Back in May, I was able to climb Mt. Rainier with my good friend, John. It was great weekend and a great climb.
I stole the idea to climb Rainier from John, but thankfully he wasn't too upset about it and joined me for the trip. I wasn't sure what I expected going into it - I've heard the Emmons route described as both "walkable" and "easy", but I've since decided that those reports are full of shit. Walkable, in August, maybe. Certainly not in May. And easy, it wasn't. At least not for me (less technical, but it's still a direct and dangerous route up the mountain).
There was a moment, shortly after we began the climb up Disappointment Cleaver, where I stopped for look around. The moon was bright, the stars were out, and I could clearly see below me a crevasse hundreds of feet away. It was my "holy crap I'm on a mountain" moment. It was both liberating and frightening and I'll never forget it.
The climb was guided by Alpine Ascents International, out of Seattle. I highly recommend them. There were a total of 8 climbers (only John and I were from Washington) and 4 guides.
The first day was a 5,000 foot hike up from Paradise to Camp Muir. The 60lb pack slowed things down, considerably. The second day was "snow school" and a 1,000 foot trip to the high camp, our first trip roped in with crampons. We would retire by 6pm, with the goal of getting up at midnight. We'd begin the final ascent at 1am and would finally summit by 6:30am.
The weather for the climb was fantastic. No wind and it quickly warmed up once the sun came out. We lingered for a long time on top of the summit, taking photos, then we began our long day down. 9,000 feet all the way down to Paradise.