Bill, George, Jane, and I (Manrico) did a very unusual trip in 1980. We climbed Mt. Rainier in Washington State via the Kautz Glacier. That part was not unusual since the Kautz Glacier route is climbed often. The unusual part was that we camped in the summit crater at about 4,300 meters (14,400 feet). Our plan was to camp once on the way up. Then climb to the top carrying our full packs and descend the standard Disappointment Cleaver route camping again lower down on that route.
Everything went as planned until we reached the summit in the mid-afternoon. Even though we were tired and feeling some effects of altitude, we had enough energy and time to descend as planned. The current weather and the forecast for the next few days was excellent: sunny skies, relatively warm, and no wind whatsoever. We said to ourselves “why not” and decided to camp in the summit crater.
I think very few people have camped on the summit of Mt. Rainier, which is the highest peak in Washington State and one of several big volcanoes on the west coast of the US. Others started arriving at the summit crater by the normal route as we were having breakfast. (They must have left their camps hideously early in middle of the night.) Those people must have thought we were crazy and perhaps we were.
This was a fun and very memorable trip because of the excellent climb and our very unusual campsite.
Now the photos which are Kodachrome transparencies scanned in 2022. Unfortunately many of the transparencies have degraded with time even though they were stored properly.
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