Posts from the ‘Washington Mountains’ Category

Mt Rainier 2008

Mt Rainier at 14410ft is the second tallest mountain in the lower 48 states, Mt Whitney is bigger by about 30ft. In terms on hugeness, Rainier stands on its own. I am not sure if hugeness is a word but when we are talking about Rainier , it should be.  Lyle and Heather  and myself decided to climb the DC route, which starts at Paradise with a tent site at Cam Muir located at 10, 100ft

See it is huge

Getting packed up at Paradise

Looking down at the Tatoosh mountains, skiing to Camp Muir is a great way to save energy

Sometimes part of the climb will be melted out, have a stream crossing and the skis come off. If its for a small portion, the skis are hand carried otherwise we strap them to the packs

The view looking towards the Tatoosh and Paradise, looks like another ski carry coming up.


At least its a short carry

A view of the summit, 7000ft away

A picture of the Andinista and the tent at Camp Muir

Mapping out the route

Dinner, yes its a can of tuna for dinner 🙂

The view is everywhere

On the DC, looking down at the Emmons glacier

The summit slope looks so flat yet its 2000ft higher and 2-3 hours away!!

Lyle falls asleep during a rest stop

Ice Seracs Above the Ingraham at 13000ft

its a long day, 8-10 hours from camp to summit

Looking down at Tahoma Peak

Its clear and sunny but the wind keeps keeps the air temp pretty cold. The face mask is one of my fav pieces of gear

Taking a break at a flat spot

Reaching the summit rim

View of the summit crater, the volcano has a crater the size of a rugby stadium

Heather and Lyle in the summit crater

Descending to the cleaver

Looking down at the crevasses on the Ingraham glacier

A closer look

Traversing over lots of exposure

Connected to the fixed rope

Steep traverse

Rainier has plenty of big gaping holes, our route is near the top of the photo under the cliffs

Ingraham Flats is another place to camp at 11,200ft.

Can you see the tiny dots?, climbers making the traverse on the DC

Back down to camp, its a quick pack up and now for the ski down for nearly 500ft..awesome!!





Adams Glacier 2010

This has become one of my fav climbs, its high 12,210ft, its steep and feels very remote

The west side of Mt Adams, showing lots more snow than the previous year

A closer look at our objective, with more snow, we were able to climb a direct line off the toe of the glacier

As always a nice alpine start, an instructor once told me that headlamps for for the morning not the evening, ie start your climb early enough to be back before dark. A simple statement that has shaped a lot of my climbing

Wonderful climbing to get onto the glacial rib

We have come a lot way from camp and its still early. Sign of a previous big slide litter the base

Heather climbing into the zone

Looking down at the crevasse field

Nearing the flat spot where we might be able to grab a snack and some water

A BIG crevasse that we need to cross

We were able to bypass this monster by climbing to the right.

Dawn light moving in from the east

Some of the ice seracs that need to be bypassed

The summit still looks like a long way to go but it looks warm up there 🙂

Looking towards the North ridge

Getting a little closer, Heather did learn to CJ (crevasse jump) on this trip!! Last year the climb moved through this crevasse on the left towards the North ridge col.  This year we were able to climb to the right and take a more direct line


Summit, its 12,210ft and windy

View from the North ridge , looking back at the summit

Looking at the North ridge descent route, this year we were able to access the NW face at 10,600ft to avoid the rock traverse




Adams Glacier 2009

Adams Glacier on the west side of the mountain had been on my list of “must do” climbs for a long time. Actually it was a “must do with Reuben” climb and so for a few days this year everything fell (not the best word to use at the beginning of a climbing story!!!) into place and we got our climb.


Approach to camp


Looking at the Ice fall on the glacier and trying to figure our route through


Home for the night beside a glacial lake


Sunset on the mountain


Cloud layer to the north


Early am aproaching the glacier


Checking out the view of Mt Rainier


Looking at the first ice step


Looks like fun climbing. We argue for several hours about who gets the lead


Reuben relaxing


Another beautiful climb on another beautiful day


Looking over at the bergshrund and trying to find a way accross


We climbed somewhere in here, check out the tracks on the lower left.


View of climbing route taken from the North Ridge


Mt Rainier in the distance as we get close to the rim


Summit Shot


Start of the North Ridge looking back at the summit.


Reuben checking out our route


Looking at our descent route.

St Helens

Mount St Helens is a wonderful mountain to climb and also to ski. It has year round access making it a easy one day trip from Portland.


The start of the trip, no snow on the ground, so we will have to carry them for a while


Hmm the summit rim look so far away once the clouds roll by.


Taking time out for a food break


The slope is too steep for skining up the mountain and so we have to carry them. You sometime have to work hard for those turns.


Near the summit, the surface can be too soft or too icy for the skis to grip and again, it “pack them” time


Ok, now the skis are on ands we are above the clouds, Heather making her way to the summit


All smiles as Ida sees the summit


View of the summit rim looking west

DSCN0135View of crater looking to the east


This is the new coldera cone that has been building since 2004

DSCN0140The skins are off, getting ready to make some turns

Mt Baker

Mt Baker dominates the skyline as you drive north to Canada. Epic winter snows make it a great place to ski and climb. This year we decided to climb the Easton glacier route


This is the view of the Easton glacier from the “railroad grade” section of the trail as we hike towards camp


Ken, hard at work as usual creating a tent platform. After we get to camp, there is still lots of work to be done before the tent goes up.  Can you imagine trying to sleep on a bed that tilts to the left and where you feet are higher than your head???



Ken practices  his crevasse  rescue skills.  This involves setting anchors into the snow and creating a pulley system in case he needs to pull someone out of a crevasse.  Since in this occasion, it would be me, I pay close attention



Most climbs start in the wee early hours of the morning, for many reasons, the climb can be a long day, taking 12 -16 hours to summit and get back to camp, plus the snow conditions are better for both accent and descent


Looking north as the night gives way to morning light from the east



How quickly the lights fills up our climb


Ken,  me and Ken (Ken and I for the english majors) go way back and this is proving to be one of our best climbs.



What a glacier looks like up close, now you know we use a rope. This one is about 100ft in lenght and 20ft wide



Looking down as I step across a crevasse.  The gap is about 12 inches wide.  As the summer progresses, this crevasse will continue to melt out and can eventually be 5 or 30 feet wide!!!!



There are 3 actuals peaks on the Mt Baker Massif.  This one to the south is called Colfax and is lower than the actual summit



Since we are climbing from the west, the east rising sun casts a shadow of the summit  towards the west


Ken approaching the caldera which looks to be still active, the clouds are sulphur rising out from deep within the volcano


Looking deeper into the volcano, the summit is to the left



The view from the summit, notice Colfax peak is now below us!!!


Summit Shadows.  Even though the mountain is covered in snow, the actual summit has melted out



Ken on the summit, taking the opportunity to remove his headlamp.



Summit shot of Uncle Joe for his nieces Niamh and Molly



Time to descend and get back to camp.  Its amazing on a mountain, how it can go from cold to hot in a matter of  hours. Now the snow is getting warm and we descend while the snow bridges are solid and frozen


What takes hours to climb up can take minutes to descend.  Looking back at the summit, its always amazing to realize tht you were “up there”


These dayas I tend to make more snow shadows then  snow angels!!



This is one crevasse that we will need to go around. The beauty of the mountains never ceases to amaze me, (ok, maybe when I am cold). Glaciers can create the most amazing ice sculptures


This group of three climbers are still heading to the summit. Someone must have wanted a hot breakfast this morning. Ended up that one of them had forgotten thier headlamp and so they delayed their start until it was light



Back at camp, its time to dry to some of our gear, brew a cup of Barry’s. We are now closer to the beer and burger that we promised ourselves when we were at the summit.


Mt Shuksan

Mt Shuksan has been called the “jewel of the northwest”. Its a wee bit hidden especially when flanked on the west by Mt Baker.  Its a wonderful and scenic place to spend a few days  and to have a chance to climb to the summit is a bonus. We decided to climb in late June and bring skis…(just in case).


Well I wish every climbing trip started with friends, food, fire and fwine, (I wanted to keep with the f word hence fwine, lets just say its short for fine wine). Here we are in Stanwood, WA at the home of Chris and Shona enjoying smores. So after lots of wine and a late night of catching up, we prepared for our trip.


Since this is near the end of June, most of the trail to camp was free of snow.  Its a big decision, do you carry skis on your pack for the upper glacier epic descent? For a ski of the Sulphide, for sure!!


Next is Christina approaching camp with Mt Baker in the background. Beautiful weather and spectacular scenery. Its great to get the skis off the pack. We have been hiking in our ski boots which are not very flexible. Some climbers will wear light hikers and carry the plastic ski boots.  For me its a choice between the boots and extra food and the sharkies always win and find their way into my pack.


Shona and Chris getting to camp. Big smiles all round, its been a wonderful day but we are ready for food and sleeping bags. Chris is paying his MJ tribute with some glittering handwear. Maybe we will get a song out of him later


Home sweet home

Camping for the evening in the Hilleberg. Looking east

DSCF0939Relaxing at camp

Summit Pinnicle

The following day we get near alpine start, ie we wake up while it is still dark but by the time we eat and get ready to leave camp, its dawn. Here sunrise presents the upper summit in wonderful light


Clouds sweeping down from the summit, giving a view of the crevasses to the north. Here i am deep in thought or to be more exact “lunch thought or hmm just where is my sharkies”


First tracks look a certainty as we hug the left side of the Sulphide glacier.  The Summit pinnicle is the straight ahead


Looking back down at the approach, What a view!!! We are still carrrying our skis due to a ice layer on the snow surface. The skins would not stick to the snow in those wee early hours


Chris leads out on the final pitch. Earlier in the year this would be covered in ice and well that means fun!!


Hey” Where are my rock shoes??


Chris and Shona setting up a anchor


Ida showing us her ice axe selection



Ida and Shona climbing and having fun, hey is it not always fun?


As you climb, its always a wonder to look down and realize just how far you have climbed, how high you are. You find yourself sometimes above the clouds.



Awesome views, rolling clouds


Christina, Shona and Ida (alpinista)


Chris and Shona (Mt Baker in the background)


Joe and Ida (with Ida’s next climb in the background)


Finally you can go no higher, you have reached the summit.  Time to relax, smile, enjoy the view and have lunch.



All smiles…..summer corn!!!


Rarely seen..Joe on AT Skis

DSCF0960Skiing down into the clouds, as good as it gets