Friday, May 31, 2013

Getting the Boot on Ti'Swaq'

Ti'Swaq'  (Mount Rainier)
Ti'Swaq' (the sky, sky wiper, it touches the sky) is the composit native name for the highest peak in Washington, aka Mount Rainier.  It is a giant mountain that honestly dominates the skyline and forms a great dichotomy of ocean and altitude.
Bridget and I made our way to Washington to give this behemoth of a peak an attempt at spitting us off it's slopes, and it did, with great success.
We arrived right when the great high pressure system was collapsing and a prolonged unsettled weather system was approaching.  Once we checked out the weather we abandoned our plans at climbing the liberty ridge and set our sights on the standard route (disappointment cleaver).  We skinned up to camp Muir under perfect weather...
Bridget skinning up
View from camp Muir
During the night the predicted weather system moved in and we awoke to a world of white.  This weather system lasted for two weeks and no party summited during this time; Ti'Swaq' was boss.

We gave the peak a half-hearted attempt by climbing just below the cleaver on Ingraham flats, but I was psyched out by the roar of unseen avalanches ripping on the flanks of the peak, so we bailed.  Bridget and I skied the 5,000' ski descent from camp Muir to the paradise parking lot in a complete snowstorm, following faint tracks and buried wands in a whiteout.  It was still a sweet experience.

Above the clouds for a moment- pretty cool
Soaking the view in
Tent time!

which way is up?
We ended up heading to the Pacific Ocean to view the ocean life.  It was sweet!! I am always amazed by intertidal life, I just don't get it.  All the animals live on top of each other, eat each other, get along, and have bodies that are arranged in such a way that I can't figure out where their heads are.
sea otter


We even ran into the elusive Erik and his crab
A video on my sweet new knife I found on the Cowlitz glacier
On a serious note though: Bridget will be spending the summer guiding climbers on Mount Rainier.  If you want a badass (yet kind and gentle) guide ask for Bridget who is working with RMI (Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.)!
Cheers, Loren 

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