Last year during my training for Kilimanjaro, I climbed McClellan Butte a couple times. If you read that post, you’ll know I didn’t make it all the way to the top due to the heat and a rather bothersome pain in my hip. The time before that, the view was blocked at the top and we just saw a wall of grey. So this year, I decide to try again as part of our training for Mt Rainier.

We’ve slowly been building up to harder and harder hikes every week as we get closer to our actual climb. With only a month left (at the time of this hike), we’re finally into the “expert” level hikes. Yikes! As usual, we’re at the trailhead by 730am. And unfortunately, it’s cloudy and slightly raining. Darn it!


One of the things that makes McClellan Butte hard is that for the first mile and a half or so is quite easy. You don’t gain much elevation, which means that it’s all in the last 3 miles, you have to make up for it.

Check out those views.


The higher we get, the wetter and rainier it gets. There’s even snow!






We’re soaked!

About 45 minutes from the top, we come across a tree down on the trail. Now is probably a good time to mention we’re carrying about 50lbs in our backpacks. It’s not fun, and it makes balance a bit tricky at times. I climb up onto the tree and walk across it, balance beam style, but it’s very unsteady. Lori tries, but it’s just too tricky to navigate and injuries at this point would be fatal to our Rainier dreams. It’s just not worth the risk. But we’re sad not to make it to the top.


To be honest though, I don’t mind getting out of this weather quicker. I’m drenched to my bones and nothing sounds better than warm pajama’s and some hot tea. We head back down the trail and manage to get home at a reasonable time. Only 2 more hikes left in this crazy training thing! Up next, Granite Peak!

Rainier Training Hike: Granite Mountain
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