John Muir: “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.”
Muir and many others share so many remarkable footnotes about the experiences we all share in the mountains. They all have the same underlying message, “mountains are here to make us humble, to help us understand our place.”
Mt. Rainier was my big Pacific Northwest goal for this year. Residing in the Midwest it took planning and an organized logistical approach to make this adventure possible. The Big “R” has always been one of those mountains on my list, but it always seems to get put on the back burner for closer peaks in the west; Garnett, Granite, Wilson and Maroon Bell. Now with several buddies living in Portland and Seattle, a team could easily be put together and the logistics come down to only my worries of getting out to the mountain. This was the time to put the boots into Pacific Northwest mountain snow.
We decided on an early May ascent. A late winter ascent were the weather was a little more unpredictable but an attempt to miss the big summer crowds. Going into the adventure we all knew the level of risk and factors with a winter ascent.
I had talked to my buddy Jason Tanguay who has guided the Big “R” more then a 100 times, who said: “Those Rainier dates ARE really early, essentially a winter ascent. Won’t be crowded! It could be amazing, but you may get schooled by mountain’s weather.“
by Mark Jobman
Standing on top of a summit in Nepal, kayaking down the Gold River in Canada, climbing one of the hundreds of lines on Devils Tower, or just planning a weekend get away in your own back yard; a big part of the adventure is the planning process. The logistics of making sure you have the perfect route planned, the proper gear, the bivy locations, and the most important — someone along to help make the trip memorable. After all it’s not about the destination it’s about the shared experiences.
For most of us, we are wanna be dirt-baggers, weekend warriors, and evening indoor craggers. We have families, and careers that drive our Monday through Fridays. Thus the planning process becomes even more important to us. It helps us maintain our dreams of the mountains, steep trad lines, and quick waters. The fun is spending countless hours over maps, reading through guidebooks, emailing friends, and dreaming of the epics to come. It seems to make the adventure begin sooner and last longer.
Yes, I will be the first to admit that some of the best adventures are those that we can place up on the “lets just wing it” shelf. These adventures pose epics that create engraved memories and some remarkable campfire stories. Planning alone can’t take the epics out of adventure. Even on the most planned adventure something has to go wrong once a day. We just have to deal with it and move on to enjoy the moment.
This next week I head out to the Pacific Northwest to climb Mt. Rainier with a few buddies. A trip that we have been planning now for the past 6 months. It all started with a quick email, or phone call… “Hey you in?” From that point forward the adventure begins, dreams form and the excitement builds.