MT. RAINIER - 1961

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At the beginning of the summer of 1961, I was asked to join a climb up Mt. Rainier via the Ingraham Glacier Route. The most popular routes up Mt. Rainier are via the Emmons Glacier and via Camp Muir from Paradise up the Nisqually Glacier or Ingraham Glacier. The Paradise routes are a little more difficult, but popular because they are shorter and takes less time. There are guided climbs from Paradise for those routes. The Emmons Glacier route is longer but easier. Also the Emmons Route gains more elevation starting from the White River Trail-head. This climb was led by a friend and it included two of my math professors from University of Puget Sound. The climb had to be aborted because of a new ice-fall on the glacier and it would have taken to much time to find a route through it.

There were six of us in the climbing party. It consisted of the leader (Larry Heggerness), myself, the two math professors (Professors Lantz and Goman), and two brothers who were friends of Larry. We drove up to Paradise Inn parking lot from Tacoma on a Saturday morning. Paradise is at an elevation of about 5000 feet. We had to check in with a park ranger to register for the climb and to have our equipment checked. We then hiked up to Camp Muir which is at an elevation of about 10,000 feet.

The following link is to a Relief Map of Mt. Rainier National Park with the location of Ingraham Glacier.

Click here for Map of Mt. Rainier National Park.

spacer View of Mt. St. Helens. spacer On the way up to Camp Muir. This view is looking south towards Mt. St. Helens. This was before it erupted and lost its top. The range in the foreground is the Tatoosh Range. At this point we are above the cloud layer to the south.

spacer Mt. Rainier. spacer A view of Mt. Rainier as we approach Camp Muir. Gibraltar Rock is on the right side of the photo. Our summit route will be behind Gibraltar Rock.

spacer Camp Muir Shelter. spacer This is Camp Muire. As you can see it is a shelter built of stone with a wood roof. It is quite spacious inside, but is dark and damp because the only light comes through the door. Once the door is closed, it gets warm in there from body heat of the climbers, so it is comfortable. When the park service stationed a climbing ranger at Camp Muir, they erected a special cabin for the rangers, because the rangers did not want to live in the stone shelter. On the Emmons Route, Camp Schurman was a very comfortable cabin and well lit. The rangers were happy to stay in it. Thus the park service took it over after volunteers had erected it for use by climbers. It was also intended to be used for rescue parties.

spacer Gibraltar Rock. spacer Looking up at Gibaltar Rock from Camp Muir. Our route will be behind the rocks on the right side of the photo.

spacer Rest of climbing party. spacer This a view down towards Paradise from Camp Muir. That is the rest of our climbing party coming up the slope. Mt. St. Helens is to the left side of the photo.

spacer Little Tahoma. spacer We spent the night at Camp Muir and got up about 3:00 AM the next morning to start our climb. We started early before the snow would get slushy and cause us to sink in it. By leaving early, we could walk on the surface. Mt. Rainier is also known as Mt. Tahoma to the Indians in the area. It has had other names, but those are the two that stuck. We went around the base of Gibraltar Rock over to Ingraham Glacier. Part way up the glacier, the sun started to come up. This photo is looking down at Little Tahoma which is a small peak on the side of Mt. Rainier. The view is looking across a large crevasse that we had just gone around.

spacer Disappointment Cleaver. spacer We are at the point where we discovered that our route up Ingraham Glacier was blocked by an ice-fall. One rope team (three men to a 120 foot nylon rope) went over to Disappointment Cleaver to see if there was a way up on the other side of the cleaver. This is a photo looking towards the cleaver.

spacer Ice-fall on Ingraham Glacier. spacer This is the ice-fall that was blocking out way to the summit via Ingraham Glacier. If we had the time and had brought tents with us, we might have been able to find a route through or around the ice-fall. We had neither. We did not have the time or equipment to continue on to the summit. At this point the climb was called off. We stayed there for awhile until the sun came up taking pictures.

spacer Throwing in calculus book. spacer Larry Heggerness had just completed his math courses from Professors Lantz and Goman. His last course was a calculus course. He was in premed training for Dental School. He had carried his calculus book with him and in this photo he is attempting to throw it into the crevasse.

spacer Preventing throwing in of calculus book. spacer In this gag photo, Larry is about to drop the calculus book into the crevasse, while Professors Goman and Lantz are attempting to stop him.

spacer Crevasse on Ingraham Glacier. spacer A view of the crevasse in the previous photos from a different angle. The sun has come up by now and the snow is starting to get slushy. There was a possibility that some other crevasses would start to open, so we needed to begin our descent.

spacer Another view of ice-fall. spacer Now that the sun has come up, I was able to get another photo of the ice-fall from a different view. As you can see, it was not feasible to go around the ice-fall. We turned around and began our return to Camp Muir.

spacer Descending from Camp Muir. spacer After we returned to Camp Muir, we packed up our equipment and began our return to the parking lot at Paradise. This photos is looking back at the rest of the climbing party coming down from Camp Muir. We did not have to be roped together for this portion of the descent. Larry is in the lead and you can see bamboo poles sticking out of his pack. They were used to mark spots on the glacier on our way up that would be dangerous on our descent. The poles had red cloth squares on their ends.

spacer Packing up to go home. spacer We are back at the parking lot at Paradise. Larry is sitting on the tailgate of the station wagon, resting after taking off his climbing boots. It always amazed us that anytime we returned to this parking lot from any trip up the mountain, tourist would come up to us wanting to take our photos and asking us if we had been to the top. Even if we had just gone up to the Paradise Ice Caves or just a trip up to Camp Muir. If we said we had not been to the top, they would walk away. On some of my trips up there, we would tell them that we had been to the top in order to see their reactions.

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