U outdoor program to summit Mt. Rainier

By By Chris Kamrani

By Chris Kamrani

The U outdoor recreation department continues its excursion of the Cascade Mountain regions with its next adventure being the most adventurous and difficult.

About 14,410 feet of Mount Rainier adventure to be exact.

The annual summer trip to the Washington-based Cascades for the outdoor recreation department continues in the Northwest. The department has already made the trip to Northern California in early May where it hiked Mount Shasta, the second-largest peak in the Cascade Mountain Range.

Nate Smith, trip coordinator and climbing expert at the U Outdoor Recreation Center, spoke of the immense difference Rainier brings to the table compared to mountaintops that the department has already summitted.

“This is our annual trip,” Smith said. “We summit Mount Baker and Mount Shasta, but (Rainier) is simply more of a climb. It becomes much more technical.”

Mount Rainier, located in Pierce County, Wash., is the tallest peak in the Cascade region.

The region surrounding Mount Rainier has the largest amount of glaciated areas in the continental United States, with 26 major glaciers around the mountain.

The Cascades feature non-volcanic and volcanic mountains in their three-state-long spread. Rainier features two extremely large volcanic craters at the summit. The two craters are more than 1,000 feet in diameter. Often referred to as “The Mountain” by residents of the major cities of the Northwest, Rainier last belted the scream of eruption in 1854 and geologists expect the peak to erupt again in the future.

Mount Rainier became the nation’s fifth national park in 1899 when former President William McKinley dedicated the park.

Smith and the crew will tackle the “standard mountaineering climb” of Rainier with strenuous training for the glacier climbs. Once the group reaches the craters, they will have the pleasure to enjoy and hike around them.

“This hike is a typical multi-day mountaineering climb,” Smith said.

It is one of the toughest climbs in the nation for a reason. Every year, hikers are turned down from reaching the summit because they’re not in prime physical condition. The outdoor department has advised that participants should be in very good physical condition and must be ready to work hard.

“I love snow, but I am more of a summer guy,” Smith said. “We have a really great overall program here. It will be fun.”

The trip includes food, transportation, experience in leadership and group equipment. The trip’s estimated cost is $325, including a mandatory $50 non-refundable reservation deposit. The trip is slated to run from June 23 through June 29.

In order to go on the excursion, students must attend the mandatory pre-trip meeting which takes place June 12 at 5 p.m. The group will go over rope techniques, ascending toward the summit, training information and trip details.

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The Associated Press

Mount Rainier sits just above the city of Tacoma, Wash. It is considered the most hazardous of all the Cascade Range volcanoes because it is closer too more populated communities.