John Guilford's Hikes
Camp Muir, Mt. Rainier on 2000-06-23
Location: Camp Muir, Mt. Rainier
People: (including myself): Joe Tarantino
My Alt. Real Alt. Miles
Lv Joe's House: 8:45
Lv Puyallup: 9:45
Start: 12:00 5420 5420 0
Panorama Point: 1:15 6600 6640 1.5?
Pebble Creek: 1:40 7120 7180 2.2
Camp Muir: 4:33 9960 10100 5?
Lv Camp Muir: 5:05 9940
Pebble Creek: 6:05 7100
Panorama Point: 6:20 6580
Down: 6:50 5440
This was another practice climb for my Rainier summit attempt coming up in
a few weeks. It was also an opportunity to climb at altitude. For this
climb I just took a day pack (instead of the gallons of water I've carried
on other recent hikes). I figured that climbing to 10,000' would be enough
of a workout w/out extra weight.
The drive down from Stanwood to Paradise is long. Even leaving home
between 7 and 7:30 we didn't start climbing until noon.
At Paradise it was a bit cool in a t-shirt with partial low clouds.
However once we were hiking we were plenty warm though not hot. It was
close to 57F most of the way up to Muir. It was warm enough that climbing
in a short sleeve shirt was comfortable, while cool enough that we didn't
excessively sweat. We did put on additional clothing while stopped.
There was significant snow all the way down to the Paradise parking lot.
We got our packs organized, put on sun screen, left our ice axes behind,
and started up with ski poles. I started off w/out any moleskin to see
how my feet would react. I had needed moleskin on my previous hike (though
I hadn't needed it on the previous three hikes). About a half hour in I
decided to put on the moleskin. I felt some rubbing and didn't want to
trash my feet this day as I had scheduled to take the RMI climbing one-day
class on the following day. I might have been able to do this climb w/out
moleskin but I didn't want to take chances. While I was putting on the
moleskin, Joe spied some marmots and got a couple of pictures fired off.
The way was easy to find and was mostly on snow, though there were bare
spots in the Paradise meadows where the way lead through the existing
trails (they want climbers to avoid going cross country and damaging the
After a quick switchback, you reach Panorama Point with the optimistic
sounding sign saying "Camp Muir 2.7 miles" (though it is still 3500' above
you). The path continues up passing Pebble Creek, the last running water
that you'll cross.
Joe found that his feet were a bit too cramped, due to his outer sock being
too thick. Stopping and removing the inner sock fixed that problem.
Soon we were above the cloud deck with good views of Mt. Adams,
Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Hood to the south of us. We made pretty decent
time up the Muir snow field. I was pleased with our progress. It seemed
we were moving faster than we had on my previous climb and I didn't feel
nearly as tired as I had before. The last time I recall having to do a
rest step and I had more issues with breathing. This time we moved at a
steady pace and I had enough breath to comfortably talk to Joe.
Some distance below Muir and whole army of day climbers poured out of Muir
and headed down. It felt like we were being invaded. Apparently a company
of soldiers had come up for a training climb.
At Muir we didn't find as many tents as on the previous visit. I didn't
see any tents north of the little ridge that the building were on, though
there were areas I couldn't see that might have hid tents. There were a
number of tents south and east of the buildings, a spot that was relatively
vacant on my previous climb.
The altitude didn't bother me as much as it did last time. I had a very
slight headache and just a trace of nausea, not nearly as much as I had
previously. It wasn't enough to affect my eating. I think having a bagel
instead of tuna fish probably helped too.
Due to the late hour, we didn't stay at Muir much longer than the time to
eat a bagel (I'd already eaten a bagel and an apple during the climb up).
We then headed down at a significantly higher speed than with which we came
up. During the descent I noticed that my lips were sun burned. While I
had put on sun screen, I hadn't thought to put on my sun block chapstick.
Inexplicably, it wasn't until an hour after I noticed my lips were burning
that I thought to put on the chapstick and try to limit the damage.
The clouds diminished during the day and it was clear by the time we got to
the bottom except for a Lenticular cap over the summit.
With the moleskin my feet did just fine in the boots. The only damage I
did was my sunburnt lips and a little too much sun on my nose and throat.
All in all I was very pleased with how well we did and how the climb felt.
It adds to my confidence regarding my summit climb coming up.
John heading up to Muir, crowd descending from Muir visible in background.
Joe near the top of Muir Snowfield, Mt. Adams in background.
Joe "Yee-Haw"ing it down a glissadeable slope.
Evening view of Mt. Rainier with the start of a lenticular cloud.
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Last updated on: Mon Jun 8 16:50:16 PDT 2015