Last week I told you that one of my New Years Resolutions is to summit Mt Rainier. Well this past weekend I took the first steps (literally – haha) to make that happen! I started the new year out with the first of many hikes in my attempt to get ready for the real deal in July.
Bright and early Saturday morning, Lori and I bundle up against the freezing cold and start out for Rattlesnake Ledge. At 4 miles round trip and 1160ft elevation gain, it’s the perfect hike to ease into our training. Fortunately for us, there’s no risk of running into a rattlesnake. Unfortunately, there’s a high risk of running into ice.
The early morning light through the trees is magical. It’s one of many reasons I prefer to hike first thing. There’s also less people on the trail and it leaves plenty of time in the afternoon to come home and get stuff done around the house or meet up with friends.
Less than a mile in, we hit the first icy patch. I had read up on the trail reports before leaving and knew to expect it, but I thought poles would be enough to get us through.
It doesn’t look too bad in the pictures, but trust me – that’s not snow, it’s ice.
We run into several more patches like this on our way up and unfortunately, poles aren’t enough to keep us on our feet (I still have bruises on my hips and knees!). About a switchback and a half from the top, we make the executive decision to turn around. We got the workout in and it’s getting too slick. Instead of attempting to stay on our feet and fall down the mountain, we slide down the icy parts on our bums. It’s actually really fun!
Despite not making it to the top, we laugh the whole way down. We have such a fun time on this hike even though we were a bit under-prepared. I’ll definitely be throwing traction spikes into my bag for next go round. It’s probably a good idea to have them for all hikes during the winter, just in case.
At the bottom, we stop by Rattlesnake lake for a bit of sunshine and to take a few photos with our Rainier beer. It’s the mascot of this journey, so make sure you follow along to see where it ends up next (and follow me on Instagram @lustforlifeandadventure #rainiertraining for real time photos)!
My general training plan for Mt Rainier is going to consist of weight training, yoga and cardio/endurance; similar to what I did for Kilimanjaro. As part of the cardio/endurance training, I’m hoping to get out hiking at a minimum, every other weekend. As I always do, I’ll be sure to share with you the highs and lows and photos of it all!