Tue 4 Aug 2009

Three weekends ago I climbed up to Steamboat Prow (elevation 9700 ft) and Camp Schurman on the NE side of Mt Rainier. It was a sparkling day and a gorgeous hike through Glacier Basin and up the Inter Glacier. I covered the 6 miles up and 5200 feet of elevation gain in about three hours and felt solid all day. Plenty of bounce in the legs and lungs filling like a walk in the park.

I stopped briefly at Camp Curtis on the way up to refuel and enjoy the glacial views. The north face of Little Tahoma (pictured from above in my last post re: Rainier climb) loomed across a crevasse field. Rainier dominated from above. Behind me stretched an endless display of green and white. A few more minutes of hiking from Curtis and I was standing alone on the Prow looking down at the colorful tents dotting Camp Schurman. From the solitude of my perch, I watched the climbers slowly marching down the slopes of Emmons Glacier above me after summiting the peak earlier in the morning and I realized how bored I was with stopping at 10,000ft (the highest elevation the Parks Department will let you advance without a permit and a partner). I wanted to see crevasses and seracs, to hike into the cold night and watch the sun rise below my feet. I determined to find a way to make it happen.

With dogs waiting for me at home I stayed at the Prow only a few minutes before turning around and running much of the way down Inter Glacier and back down through Glacier Basin and its spectacular spread of wildflowers.

Next post I’ll have a write-up of the Rainier almost-climb.