Over the weekend I made the relatively short trek out to Seattle, WA to visit my friend Billy and make an attempt at climbing Mt. Rainier. I spent considerable time preparing physically and financially to give myself a good opportunity to complete this iconic climb. We set out originally to climb the Fuhrer Finger route, but due to terrible monsoon moisture and poor visibility we were forced to retreat (that is, retrace many foodsteps back) to the Disappointment Cleaver route. We attained the 'high' camp, (Muir), but did not reach the summit due to high winds and a late start.
Although generally a miserable experience, we gained much knowledge and are a bit wiser for our next attempt. Key learnings include:
1. Go even lighter, no need to bring sleeping gear and climb in a single 24 hour push.
2. Don't bring so much water. You can always boil more water.
3. Buy a really light alpine rope and harness. The rock/ice climbing specific harnesses and rope we carried was heavy and overkill. 8mm and 30m at the most.
4. The D.C. sucks. Never doing that again-- stick to the less traveled and more difficult routes if you want to have a real alpine experience.
5. Listen to old people. They know their shit.