Monthly Archives: August 2014

Sat 23 Aug 14

See it does rain here every once in a while! Double rainbow near Ellensburg on my way up to Snoqualmie Pass for field work last week and an awesome brief torrent of rain in our yard yesterday. August so far has been just beautiful weather-wise, a nice counterbalance to July’s heatwave.

But definitely still very much summer.

Sun 17 Aug 14

Yet another trip partway up Rainier. Sigh. After a week of thunderstorms, freezing rain, and snow on the mountain, the weather broke beautifully for the weekend. The forecast called for 25°F with a 10 mph wind on the summit. Super, super mellow mountain conditions. Saturday morning I headed up with a couple guys I’d climbed with in the past and a friend of theirs.

After considering climbing via the Kautz Glacier route, we eventually opted for the standard DC route due to discomfort about the current ice conditions on the Kautz ice chute (couple hundred feet of 50-60 degree steep snow and ice).

We left Paradise mid-morning and covered the 4.5 miles and 4700 feet of elevation up to Camp Muir in a couple hours. I haven’t really hiked anywhere since Corsica back in June, but my legs and lungs felt solid on the ascent. It was a nice sign for how I’d feel on the additional 4000 feet up the next day.

At Muir, I spent the afternoon organizing my gear, melting snow for drinking water, eating and drinking as much as I could stomach, and trying to avoid getting sunburned. It was a really nice change of pace to run my cook stove outside without battling any wind. Temps in the 40s and easily the nicest weather I’ve ever had at Muir.

Predictably, Muir was a zoo, with a packed bunkhouse and dozens of surrounding tents. The evening views of the clouds over the Muir snowfield were pleasant.

We planned on a midnight alpine start. The aforementioned friend opted out of the summit push, citing fatigue, so we’d have three on the rope team. We tried to get a couple hours of sleep crammed on the wooden sleeping platforms in a bunkhouse full of rustling sleeping bags, jangling gear, creaking doors, and snoring. A losing proposition. I think I slept fitfully for about an hour.

At 11 pm a number of groups were stirring, including ours. I walked outside to dark views of an orange half moon and a few headlights already bobbing across the Cowlitz Glacier. Unfortunately, some of the stirring in our group involved vomiting and headache-induced head-clutching, presumably altitude induced. I felt super sharp and ready to climb, excited for the prime weather and morning views, so obviously felt dejected by the news. There wasn’t anyway around it though, we had to head down. Back at the car at 3 am and home by 5 am.

Maybe next time, or maybe I’ll just stick with solo climbs for a while.

Mon 11 Aug 14

Taylor turned 10 today in human years, 70 in dog years, probably older in boxer years. Old lady! We celebrated by taking her and the other dogs for an evening drive and Chesterly Park outing and then a trip to McDonald’s for some dog-grade hamburgers (and human-grade ice cream).

Sat 2 Aug 14

I think this has been the hottest summer we’ve had in Yakima during our time here. Anything in the mid-90s or less still feel great, but we’ve had a couple stretches already above 100 for close to a week, which gets a little old toward the end. A couple ways to beat the heat, sprinkler-standing and outdoor-toaster-ovening.