John Platt gave us some climbing beta and the idea that we should complete the climb in a day rather than spend a night halfway up. Good call John.
A car door slamming at 2:30AM woke me from a nice sleep. As much as I tried, I couldn't get back to sleep. The plan was to be on the trail by 5:00AM but I was up a little after 3:00 brewing coffee. It wasn't much longer before I kicked Dylan out of bed for our oatmeal and Hostess Ho-Ho (those things will kill you!) breakfast. We were walking by 4:00AM in a light breeze.
The best thing I like about hiking in the dark is the lack of awareness of the trail steepness. Don't know if it was because of the dark or the Ho-Ho's, but we were really cruising. When it became light enough to see, we were crossing what was left of Crescent Glacier on our way to making the Lunch Counter in about three hours.
At the Lunch Counter we stopped for a quick bite and enjoyed the views. There were quite a few tents set up all around and some of these folks had just started up Piker's Peak (the big false summit) ahead of us. At this point we started noticing that the wind was starting to blow some, but we were making great time as we passed several groups of climbers.
|Dylan getting ready to pass.|
|The boot path up Piker's Peak which doesn't look steep in this picture.|
|Dylan and the only available wind block|
|The summit as viewed from Piker's Peak|
|Cold but happy climbers.|
|Mt. Rainier in the haze.|
|Dylan beginning the glissade.|