Mt. Rainier (1)




  Last Updated 11/30/03

Trip Details


July 3-4, 1989


Eric Swanson, Tagenfoster, 10 other students from Tagenfoster's Mountaineering class (from the University of Idaho).

Pack Weight


Attempted Route

Disappointment Cleaver     

Other Attempts

 ( 2 ) ( 3 ) ( 4 ) ( 5 ) ( 6 ) ( 7 ) ( 8 )


Climb Description

Sue, Eric and I started out in the morning from Pullman, arrived at Paradise on the south side of the mountain.  We waited for the rest of the party to show up and then we all climbed up a couple hundred feet, to practice self arrests.  We had a solid overcast and a steady drizzle turning to rain on occasion.  We camped at a campground just below the Paradise visitors center and decided that we would go as far as we could, even if the summit was surely out of grasp.


In the morning, the group gathered at Paradise and we all put on our warmest cloths and rain gear.  After hiking twenty minutes or so, we stopped and everybody stripped off some of their warm gear and shredded rain gear.  We soon climbed into the clouds and the rain turned to driving snow.  We roped together just to keep from getting lost, and followed Tagenfoster who was following his compass to camp Muir.  Even though we were only fifteen feet apart on the rope, there were times when the snow got so heavy that we couldn't see the person ahead. 


Camp Muir has a small rangers shelter and a climbers shelter built of stone.  The climbers shelter was a room about 15'x30' with one narrow walkway down one side and two levels of sleeping platforms taking up the remainder of the room.  We arrived at camp Muir and were soon joined by about thirty other climbers.  Eric and I, were the first climbers at the camp, and took claim to the center of the top platform to take advantage of body heat warming the shelter.  We felt this was important since our sleeping bags were designed for 50 degrees or above.  The entire sleeping area was soon claimed and people were turned away to sleep in their tents in the snow. 


Eric and I hauled out a 32 ounce can of Chinese food with noodles and all.  We got more looks from everybody that brought dried food, but we ate well.  When we brought out our two liter bottles of water instead of cooking snow like everybody else, we got even more looks.  That night, I thought I was going to kill Eric because he wouldn't quit snoring, and no matter how hard I kicked him, he wouldn't stop.


We got up just before sunrise and the clouds were broken up.  I could see Mt. Adams on occasion and blue sky from time to time.  Tagenfoster decided that it would be safe to go as far as Ingram flats, so we packed up, roped up and climbed up.  We traversed right across a large bowl, just below Gibraltar rock, and then climbed up Ingram glacier to Ingram flats.  We could see disappointment cleaver but Tagenfoster didn't want to venture across Ingram flats because the trail was obscured by the new snow.  We turned around and headed back to Camp Muir just as a new weather front hit the mountain and obscured our view.


We got back to Muir, packed up the rest of our gear and headed down.  Sue had been a little worried, because when we left Paradise the day before, we told her that we might be right back.  We drove to the Tri Cities and ate lunch by the river.


 Things that went wrong:


We both got a bad case of wind burn.


The weather


Inadequate rain gear


Things that went right:


Our physical condition was good


This trip gave us confidence to climb on our own.