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Author Topic: Bipolar Extremes of Mt Rainier, Emmons Glacier  (Read 2176 times)
Kyle Miller
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Bipolar Extremes of Mt Rainier, Emmons Glacier
« on: 06/30/08, 10:37 AM »

When choosing a tour I would say that one of the biggest factors in choosing a location is based upon the weather. The forecast for the weekend looked promising with the freezing level topping out at 14,000 feet and sunny skies until some unstable air came in on Monday. With the conditions perfect Rainier was the obvious choice with a ascent and Decent of the Emmons glacier. It turns out Sherpadad for turns all year had the same idea so we decided to join forces for the Attempt.

After randomly meeting another member of our party at REI we decided it would be a good idea to Carpool. When we arrived at the ranger station we all met each other for the first time, got our permits then got on the trail. Andy, Dan and I made it to Glacier basin in about an hour where we filled up our water and prepared for the Interglacier. I decided to take a solid board and boot pack compared to skinning which turned out to be the right decision as the snow was horrible for skinning. I got a head start up the interglacier expecting both Andy and Dan to catch up to me in no time, but that wasn’t the case as I waited at the ramp to the Emmons for more then an hour.

We arrived at Camp Sherman around 2 p.m and focused on staying Hydrated to battle altitude sickness. Our plan was to leave around 5 A.M. in two parties one a 3 man team and the other a two man team.
The next morning Rory was felling sick so it became two 2 person rope teams consisting of Dan and Scott and Andy and myself. Our team left alittle after 5 while dans team left around 6. The snow was soft which made some of the snowbridges sketchy and there was a fair amount of traversing as the emmons is breaking up fast.

Andy and I summit around 11:30 and waited for the snow to soften till 1:30. We had perfect corn from the Summit all the way to Sherman with it getting somewhat heavy for the last 300 feet. The run itself was somewhat technical with no real spot to open up until the Corridior at about 12'000 feet. The terrain is littered with rollers and crevasses making it somewhat sketchy.

After a 45 minute run we rested at Camp Sherman awaiting Dan and Sherpadads arrival.
The weather was perfect all day with no real wind and not a cloud in the sky until around 5:30. Our plans were to stay another night at Sherman and get an early morning run down the interglacier. Within an hour the blue sky had changed to Storm clouds with the occasional lightning in the distance. What was original a drizzle became a huge downpour that we were not prepared for. We had decided to leave the rain fly for the tent behind and our sleeping bags and my coat were down so we battled to keep them dry for over an hour. Realizing the storm was only getting stronger we decided to pack up and get to the White River camp ground as fast as possible.

All of our gear was drenched as we tossed everything in our bags trying to make a quick escape. We left Sherman around 8:15 racing the last bit of light all the way to the bottom.
After a quick run down the Emmons we hiked up to the Interglacier. While on top of the Interglacier I looked towards Tahoma which was engulfed in clouds. The run down Interglacier turned out to be amazing with Cold sinkable mash potatoes and lightning flashes in the horizon.

As we rode into the glacier basin it was obvious we were in the middle of a full on Thunder storm. The white river basin was being nailed by lightning every few seconds as we were running down the trail. It was by far the most intense Thunder storm I had ever seen. The rain had caused the white river to swell almost to the point of blocking our progress. We kept a steady pace navigating with the light from the lightning and the last bit of daylight making it to the car just before 10:00. The storm was intense but we all agreed that we made the right decision getting out of there.

On another note I am attempting to Summit all 5 of the Volcanos in Washington this season and now I have only 1 left. Glacier Peak

The stockpile of photos http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1905204#post1905204





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In a perfect world, everybody would act with the correct etiquette and follow the rules. Human nature as it is= NOT GOING TO HAPPEN....no matter how many discussion on ski blogs/websites. Face reality............
Scotsman
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Re: Bipolar Extremes of Mt Rainier, Emmons Glacier
« Reply #1 on: 06/30/08, 11:02 AM »

Congratulations Kyle. Nice TR and great photos.
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skierguitarist
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Re: Bipolar Extremes of Mt Rainier, Emmons Glacier
« Reply #2 on: 06/30/08, 11:04 AM »

Way to go and yes great pics.... thanks!!!
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Marcus
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Re: Bipolar Extremes of Mt Rainier, Emmons Glacier
« Reply #3 on: 06/30/08, 11:21 AM »

Nice job Kyle -- that's a fun ski.
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Stugie
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Re: Bipolar Extremes of Mt Rainier, Emmons Glacier
« Reply #4 on: 06/30/08, 01:07 PM »

Congrats dude and glad you guys made it out safely.  I hate work.  I'm hella jealous, but I guess that comes with the terrain we want to cover. Sad  I have an old "Summit" magazine dated May 1963 that gives some great illustrations for how to avoid lightning strikes should one find themselves caught in inclement weather on a mountain. Wink  Call me about this weekend bro.  peace.
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"The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals; the houses where I practice my religion." - Anatoli Boukreev
Joedabaker
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Re: Bipolar Extremes of Mt Rainier, Emmons Glacier
« Reply #5 on: 06/30/08, 07:27 PM »

Good job Kyle,
One more to go...
That lightning storm was nasty, I thought it was going to blow a window in my house.
That must have been nerve racking walking out!
What did you use for boots for the climb?
Joe
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Kyle Miller
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Re: Bipolar Extremes of Mt Rainier, Emmons Glacier
« Reply #6 on: 06/30/08, 08:53 PM »


That lightning storm was nasty, I thought it was going to blow a window in my house.
That must have been nerve racking walking out!
What did you use for boots for the climb?
Joe
Thanks Joe
Yeah the Lightning storm was crazy and it had us surrounded.  The average strike was less then a mile away and there was more then a hundred strikes. While it was sketchy the power of the front was amazing and riding down the interglacier watching lightning bolt after bolt will be one of those runs I will never forget. My biggest concern was the flooding as the water was real close to washing out the trail and leaving us stranded tell the water receded.  I was rushing our party through the trail as fast as I could making sure no one got lost as the trail can be confusing let alone in the dark.

As for my boots I finally found crampons that fit my snowboard boots (size 13)
which is great cause Ive got alittle bit of experience hiking the snow in my boots.
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In a perfect world, everybody would act with the correct etiquette and follow the rules. Human nature as it is= NOT GOING TO HAPPEN....no matter how many discussion on ski blogs/websites. Face reality............
russ
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Re: Bipolar Extremes of Mt Rainier, Emmons Glacier
« Reply #7 on: 07/01/08, 12:05 AM »

Way to go Kyle!  Looking at the Emmons from the Frying Pan Glacier on Saturday it looks like it was starting to break up - Way to sneak one in.
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