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5 Reasons Why You Should Climb Mt. Rainier

 

The better question is why not? Mount Rainier is the highest glaciated peak in the Lower 48 States and is the perfect setting to learn essential snow and ice mountaineering skills. Your learning and experience on our Rainier climb will not only challenge you but it will prepare you for bigger mountains and other alpine objectives. Rainier is a “must do” challenge for all aspiring. 


 Here are some of our top reasons why you should consider our July trip and why going with San Juan Mountain Guides makes all the difference:

1. A Challenge For All Who Accept It: Not to deter you but to motivate the inner mountaineer within, it’s true that hard work is required for the best things in life – Mt. Rainier is no different. mt-rainier-2 As the Head Climbing Ranger for Mt. Rainier National Park, Mike Gauthier puts it, “As dangerous as Mount Rainier is, it’s not insane to climb it. You’re not hanging out over thin air dangling from a rope. It’s an exciting, adventurous endeavor. It is an attainable goal, if you put in the training.”  The highest trailhead requires the climber to gain 9,000 feet of elevation to reach the summit, as much as from Everest ABC to its summit! Around 10,000 people push for the summit each year for the challenge and the reward – the spectacular 360 view of Washington and beyond.

2. Active Volcano with Glaciers for Days: Somewhat ironic that Mt. Rainier is considered an active volcano and is also the highest glaciated peak in the lower 48! No other mountain is as extensively glaciated or has as much prominence. The scale and character of Mt. Rainier resembles that of peaks you would find in the Alaskan range which draws many to this diverse and unique expedition.

3. Experience The Kautz Route: The Kautz Glacier is a great intermediate climb, a bit more demanding and technically challenging than the standard routes. It is a good choice for people in good condition who have done some previous climbing; are looking to hone their alpine skills; and are seeking a greater summit day challenge.  The climbing may consist of 2 or 3 pitches of 50 to 60 degree snow and ice. Ice and snow protection is required as well as a second tool for this section. It is a great adventure for those who seek to swing ice tools on this vertical endeavor.

4. Accessibility to a Premiere Expedition: So your saying you can’t take two weeks to do an international expedition? Most people can’t! This makes Mt. Rainier a great option for those who want to experience a technical and challenging expedition but may not have the time to do a longer trip. Our program is a week long and flying into either Portland or Seattle makes it convenient for flight options.

5. The San Juan Mountain Guide Difference: Our Guides are meticulously selected because they are 1) fun to be with in the mountains, 2) incredible teachers and instructors, 3) recognized as the best athletes in their discipline – among the finest climbers and skiers in the industry, and 4) love what they do. Our guides genuinely enjoy working with every ability level from children or rank beginners to high end athletes wanting to learn cutting edge techniques and climb some of the hardest routes in the world. Our Company and each of our guides are AMGA or IFMGA Certified or trained.  These trainings and certifications insure that our clients are working with the best mountain practitioners in the industry.


 

Check out more about our Mt. Rainier Expedition this July 26th. Questions, comments? Contact us directly!

 

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5 Reasons Why You Should Climb Mt. Rainier

San Juan Mountain Series: Vestal Peak

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For the next couple of weeks we will introduce to you some of the most legendary peaks of the Mighty San Juan Mountain Range. No two peaks are the same and each provides a unique experience that is catered by San Juan Mountain Guides to ensure you some of the best adventures of your 2015 summer.


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Name of Mountain Range: Grenadier Range of the San Juan Mountains

Location: Depending on which approach you use, you can either from Molas Pass is necessary to reach the Animas River or a train ride on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad from either Durango or Silverton to Elk Park is mandated. the train is world famous as it is one of the few narrow gauge railroads left in existence. This unique experience adds an interesting start and finish to this trip.

Skill Set: The summit of Vestal Peak is sought by those who are interested in exposure and are comfortable with Class III, 5.4  climbing. We have taken a range of people with different sets of skills sets – from the “Father and Son” duo to those who seek the thrill and challenge that Vestal provides.

Peak Name and Description: One of our most popular trips in the summer is our 3 Day Vestal Peak via Wham Ridge. Vestal Peak (13,864 ft.) is one of Colorado’s most sought after Centennial 13’er climbs, and the Wham Ridge (III, 5.4) is quite possibly the best route in the entire Grenadier Range. The rock is of a much higher quality than the rest of the San Juans, and offers wonderful climbing at altitude.

History: Vestal Peak was first climbed in 1908 by William Cooper and John Hubbard. It is Colorado’s 77th highest peak and for peak-baggers, those chasing the centennial list (top-100 highest), it is a mountain often looked forward to climbing.

Why Climb it?

Arguably a Peak by Dr. Seuss: Vestal Peak is truly and utterly unlike any other peak in the state of Colorado. The unique shape and curvature of the peak that allows for mellow and gradual climbing is a miracle of nature. It could literally be a peak from a Dr. Seuss book with its summit curving outwards – it is identifiable as soon as you see it.

Ride the DSRR train: A relic of the mining trade of the 1880’s – 1930’s, the train is world famous as it is one of the few narrow gauge railroads left in existence. It allows you a glimpse into the Weminuche area and the Animas River that is only attainable by train.

A Colorado Classic: It can’t be denied. This is one of the most sought 13ers and climbs in the state of Colorado. For this reason it is a favorite for those chasing the centennial list (100 top highest peaks) as well as anyone truly wanting to experience a slice of the vast Weminuche Wilderness.


 How to Book Your Trip: Contact us via e-mail or call our Office 800.642.5389


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What others have to say about it…

Have been to Chicago Basin with SJMG twice. Could not have been happier with both guides. You run a great program and your guides really do represent SJMG well! – Bob A. Chicago Basin 14’ers 2010

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San Juan Mountain Series: Vestal Peak

Chicago Basin Ski Mountaineering 5/14

Heard from Dave via the SAT phone today. They are doing fantastic in Chicago Basin, enjoying the fresh snow. Today was a terrific day touring in the mountains. Tomorrow they will ski more and Saturday head back to the train to return to Durango. We’ll have a trip report and photos once they get home.

 

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Chicago Basin Ski Mountaineering 5/14

Chicago Basin Ski Mountaineering Course

Our epic spring ski mountaineering course is taking place in Chicago Basin of the Weminuche Wilderness. The team of three led by Dave Ahrens hiked in from the DSNGRR on Monday. Yesterday they had a great tour. Today, May 13th, is day 3. Received word from Lead Guide Dave Ahrens, all is well with the crew. It is snowing currently in Chicago Basin, Dave reported a foot of fresh at camp overnight. So, they may have spring powder conditions. Will update as we get word from the ski mo course.

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Chicago Basin Ski Mountaineering Course

San Juan Mountain Series: Mount Wilson and El Diente

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View of Mt. Wilson and El Diente

For the next couple of weeks we will introduce to you some of the most legendary peaks of the Mighty San Juan Mountain Range. No two peaks are the same and each provides a unique experience that is catered by San Juan Mountain Guides to ensure you some of the best adventures of your 2015 summer.


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Image from summitpost.org

Name of Mountain Range: Wilson Peak Range

Location: Near Telluride, Co. It is located in the Lizard Head Wilderness of the Uncompahgre National Forest, in the southern San Juan Mountains.  37.83920°N / 107.9908°W

Skill Set: The “Climber’s Traverse” stays on or very close to the crest the whole way.  It offers airy views and lots of 4th class and low 5th class terrain to negotiate.  The “Hiker’s Traverse” takes a lower line on the South side of the crest and reduces the amount of exposure.

Peak Name and Description: Both Mount Wilson/El Diente make up one of the most aesthetic ridge traverses in Colorado.  This long ridges sits over 13,000 ft for its entirety and offers an amazing way to climb both these classic 14ers in one day.  There are 2 variations depending on each climbers skill, exposure acceptance level, and daily conditions. This traverse is one of the Colorado’s “Classic Traverses” which makes it even more appealing for those trying to summit two 14ers in 1 or 2 days.

Mount Wilson | 14,023-foot (4,274 m): Mount Wilson is the highest peak in Dolores County – sometimes it may be confused with the lower peak of called Wilson Peak that sits below it. According to Louie W. Dawson, author of Dawson’s Guide to Climbing Colorado’s Fourteeners, Mount Wilson is ranked among the top ten. The standard climbing route ascends the North Face from Navajo Basin. Some permanent snowfields exist high in the basin (sometimes termed “Navajo Glacier”) and the climb usually involves snow travel.

History: The mountain was named not for President Woodrow Wilson, as some have suggested, but for A.D. Wilson, chief topographer of the U.S. Government’s Hayden Survey of 1873-75 (for whom nearby Wilson Peak was also named). Wilson was one of the foremost geographers and mountaineers of the 19th century. He not only helped to chart the topography of Colorado’s highest mountains, but also made the first ascent of five Colorado 14ers (Uncompahgre, Sneffels, Sunshine, and Mt. Wilson, in 1874 and Handies in 1875.

El Diente: El Diente is not considered its own mountain due to the traverse (in order to be it’s own, it needs to be at least 300 foot rise from the ridge to the next peak) which connects it to Mount Wilson. It definitely has earned it’s name as “El Diente” as the climb to the summit is a bit more committing, which requires technical skills and the possibility of roping up. Many choose to link both Mount Wilson and El Diente via the traverse.

History: El Diente, which is Spanish for the “the tooth,” was named by San Juan mountaineer Dwight Lavender (c. 1911-1934) for its appearance from the south.

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Photo provided by 14ers.com – click on image for original source.

Why Climb it?

  • Because there are options! There are different options of approaching the mountain depending on your skill set and objectives. These peaks give some of the most aesthetic views of the Southern San Juan Mountains as you are able to see for miles and enjoy the challenging but rewarding journey to the top.
  • Because its a challenge! The challenge is there but so is the reward. Hundreds climb Mount Wilson and El Diente and there is a reason for that.
  • Because its a short trip! These two very unique peaks provide the option of a traverse in 1 or 2 day span, depending on the objectives of the climbers.

“Because the Mountains are calling and You must Go!”

Common Question: Which approach is best suited for the Wilson/El Diente Traverse? 

“For our guests who are only doing Mt. Wilson & El Diente, we recommend the Kilpacker Basin approach, as it offers a relatively short backpack to the camping areas, and provides great access to El Diente’s S. Face route and subsequently the traverse over to Mt. Wilson.  Those climbers who would either like to see Navajo Lake, or are combining a climb of Wilson Peak with the other two 14’ers we recommend the Navajo Basin approach.”


 How to Book Your Trip: Contact us via e-mail or call our Office 800.642.5389


 

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San Juan Mountain Series: Mount Wilson and El Diente

Alaska Expedition 5/10

Just got word from Andrés. He and Chuck flew off the Root Canal to Talkeetna this morning. Great news! So happy they have made it to Talkeetna safely.

 

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Alaska Expedition 5/10

Moose’s Tooth Expedition 5/8

Andrés and Chuck doing fine in the Root Canal, they are waiting a good weather window to fly out.

 

 

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Moose’s Tooth Expedition 5/8

Alaska Expedition Update 5/7

All is well in the Root Canal with Andrés and Chuck. They attempted the Route Shaken Not Stirred on the Moose’s Tooth. Conditions were too warm to complete the climb. Their plan is to fly out of the glacier today. Will update once they are safe and sound in Talkeetna.

 

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Alaska Expedition Update 5/7

Ham n’ Eggs Climb 5/4

Received word from Andrés this evening. He and Chuck had a terrific climb to the summit of the Moose’s Tooth via the Ham n’ Eggs Route today. Full moon ascent. Cheers to them for the great effort. Tomorrow (5/5) they will rest up and decide what’s on tap next.

Here is a photo from an expedition last year to the Moose’s Tooth. Mark Miller guiding Ham n’ Eggs. Tributes to Mark as he dearly loved climbing in Alaska.

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Ham n’ Eggs Climb 5/4

Mooses’s Tooth Expedition 5/4

Our second expedition of the season to the Moose’s Tooth Formation (10,335 ft.) in the Central Alaska Range kicked off yesterday. Again, led by our senior guide Andrés Marín who is partnered with Chuck. The team flew into the Root Canal Glacier yesterday and established camp. Today (5/4) they will have a skills practice day and check out the route from below. Their main climbing objective is the classic Ham n’ Eggs (V, 5.9, AI 4) mixed, snow & ice route which is the prominent line to the summit of the Moose’s Tooth. The route is 18 pitches and has 2,900 feet of climbing to the glorious summit which has incredible views of Denali, Foraker, Hunter and Huntington. We wish Andrés and Chuck an awesome time in the Root Canal and all the best in their journey on Ham n’ Eggs. Stayed tuned for trip updates.

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Mooses’s Tooth Expedition 5/4

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