It’s always fun when I can use some of my climbing & hiking photography in my design work. This is the front page of the Huckleberry’s Natural News & Savings for June, 2014. It’s an 8 page savings guide that we do every month. The photo is from a backpacking trip I took in Montana. I will not disclose the exact location 😉
Some of you might know that I do all the design work for Huckleberry’s Natural Market. It’s work that I thoroughly enjoy. They’re a great company with a great mission:
“to produce for and provide our customers with the best tasting, most healthful food possible and to pledge a commitment to social and environmental responsibility.“
Today’s ad (above) features a photo I took years ago on a backpacking trip with my friend James. Nothing pleases me more than getting to use some of my adventure photography for commercial use (insert comment about selling out as an artist here), and then bragging about it on my website!
James and I were camped at a little lake for a couple of days before we decided to spend the last night up on the ridge. We hauled everything (including a few gallons of water) up to a great meadow on the ridge and made camp. The views were beautiful and we could see for miles. It was different camping up high on a ridge vs. by a lake in a valley. We had no access to water and we were severely exposed to incoming weather.
Late that afternoon we noticed very dark and ominous clouds approaching our location. We gathered as much firewood as we could to prepare for rain. We burned all of it waiting for the storm, then we called it a night. Half an hour later we had access to fresh running water in the form of a stream running through James’ tent. Thunder and lighting was cracking and flashing all around us. The sound of the wind and rain was like a freight train. A few hours into it I had to go to the bathroom. I was a little worried to leave the “safety” of my tent, but when nature calls you answer. I only walked a few feet away from my tent because the visibility was almost zero. I turned around to look at my tent and I could barely make it out in the “fog”. We were literally inside of a thunderhead cloud. The moisture was thick as smoke. I took a leak quickly and hurried back to my tent. The rest of the night was spent sleeping lightly in between loud thunder claps.
It was still raining the next morning. We somehow managed to get a fire going using James’ wet wood fire starting skills. The fire was nice but nothing could dry us out in that rain. We solemnly packed up all of our wet gear and bushwacked our way down the mountain for hours in the rain. 10 years later I scanned in some old backpacking photos and put one in a natural market ad. Totally worth it.
This famous local formation is one of my favorite places. Part of the incredible Selkirk Crest and visible from Priest Lake it rises 400 or so feet above the ridge it sits on.
Chimney Rock was my first traditional multi-pitch climb. That first time, we backpacked in the long way (6 miles vs. 3) from the East along the pack river trail. A memorable trip to say the least. Future trips have always been made from the Priest Lake side. Even though you hike up and over Mt. Roothaan on this route it is still much shorter. So far I’ve only climbed the Standard Route three times and a weird variation of the Rappel Chimney Route once – level II, trad 5.4 & 5.7 respectively.
This past June of 2010 we hiked in from the West side. The entire 3 mile approach was snow. It was a gloriously sunny day though, and we climbed the rock with no problems. Climbing the face surrounded by the basins and peaks covered in snow made that climb pretty special.
It’s BIG. It is the fifth highest mountain of the continental USA and the highest volcano of the Cascade Range. This massive mountain is the most heavily glaciated peak in the contiguous United States with multiple glaciers and routes of all technical levels. Mount Rainier offers an exciting challenge to the mountaineer. That’s why a lot of climbers attempt it.
So far I’ve attempted the climb four times with one successful summit. Not exactly the best track record. My first two attempts were fun trips even though we didn’t summit – one because of poor planning/training (newbs) the other because of bad weather. A third attempt finally brought success and some more great stories. My fourth attempt was a new sport for me; ski mountaineering (AT). Using gear that’s a cross between telemark and downhill skis enabled me to “skin” up like a cross country skier, yet lock those heels down for some serious alpine skiing on the way down. Poor training on my part stopped me from making the summit on that trip, but the ride down was incredible. Longest single-run downhill vertical ski of my life.
I have some great climbing buddies and we know our stuff so we’ve never had to fork over the big bucks for guide services. I hear they charge $1,000 plus! To each his own I suppose. I recommend taking a mountaineering course and climbing it with trusted friends instead of wealthy strangers. An annual climbing permit is only $30.
The reason I bring any of this up is simple. I need to jazz this blog up with some awesome photos of my climbing trips to Mt. Rainier. So without any further ado. Pictures!