 liter (2) 2.5
Water Treatment: Acqua Mira (repackaged in BPL containers) 1.0
Flashlight: Tikka XP w/ Lithium Batteries 2.5
Compass: Brunton 26DNL-CL 1.5
Knife/Multitool: Gerber Paraframe Mini Steel 1.0
First Aid Kit 2.0
Moisturizer/Sunblock SPF 70 1.5
Foot Treatment: Hydropel, repackaged 0.3
Lip Balm: SPF Lip Balm 0.3
Soap: Bronner, repackaged 0.5
Stuff Sacks: Granite Gear Air Bags (3) 2.0
Goggles: Ski Goggles 2.0
Camera: Nikon Coolpix S200 4.0
Harness: Mammut Alpine Light 7.0
Ice Axe: Black Diamond Raven Ultra 12.0
Crampons: Stubai Ultralight Universal 21.0
Helmet – 10.0
Anchors: Snow Picket (1) 12.0
Carabiners-Non Locking: Camp USA Nano (4) 3.5
Carabiners-Locking: Carabiner (2) 3.0
Ascender: Petzl Tibloc (1) 1.0
Other: Mammut Dyneema Slings, Prussiks 2.0
TOTAL PACKED (oz) Ounces 242.7
TOTAL PACKED (pnds) Pounds 15.2
Top: Icebreaker 150 Print T Shirt 3.8
Midlayer Top: Mountain Hardware PowerStretch Zip T (XS) 6.0
Bottom Base Layer: Patagonia Capeline 1 Bottoms 5.0
Bottom Shell: Mammut Nimba 18.0
Socks: SmartWool Light Hiker 1.5
Sock Liner: REI Coolmax Liner Socks 0.3
Approach Shoes: Montbell Vitesse 11.0
Gaiters Rab Hispar 9.0
Sun Hat Golite Baseball Hat 2.0
Eye Protection: Glacier Glasses – Rented 0.5
HIKING POLES: REI Peak UL Trekking Poles 13.0
TOTAL WORN/CARRIED Ounces 60.1
A couple of comments:
1) shelter – the first time i used someone else's tent (it flapped all night and zero sleep), the second time we intended to stay in huts and we brought my Tarptent for Camp Muir just in case, we ended up staying in shelters (had abt 3 hrs of sleep with ear plugs)
2) i didn't use gaitors the second time – the snow was very packed, but as an afterthought it was a bad idea since you can still trip over your pants if not careful.
3) the rope was carried by partner and it was something like an 8.2 mm dry rope
here are some pics from our Sept climb:
getting over some crevasses en routeJan 27, 2010 at 8:09 pm #1567049
Your gear list looks alot like mine probably will. Can't forget those earplugs!
Nice pix too.
GregFeb 19, 2010 at 8:39 pm #1576173
I was looking over your gear list for Rinier again and have a question about your stove. Did the Giga power work well at Muir? I have looked through the articles and posts on stoves but can't find much in the way of use at altitude. I know how the cold effects them but am not clear on altitude..
Did you keep the canisters in your coat or sleeping bag? Were you able to light it with piezo or did you use a Bic? How about a windscreen?
I don't want to have to buy another stove this year so I am hoping yours worked well.
GregFeb 19, 2010 at 8:59 pm #1576184
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Butane-blend stoves get less efficient with cold, but they get more efficient with higher elevation. Unfortunately, Camp Muir is not high enough to get that much positive effect from elevation. At least at Camp Muir you will have some weather protection, so it should not be a big problem.
–B.G.–Feb 19, 2010 at 9:36 pm #1576205
What is your itinerary and what route are you taking?
The lightest way to climb Rainier is to do it in a day.
The first time I summited, I had a 6 oz. nylon stuff-sack pack with a water bottle, food bars, sleeping bag, large bivy/bothy/tarp, first aid, stove and pad. I wore all clothing and climbing gear. My shell was a Marmot DriClime windshirt and I had a fleece underneath which I aggressively vented most of the time. We took a 1 hour break to watch the stars and melt some water at about 11.500'
My two climbing mates took fanny packs. Including climbing gear, none of us had over ten pounds total.
We did the Fuhrer Finger, which is one of the most direct routes and climbed only at night so as to minimize rock-fall and have more stable snow.
This really can be a very safe way to climb because you move fast and are not exposed to danger for as long a period of time. We had sufficient gear and fuel for an emergency bivy to last a few days – though not in comfort.
I wasn't sophisticated enough to have gear lists back then, but be sure to have plenty of sunscreen and a spare pair of sunglasses can be good insurance.
I have never had problems with canister stoves at Camp Muir – it usually doesn't get all that cold there in the Summer time. Even in winter, it often gets colder in the middle of Ohio than on the summit of Mt. Rainier. It's the wind and occasional driving slush storms that chill the bones :).Feb 19, 2010 at 9:41 pm #1576206
Thanks for the insight. I had read that they got more efficient but I thought that this diminished above a certain altitude.
GregFeb 19, 2010 at 9:44 pm #1576207
Thanks for sharing your gear list and photos! I think your gear was rather appropriate and not an over-burdensome weight for the volcano. It should help aid others in planning a UL Rainier trip.
How did your sleep system hold up for you and do you usually sleep cold/reg/warm? I have always used the opposite pad configuration on snow (short inflatable w/ long closed cell), but your system sounds good and the weight was within target.Feb 19, 2010 at 9:49 pm #1576209
We are going to take the 3 day approach. First day to Muir, then to Ingram flats, then summit and down. I am going with a large group and most have not done much climbing (me included) so we felt that this would be best.
One day sounds tough. We will be climbing at midnight on the Summit day, as I am sure everyone else will too.
I will post a gear list in the near future.
GregFeb 19, 2010 at 10:13 pm #1576223
Excellent – I'm sure you will enjoy spending 3 days up there – it is a beautiful place to be! I have done a couple of 2-day trips, skipping Muir, or using other camps on other routes and I've always enjoyed just spending the night on the mountain and seeing the stars and storms. The flats are a symphony for the senses when the thunderstorms roll up the valley and the rockfall crashes around you.
For what it's worth (in the future perhaps), I actually find it easier to do it in a day (that trip mentioned above was my first time), but it is enjoyable to take your time and with a lighter pack, you have a preferable approach and will find yourself more refreshed than your peers, enabling you to soak in the experience more comfortably.
Take video whenever you stop to rest up there (especially on the way up to the summit) – you and your mates will be thankful for that later.Feb 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm #1576519
@dirtbagclimberLocale: Pacific Northwest
I got a bit surprised by cold on Ranier once, and the problem was that my rope-team couldn't move fast enough for me to generate any heat to speak of. I ended up climbing with my parka on for the last little bit, because we had to move so slowly.
So do take into consideration that the other's you climb with might mess-up your thermoregulation, and pack accordingly.Feb 20, 2010 at 8:57 pm #1576568
I am really looking forward to spending the 3 days up there. I can imagine that under the right conditions it would be a grand stage with the sights and sounds that you mentioned.
Good point, I hadn't considered that.
GregFeb 20, 2010 at 9:10 pm #1576574
By the way, welcome to the community Greg!Feb 21, 2010 at 11:26 am #1576702
glMar 19, 2010 at 1:43 pm #1588360
Aaron, Greg, sorry i'm only now getting back to your questions.
"Did the Giga power work well at Muir? "
Yes, no problem. My climbing friend actually just went to climb Rainier last weekend. They spent a night at Muir with 7F temperatures. His stove worked (very similar stove, same concept).
"Did you keep the canisters in your coat or sleeping bag?"
No, there was no need to.
"Were you able to light it with piezo or did you use a Bic?"
I used Bic, i don't buy stoves with piezo – more fuss, more weight, more parts that may break, and it's easier with just a lighter.
"How about a windscreen?"
No, didn't use it since we stayed in Muir. When we stayed in the tent i just used the vestibule for cooking (carefully). But since you are staying overnight at Ingram i would definitely make and test one out of alum foil.
Make sure you bring an extra trash bag to collect snow, then just sit and melt. snow collection is best done with scooping it with your pot
"We are going to take the 3 day approach. First day to Muir, then to Ingram flats, then summit and down."
This is perfect! Why is because of altitude sickness. i have never had it before, and i've been at higher altitude. However you are climbing 9K+ feet in very short time, arriving from sea level, and exhausting yourself. first, it's killing you physically if you are not full time mountaineer or in some crazy physical shape. I personally got AMS at about 13,000. We had a three man team. Our second man got sick too, but it didn't get to him later, and i didn't say anything. then he went slower and slow, with more and more stops, and despite the encouragement, he just sat down. then he said didn't want to continue. we should have recognized his symptoms earlier. it actually happened at about 13,500. He and our other partner (who summited before) turned around, but i continued by myself to the crater (the decision was mutual since i would catch up with them since they are going down slowly before some critical parts). by the time i got there it was using up all the time i had, so i had to turn around being half way thru the crater (that's about 200ft vertical from summit). i met my two teammates at lower elevation , at about 12K . our man was in much better shape (but i wasn't). after we crossed some sketchy places, i made 5 beautiful pukes. Dehydrated, nauseous, and with all my calories in the stomach gone, i continued down, until we reached cars at 9pm at the paradise parking lot. it was some sort of marathon i wasn't really prepared for. So staying over there and getting proper acclimatization and rest is really helpful, otherwise your whole experience turns into one immense suffering!
"How did your sleep system hold up for you and do you usually sleep cold/reg/warm?"
I don't think it matters which one is on top, whatever works best for you. I know i definitely felt cold sucking up my warmth when just using the prolite alone on snow, and the thin closed foam helped a lot in torso area. I'm usually cold, but…it's not the cold that keeps you awake really: ))Mar 19, 2010 at 5:39 pm #1588482
@woodenwizardLocale: Greater Mt Tabor
Hello. My name is Jeff… and I am an alpine noob.
I want to summit Rainier up the DC route sometime during the summer (2011). I want to wear the Garmont Vetta Lite.
Is this a good choice? I asked at e-OMC and they said only really in shape alpine dudes would use this in some blitz summit bid. WTF? There is a fitness level requirement for boots now? Are these boots too fast?;)
I've read that they may be short (height) for some crampons, but there are crampons that would fit them. Maybe they are not stiff enough for me or something?
Like I said- total noob- so go easy.
BTW- I would like to stick with Garmonts because they fit my foot perfectly. Vetta Plus? Tower?
Thanks for any input.Mar 19, 2010 at 7:28 pm #1588534
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Is this a good choice? I asked at e-OMC and they said only really in shape alpine dudes would use this in some blitz summit bid. WTF? There is a fitness level requirement for boots now? Are these boots too fast?;)I've read that they may be short (height) for some crampons, but there are crampons that would fit them. Maybe they are not stiff enough for me or something?"
My guess is what they actually meant was EXPERIENCED, really in shape alpine dudes. You can bet guys steaming along with trail runners and a camel back aren't doing their maiden ascent.
In your case, you'd have to give a lot of thought as to how you would keep your feet warm with a low cut shoe like that, especially when snow/water/mud inevitably works its way in under your gaiters. That can be dealt with, but think it through carefully. A potentially more serious concern is whether or not you would be able to cinch your crampons down tightly enough to keep them stable without reducing circulation at the ankle because, with a low cut shoe, part of the binding of your crampons would ride up above the tops of your shoes and cut into your leg at and just above the ankle bone.
Another concern I would have is adequate ankle support and protection for the kind of conditions you will encounter on Rainier, everything from ice and hard snow through soft deep snow and even mud/rock slurry. I know, there has been
a lot of controversy about ankle support on various threads here, and I fall squarely on the side of mid top shoes/boots, properly laced, providing not only support and therefore control, but also physical protection from sharp objects(think sharp ice crust that you may punch through, rock, or even your own crampon points-there is a reason why a lot of serious alpine climbing pants have Cordura crampon patches on the inside at the ankle).
Rainier is a serious mountain, and while you might well "get away" with using marginal shoes, if things go awry or the weather turns on you, you could well regret your decision. At the very least, talk it over with a guide service, or some experienced folks at a shop that deals in climbing gear, and get their input. If you're in the Seattle area, go over to Pro Mountain Sports on University Ave. Jim Nelson, the owner, is a very experienced certified alpine guide who could give you a lot of good advice. If I were you, I'd play it safe your first time up Rainier. You'll have enough on your mind the first time around without pushing the limits, gear-wise. You can always come back a second time with a much better idea of what you can safely get away with.
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