A while ago I posted an article “My Life Like Lara” it included some pictures of Mt Rainier’s Camp Muir and the summit. This time I recently did an adventure by myself to Camp Muir. I feel this is far more as Lara would do than before, because, this time, I was solo, and she more than likely would be, too. I did this to prove my own strengths. It was spectacular, and I am very grateful for the experience and lessons it taught. I am stronger and even more confident than before. This makes me happy for I am an adventurer and love to enjoy and Explore the world, my tagline/motto.
If you don’t know about Camp Muir, it is a high mountaineering camp on the side of Mount Rainier 10,188’ It used to be called cloud camp which was a perfect name, for the clouds form up there over the Muir Snowfield and rest there a lot. They cause whiteouts, even in the dead of summer. If you do not know how to orient your compass bearings, magnetic North vs. true North, to account for the declination in your region, it becomes a killing field. It has claimed a lot of lives, so yes, you need to know survival skills and be a strong, expert climber and hiker to attempt this under the best conditions. Because at any time without any warning the weather can change in 5 minutes into a raging nightmare with 0 visibility. The mountain makes its own weather.
This is because, the Muir Snowfield and Camp Muir, which resides at the top of it, is surrounded by glaciers and if you miscalculate one bearing in a whiteout you could end up falling off a 1000’+ cliff onto a glacier below with crevasses so big it could swallow a semi-truck and lose it. So, in case a whiteout happens, you must be prepared. This is the alpine world, and the landscape is not so forgiving, and when you need to hang on to something your hand will not do so well in snow and ice. Ice axes are a must no matter the condition. Even in the soft snow, the field can be steep in the beginning, and you may have to climb up 30-50’ to the top of a slope and go on.
Trekking to Camp Muir is the kind of experience that allows you to see your target, Camp Muir, and think you will be able to be there in say 15 minutes or so. Think again, you will find yourself trekking up steep slopes kicking steps or cutting them into the snow/ice for maybe an hour. You look up and you appear to be no closer. LOL So, yes, it is quite deceiving. No, I do not recommend anyone going up alone unless you are a skilled climber/hiker or both. Also, if you fear heights do not go up there.
Now, after the introductions lets get into the album I created whilst up there a couple weeks ago. It was hot in the 80’s and that is not good for a snowfield such as this one. When you reach Pebble Creek at 7200’ you have to trek the Muir Snowfield the rest of the way all uphill to an elevation of 10,188’. It is a nice long field on the side of the mountain. Some of the inclines is about 30% but at the beginning, depending on melt off you could be looking at a 45% incline at the foot of the field. Yep, you trek over rock and straight up snow in my case a snow wall type of thing that required my ice axes to climb to the top of the first slope. It was about 40’ high. Keep in mind, I enjoy this sort of thing. You may hate it, for it is not for everyone and that is okay, too.
After that is a steady undulating of high steep slopes all the way up the remaining 2988’ all snow and sometimes a mix of ice and in late August starts deep and wide crevasses. The photos that follow are of my personal trek alone up to one of my favourite places: Camp Muir done July 12th 2018
Here is a video I took on this solo trek to Camp Muir that day at the top.
I had just gotten to Camp Muir and I didn’t want to take time to rest. The first thing I did was drop my backpack and rush to take a good panorama of the scenery. In this video you will see from altitude 10,188′ Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Hood and Mt Adams. There is also Gibralter Rock, Cathedral Rocks, Cathedral Gap, the Summit and Little Tahoma. This was a fun, adventurous day. I spent good time up there taking many pictures and along the way. Far more photos that are in this album. I only used a few to tell the story. I wanted to make this adventure solo and I did it. Just like Lara would have. I feel good, accomplished and am planning the next mountain adventure. Explore the world! But keep safty first.
NOTE: Do not try going up to this mountaineering camp without proper skill, preferably a guide and you should be in reasonable shape. You need plenty of stamina for this. Though it is only about 9 miles round trip, it will be one to remember. Most of all do not do it alone.
Explore the world!