Aug 15, 2010

Goat Cirque - Mt Rainier

Big Brotha Steve and I split from his house near Olympia, around 5:30 and ended up to the Summerland Trailhead inside Mt. Rainier National Park a little after 7:00. We also picked up our backcountry overnight permits at the park entrance. Parking is at a premium, hence an early start.

There we met up with Kurt and Matt. Eric joined us around dinner time up at our bivy spot.

Our beginning elevation was about 3,600 vf, and I think the approach to Summerland was about 4.5 miles. The elevation at Summerland was about 5,800 vf, and the snowfield we marched up into Goat Cirque was about half mile up the trail from Summerland.

We marched up to the top of Goat Cirque, but avoided the steep headwalls. We had a primo bivy site, that sat around 7,000 vf. We arrived at our bivy site around 1:30, and it was pretty comfy and sunny. Here, we drank some beers, and just enjoyed the scenery.
Itching to get some turns I strapped on the skis for couple before dinner runs on the short patch of snow near out site.

From here we just waited for the sun to go down, and have the meteors rain down on us. I woke up several times during the night and each time I fixed my gaze on the shooting stars ripping across the clear and star speckled sky.

I'd say that I packed exactly the right amount of food and clothing for this trip, but still my pack remained light. And even when I woke up in the morning I wasn't cold.

We all pretty much rolled out of bivy sacks around 7:00 were marching up the Frying Pan Glacier at around 8:30. The 2,100 vf climb up the glacier to Whitman Crest (9,100 vf) was easy, and only took about an hour and a half.

The five us kicked it on the prow for about an hour, while we gazed the massiveness of Mt. Rainier and all the points of interest. Lil Tahoma sat immediately in front of us, and across the glacier (miles away), we could see climbers returning from summit climbs back to camp muir, Sherman Camp wasn't far away either. The panoramic view was one off the most terrific sights ever scene.

We strapped the skis on, and ripped down the Frying Pan Glacier, and then back to our camp to grab our overnight gear for the our return back down the mountain.

What an amazing trip, and I truly miss this mountain.

Here's a vid of the weekend:

And here is a high res version:

If you happen to have Google Earth, here is a link to interactive tour of our trip (once the link is open, hit the "Play Tour" button on the upper right hand side):

Here are a few pics:

Big Brotha Steve at Summerland with Rainier in the background:

Kurt at Summerland with Rainier in the background:

Me at Summerland with Rainier in the background:

Climbing Goat Cirque:

Chilling at the bivouac:

Panaromic view at dusk:

Perched at Whitman Crest:

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