Mt. Rainier National Park: 7/15 – 7/17/19

We were happy that Molly could get a few days off from work, so the three of us headed to Mt. Rainier for some hiking and car camping.

“At 14,410 feet, Mt. Rainier is the tallest volcano in the Cascade Mountain Range and the most glaciated peak in the continental United States.

Scott has been here before.  On July 7, 2005, he embarked on a four-man tandem climb that turned out to be almost deadly.  Below is the article published in the Seattle Times.

Mt. Rainier climbers rescued after fall

Three climbers and their professional guide were plucked from the flank of Mount Rainier yesterday in a high-altitude helicopter rescue after falling during a climb. The accident — a 120-foot slide down a steep slope to a crevasse on Ingraham Glacier high on the mountain — sent all four climbers to the hospital.

No one was killed.

The most seriously injured of the four, Patrick Clemens of Bethlehem, Pa., was airlifted to Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis near Tacoma with a broken leg and head injuries, said National Park Service spokeswoman Lee Taylor. A hospital spokeswoman declined to release his condition late yesterday. Another climber, 42-year-old Matthew Fisher of Vernon, N.J., suffered a sore back and a possible spinal injury and was taken to Harboview Medical Center in Seattle. He was listed in serious but stable condition last evening.

A third climber, Peter Bridgewater, 54, of Singapore, suffered no major injuries. He was in satisfactory condition at Tacoma General Hospital.

The guide, 31-year-old John Lucia, lost consciousness for a time after the fall but then was able to help with the rescue before he was flown to Tacoma General Hospital, where he was in satisfactory condition.

The climbers were on a trip run by Rainier Mountaineering Inc. (RMI), the mountain’s largest guide company, following the popular Disappointment Cleaver route to the 14,411-foot summit.

Bridgewater, who was roped to the three other climbers, fell on a steep slope at 12,600 feet, pulling the rest with him, Taylor said, based on a report from a Park Service climbing ranger at the scene of the rescue.

Bridgewater had fallen a moment earlier, but Lucia, who was first in line, was able to stop the fall. But when Bridgewater fell again, all four men slid toward the crevasse, Taylor said.

Lucia and Bridgewater were going so fast that they flew over the giant crack in the glacier. But Fisher and Clemens slid into the crevasse and fell about 20 feet.

The rescue operation involved two Black Hawk helicopters from the Oregon National Guard, a U.S. Army Reserve Chinook helicopter, park-service climbing rangers and RMI guides.

Lou Whittaker, a veteran mountaineer and co-founder and president of RMI, said the four were part of a larger guided group following a standard route.

Another RMI team was traversing the mountain yesterday to check out the route, and the company planned to resume regular guided climbs today.——————————————————————————————————————————

A year later, he attempted the same climb with a successful and gratifying outcome.  Fourteen years later, he returned not to climb but to hike and reminisce about the past.

6B8CC83F-027D-4E66-93D2-962E85869AF3Molly had reserved a site (Loop A 130) in Ohanapecosh Campground, set beneath towering old growth trees and running alongside the Ohanapecosh River.

BEDBEA85-ADBC-45FC-A730-CD85914F5635It was drizzling, so Scott and Molly got busy putting up a tarp to give us some shelter.

4C8E0779-0322-4392-8926-4AE97EB63172When that was ready, we took a short hike on Silver Falls Loop Trail to the Grove of the Patriarchs, which were accessible from the campground.   What I love most about the hiking trails in Washington is the richness of the greenery.

03788FF4-9E54-4143-8ECD-B4344D4365EDWe hiked along the river’s edge and found a spot to sit down and take in the beauty surrounding us.  Scott was busy taking photos.


4B7C1566-759C-4031-BB99-D6A344306715All of a sudden, Mr. Photographer had a minor problem.  Oops!  No problem.  He was able to retrieve his camera cover before it was swept away by the rushing river.

35E6F19A-2905-4B16-AF41-A5D6649EF897A little farther up we were delighted to see and hear Silver Falls.

7AAEE52D-62CC-451C-B396-4E77C3369AE5We had to cross over a single person suspension bridge that crossed over a quiet part of the river, and into the Grove of the Patriarchs.

CE659671-CC78-44AD-8BF4-27C57B28EDA8On the way back out, there were small bridges that provided more stunning views of the river.

9D72B6EA-7EFF-4382-B965-FFBA3960C37B07CF18A2-60AD-4AC0-B331-9CC0BDDFC647That evening, we made a fire to combat the soft drizzle and cooler temperatures.  Campfires are not the norm for us.

E2172CC5-7399-482E-9C0B-B2D1D2A5B2B6We woke up early the next morning as we had a bit of a drive from our campsite to Paradise Trails.  The winding roads in the park allow for views of ancient trees and beautiful waterfalls.  I particularly love the rock tunnels that you will ultimately drive through.

134E520E-6725-437A-8730-216F6605D47AScott chose Paradise Trails, which was the trail where he began his summit trek years back.  On clear days, these trails provide an amazing view of the many glaciers and the summit.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t a clear day.  We started on Skyline Loop via High Skyline Trail, a 5.5 miles round trip-hike, with an elevation gain of 1,700 feet.  The trail starts in the parking lot as a paved trail. When Scott was here last, it was covered in snow.  Today it was luscious green.

7EDE48BD-4720-46D8-896A-A4A4E9153CB5If you zoom into the picture below, you can see a stone building.  It may be a warming hut although we didn’t see a path leading to it.

F3C103C8-1D5F-4AE2-8643-E48E3AF31800As we gained elevation, the fog rolled in, making it difficult to see the glaciers and summit before us.

263A6087-6DF1-4FD3-A6CA-13E87958B67COff to the side of the trail, there were climbers training for the same climb that Scott had made. We got off the trail to get in the picture.

7B2C22F7-0135-4FC9-BFEE-F3044B81A6C3We continued up the trail towards Panorama Point.


4855C684-C7BA-482C-8207-01F2377E6C80We befriended a park volunteer, Pete, who was eager to hear about Scott’s previous climbs.  In the picture below, Scott is facing the summit of Mt. Rainier, and Pete is looking at the valley below.

5A0D37FF-04CE-49F4-8C31-1F6B742ABB32As the clouds appeared to be dissipating, Scott got up to be ready to capture a glimpse of the summit.  You can barely see the summit in the picture below.

500C145E-2241-4A3D-A81C-93049138E3A5Here’s another shot.  Don’t blink.


04392B6E-6205-4607-A015-2E101886169BThere it is, right behind me!  That’s about as close to the summit that I will get!


There were more nice views of a glacier and waterfall on the way down.


While we sat around waiting for the clouds to pass, there were several frisky friends who came right up to us hoping for some food.   One of them climbed up Scott’s back and sat on his shoulder!

A46A3EE3-9D1C-4378-89E1-9F2C01783D98Then there are the OTHER furry friends.  They are more interesting in eating the flowers.

F5FBA7E4-ECC6-4AD7-BFB2-F255DC194C68The clouds were hovering over the summit, so we continued hiking on Skyline Trail loop.  The snow depth in some places was mind boggling.

DAAB1908-291A-416A-BAA2-25A557B225A7FC837FCD-6363-443D-800B-859D03F53AB2As we came down in elevation, the landscape quickly changed back to colorful flowers amidst the luscious greenery.

B116251E-16F0-46F7-837E-16F8AA395638The next morning, we broke down camp and headed to Palisades Lakes Trails, which is over by Sunrise section of the park.

FB28BF03-315C-4B2C-AE4F-1A92B472E1D6 The trails descends into a valley with many lakes to explore.

C7131F87-21F2-44C3-BA3C-A91158AC340FWe only went as far as Clover Lake due to time constraints as well as the rainy weather.






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