Camp Muir/Birthday Hike, July 2017

Camp Muir
Date: July 12, 2017
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 9 Miles / 14.5 Kilometers Round-trip
Elevation Gain: 4,700 Feet / 1,433 Meters
Time: 6 to 7 hours
Location: Near Ashford, Washington
Users Group: Hikers / Climbers Only
Permits: National Park Pass
Trail Conditions: Dry to Snowpack
Hiking With: Matt Kerby

The last time I hiked up to Camp Muir was 4 years ago so it was time to knock it off again. Plus…I was looking for something big to do locally for my 57th birthday. I asked my good friend Matt Kerby to join me on my birthday hike. I picked up Matt in Bellevue at 4:00 a.m. and we made it to the Paradise Parking lot by 6:15 a.m. There was only maybe 12 to 15 vehicles in the upper parking lot…good timing on our part.

We started at 6:50 on Skyline Trail and finally hit constant snow near Glacier Vista where we ended up putting on our hiking spikes. I have been using these mini-crampons for most of my winter hiking, but I will probably bring my full size crampons next time for extra grip on the Camp Muir snowfield.

This was maybe my 10th time on Muir and it’s always the same…tough and real tough. I always pick sunny days for the photos and safety factor, but with sun brings heat and sunburns. I was wearing full length pants and a long sleeve shirt to reduce the need to lather up on sunscreen all over except for my face.

Matt and I are both strong hikers but it still took us 3 hours and 45 minutes to reach Camp Muir, we wasn’t in a hurry and we took many water/snack breaks along the way. We took our time on top…lunching, bullshitting and taking random photos. The climbing teams must have hired a helicopter to haul trash/empty fuel canisters…it was cool to see a copter up a 10,000 foot mountain.

We got back to the car in 2 ½ hours and left the parking lot around 2:30 p.m. We skipped the Paradise Inn beer because I told Matt that Linna wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t get back home by 5:30 p.m. She was having my birthday dinner at the house with 2 other couples. Well…I had no idea that she was throwing me a surprise birthday party and Matt was in on it. Matt made sure he was keeping me on track for time…there was a bunch of people at the house waiting for us.

Camp Muir Hike, June 2013

Camp Muir
Date: June 4, 2013
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Distance: 10 Miles / 16 Kilometers Roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 4,600 Feet / 1,402 Meters
Time: 6 to 7 hours
Location: Near Longmire, Washington
Users Group: Hikers / Climbers Only
Permits: National Park Pass
Trail Conditions: Snow All The Way
Hiking With: Me and Gustav Brandt

I told myself that the first sunny day in June, I was going to knock off Camp Muir….well that sunny day happened today. I usually hike up to the base camp once a year only when I know it’s going to be a beautiful sunny day. Damn….was it sunny too, I thought I applied enough sun block but I must have been wiping it off with my glove because I ended up looking like a cooked lobster on my forehead and nose.

Hiking up a long snow route all day can be boring unless you have another person to enjoy the pain with you. My hiking partner today was Gustav Brandt, a young man from Malmo, Sweden. He is currently an exchange student living with a co-worker friend of mine in Seattle in the Capital Hill neighborhood. This was his first time on Mt. Rainier and I know he will be back next year to ascend beyond Camp Muir for the summit.