Thursday, June 4, 2009

Camp Muir 5/30/2009

For a long time we were looking forward to Mt. Adams climb originally scheduled for June 7, 2009. From the very first time we started planning for Adams, we all agreed that Camp Muir would make a wonderful training opportunity for the weekend prior the climb since it's one of the rare places that not only challenges you to gain nearly 5000 ft of elevation but it also takes you to top elevation of 10,088 ft - higher than any other easily accessible hikes nearby.

The closer we got, the more obvious it became that we will not be able to climb Adams on the date we originally chose. With 5 ft of snow still covering the campground and trailhead just a week before the climb we estimated we would have to add at least 6 miles RT to this already extremely challenging route and reaching summit would be very questionable. We postponed the climb to the end of the month but with weather being at its best behavior we still decided to head to Muir.

Right from the beginning it was obvious that it was the perfect choice for the day. It was sunny and warm and Rainier welcomed us in its spotless beauty. Not even a cloud around its summit.

It was a long drive and we had a very late start. It was not until 11:00 a.m. when we hit the trail. The snow was softened by the shiny sun rays but with a well established boot track all the way to the camp, we had no problems with postholing on the way up.

We were not the only ones with the idea of visiting Muir on this beautiful clear day. As a matter of fact, it felt like everybody is going to Muir today. Few times I felt more like I got caught in a Thanksgiving Day Sale's line - long and moving very slowly - than being on a mountain trail. Fortunately this was the kind of line where skipping turns is OK if you have the energy to go ahead and pass.

It was truly a gorgeous day. Probably the best I saw on the mountain. We could not only see Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens but also Mt. Hood way in the distance yet so perfectly clear.

We took a short break at around 9000 ft. This elevation was notorious to completely suck my energy and get me out of breath before. Kind of my own personal Dead Zone. Every other time my energy evel dropped drasticaly after that point. Today was different. It seems like al my interval training paid off. I flew up the hill like bener before. Not once i run out of breath, not once I felt a need to take a short break to rest my legs.

In a very good spirit I made it to the camp. Andrew was already there and the rest of our group arrived shortly afterwards. We spend reasonable amount of time up there, chilling out, talking to people who will be making their summit attempts, observing groups training glacier travel.

It was very hard to leave but the clock would not stop ticking and finally we decided to say good bye for this time and head back down. Our descend was equally interesting with the same glorious views and little bit of glissading we had a good time getting back to the car.

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