Friday, August 08, 2008


So intrigued was I by the big mountain during last week's RAMROD that on Wednesday past I headed down to Mount Rainier for a story I'll be writing for the Seattle Times about day-hiking to Camp Muir. It's an incredible place, the Paradise area of Mount Rainier, akin to Mount Baker's Heather Meadows-Artist Point Area. Only bigger. Much bigger. Below, a field of magenta paintbrush, which are everywhere up there right now.
From Paradise, elev. 5,420 feet, I set out for Camp Muir, elev. 10,000 feet, just a hair lower than Mount Baker's summit. Once on the Muir Snowfield (not a glacier so no crevasses to worry about), I followed boot track and wands that were still in place from earlier in the summer.
It's a strenous hike--about 5 miles with 4,700 feet of climbing one-way--but after about 3-1/2 hours I arrived at the below-pictured Camp Muir. It's base camp for most of the 10,000-plus folks who annually climb to the summit of 14,441-foot Mount Rainier.
Camp Muir is a whole village unto itself with climbing rangers (who pretty much live up there and have their own hut), a stone shelter for those who want to stay inside away from the elements (and likely wrestle with mice all night long), and several privies.
Below, check out the trail runner descending Camp Muir. I've no idea if he ran up too.

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