Ed, Guy, Sherpa, Carol, Jay, Yvonne, Marco, Arm, Dani,
Terri, Bruce and Seema
Day Two – Travel to Camp Muir
We started our day with a great breakfast and then the drive to Paradise
to check in with the Rangers and begin our journey. The weather has now
changed to low clouds and cooler temperatures. We followed the Skyline
Trail and soon entered the clouds. The trail starts with an
asphalt-paved trail for about half a mile. The trail then changed to a
groomed gravel and dirt trail for 1.7 miles making the start of our
ascent easy. Soon we reached Pebble Creek where we stopped to regroup,
ate and hydrated before we stepped onto the Muir Snowfield.
The VFTT West Coast Invasion Group.
Traversing the Muir Snowfield is accomplished without crampons and
generally follows established boot paths. It is an unrelenting ascent
for the entire 2.2+ miles. With the cooler temperatures, the going was
easy without the usual slipping in the softened snow. The visibility
above Pebble Creek was limited and at times was around 50 feet. We made
a couple of stops along the way to catch a few minutes to rest. These
were at the location known as Moon Rocks and then a small rock
outcropping between Moon Rocks and Camp Muir. Our group did spread out
some, possibly as much as a mile before we reached Camp Muir.
Ascending the Muir Snowfield.
At 9,000 feet, the clouds would start to clear and we could see Camp
Muir. It was awesome to see our goal. As we looked up at Camp Muir, we
could see past Gibraltar Rock and all the way up to the snowfield before
the summit. It was inspiring to see that sight. Even though I have been
there three times before, the impression felt like the first time.
Travel conditions at times
were reduced to 50 feet!
During our ascent of the snowfield, we would see RMI led groups and
other independent climbers, some looking like hell struggling with the
ascent, others just cruising along. Our group was strong which attests
to the months of training we did since March when we committed to this
goal. RMI targets 5 hours 15 minutes for the trip to Camp Muir. Some of
us beat that time – way to go!
Jay and myself landed in Camp Muir around the same time. Others followed
within a few minutes and the last team members about an hour later.
Once in Camp Muir, we located existing tent platforms on the snow field
where we could start our little VFTT community. The public shelter was
scheduled to be closed for one month for maintenance, but the poor
weather prevented the workers from flying in, so the rangers said we
could use the shelter one more night. Some of our group took up the
Our tent city goes up.
I located a nice tent platform with snow walls where I could place my
little Black Diamond Firstlight tent. With some additional clearing of
snow for the vestibule, the tent was in place and ready for use.
Unfortunately, I could not completely level out the platform and during
my stay, I would slide toward the other side with every move. This made
sleeping difficult as I tried not to roll onto my tent partner.
The energy level was high and everyone was in good spirits. Many have
never been to this elevation before and the experience of getting to
Camp Muir made everyone giddy with delight. Sherpa was seen with a
permanent smile and thumbs up for the entire evening.
The main goal of our evening was to start melting snow for water. Arm
set his stove up next to some “Human Waste” containers that offered good
protection from the wind. We melted and filtered gallons of water that
evening. We talked to Jeffery (Sir Edmund on VFTT) who was with the RMI groups
for a summit bid that same evening.
Throughout the day and early
evening the winds howled making stove usage and tent preparations
challenging. The weather started to calm down as dusk came upon us. The
low cloud level started to move away opening the region around Rainer up
to some fantastic views. During the night, the winds would return and
cause our tents to flap loudly, just enough to prevent a good nights
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