AT!! This time last year, we summitted Springer Mountain
with heavy–yet excited–hearts.
As we settled back into reality, we knew we couldn’t live without
adventure. We decided to switch gears a little bit and focus on high
pointing. We have done 26 high points across America and many of the
remaining 24 are big and bold and require some mountaineering.
So, in 2013, we are going to attempt to summit … drumroll please … the 14,411-foot Mt. Rainier in Washington.
This is scary to me for a few reasons.
1) Mt. Rainier’s peak is at 14,411 feet. I get altitude sickness at 10,000 feet.
2) Mt. Rainier is the largest glacier (!) in the U.S. south of Alaska. Glacial ice=difficult to traverse.
3) Mountaineering is a new “sport” for us. Equipment includes crampons (spiked attachments for your boots) and ice axes (used for climbing). I like rock climbing, but ice climbing??? We have to traverse crevasses (giant cracks in the ice that are not always visible!!) and bridges made of snow that could be as thin as a few inches (Jesus H. Christ, help me). We will be roped in together in case someone falls into a crevass and for other reason, so I suppose that is reassuring. But, the list of hazards is daunting, to say the least.
4) I have an unfounded fear of avalanches.
5) People die on Mt. Rainier expeditions. See 1-4.
6) Mt. Rainier is what is called a stratovolcano (still an active volcano).
And with that, I think I just gave myself a heart attack writing this all down.
But, what can I say? I’m a wannabe adrenaline junkie (Deal is a full-blown adrenaline junkie) and if the AT proved anything to me, it’s that you don’t know unless you try.
I will suffice your fears a little bit by saying we are going not by ourselves, but with Rainier Mountaineering Inc. Guide Services. Which means we get detailed and hands-on instruction (i.e., how to get yourself out of a crevass, how to use an ice axe) as well as the expertise of guides who have summitted Rainier hundreds of times.
Also, we have health insurance (that’s a story for another day), but I’m not sure it covers frostbite or severed limbs from use of the ice axe.
When we booked the trip, we did it as soon as RMI opened up the dates (they book up very, very quickly). So we essentially had our first choice. We picked July 25-29 for a few reasons. While weather is always a factor and we could be turned back by it, July and August are the most stable months and therefore provide the highest success rates. July/August is also a “slow” time at BD and we can get away (PS – if anyone wants to cover the hostel for us that week, let us know!!) I also picked that week because I am a bit superstitious and my mom’s birthday is July 27. I thought if we were potentially summitting on her birthday (I just ruined her birthday, btw), it would be a good omen.
The other piece of good news is two crazy people decided to join us!!! Bobby/Bolt, a definite adrenaline junkie from Danville, and Mac/Fire Marshall, our fellow AT bud. Bolt is a little bit of a bad omen, as his track record for weather and mountains is not so good, hence his nickname. But, he is a mountaineer and will kick our butts into high gear, especially in our training. Fire Marshall, on the other hand, has proven to be a little bit of a good luck charm on adventures and is always a good addition to our duo, so we’ll go anywhere with him.
We are excited for our Adventure 2013: Operation Rainier. The prep for it is intense. We basically need to be in better condition than we were when we hiked the trail. So this is not the last you will hear of Adventure 2013: Operation Rainier. The question is, are you ready to embark on the adventure with us?