Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Faces From Mount Rainier

©Bert Gildart: Representatives of the various guide services that help individuals ascend Mount Rainier say that to successfully complete the climb , you must be in the best shape of your life. The National Park Service adds yet another thought, saying that those climbers attempting an ascent stand the best chance of success if accompanied by a guide.

The past week, as those of you know who follow the blog Janie and I have maintained this past year recall, I ascended and descended Mountain Rainier. All totaled, the adventure required three days, and though I’m not sure I was in the best shape of my life, I was close to it. Nevertheless, the ascent was exceedingly difficult. I can also say that getting to the top was the result of a team effort and the help of several very good guides.

What follows in this posting is a series of photos of individuals in our group with a few comments about each. I suspect our group was somewhat typical, though perhaps on average, a bit older than most. I also suspect that we had our share of disappointments and achievements.

Paul Baugher

Paul Baugher

Heading the list is Paul Baugher, one of the owners of International Mountain Guides. With legs shaped like those of an elephant, the man is built for Rainier, and judging from the manner in which he was greeted by other guides along the trail, one of the best known. If I were in a bind on Mount Rainier, I’d feel comforted knowing Paul was leading the rescue party.

Aaron Mainer

Aaron Mainer

Aaron Mainer, another International Mountain guide, has worked for several years for this relatively new Rainier guide service. Though my experience with mountain guides is limited, Aaron, seems destined to become one of the most sought after guides. Personable, yet firm when times demanded, we hope Aaron’s former life here in the Flathead as a guide in Glacier National Park will require his return—and that he will take time to look us up. On our climb, he was the chief cook. As well, he was our mountaineer instructor on the day prior to our August 10 departure. From him we learned the “Rest Step,” some basic rope skills, and the techniques for self-arrest using our ice axes.

Jennifer Fogle

Jen Mowbray

As a friend of the International Mountain Guides, Jen Mowbray was a last minute add-on. Despite her gender, she was the one person none doubted would have any difficulty. In previous years, she has summited several times. When not climbing mountains, she works locally as an electrician. Once, when I was concerned that some of my muscles might give out, she encouraged me to continue, saying “we were a team,” and that she would “not be disappointed” if we did not reach the top.

David Bristol

David Bristol

My only disappointment was that my good friend David Bristol (a veterinarian) was unable to make it to the top. About two hours into the last day (We started at 1 a.m. to avoid avalanche danger), a nagging injury to his hamstring cropped back up and he had to return to our second-day base camp. Last year David reached the top of one of the Grand Tetons, so he is perfectly capable of ascending Rainier. The flare up was just bad luck! Contractually, a guide must accompany clients, so Aaron also had to return to base camp with David leaving Paul to lead those that remained.

Knox Williams, Aaron Mainer

Knox Williams, Aaron Mainer

Also in our group was Knox Williams, retired now from his work as an avalanche expert in Colorado. In years past, Knox, David and I have backpacked together in different parts of Glacier National Park. On this climb, Knox seemed tireless, despite his inauguration as a “grey beard,” albeit a young one. Aaron is to the right of Knox, and both are backdropped by Mount Adams and Mount Hood. We could also see Mount St. Helens.

Last, of course, is yours truly, pictured with my wife Janie on the window to the right. As the photographer in the group, I forgot to turn the camera my direction. Though my experiences in the mountains are certainly not the equal of some of the above-mentioned professionals, I am not a complete novitiate either. Highlighting my outdoor resume is a month-long unassisted backpack trip through the Arctic Refuge with Janie. Poke around this blog a bit and you’ll see the resumѐ could also include work as a backcountry ranger, kayaking, and some river rafting. Obviously I have more than a casual interest in the outdoors, and generally feel I can take care of myself.

In several days, I’ll be posting a blog about our actual climb.

4 Responses to “Faces From Mount Rainier”

  1. Andrew Says:

    Nice pics… when’s the trip report! :-D

  2. Bert Gildart Says:

    Andrew, I’m going to post a trip report in several days, as soon as I catch up on other business. In the meantime, I’m going to suggest here that people interested in learning more about climbing Rainier follow the thread back to your site. I thoroughly enjoyed your trip report.

  3. Andrew Says:

    Unfortunately, the trip reports weren’t mine. Maybe my post is a bit misleading. I’m planning a climb later next year and am getting the logistical nightmares out of the way now.

    I just wanted everyone to get a read of what is in store for me… along with many hours of physical training. I’m stuck near the Appalachians, so climbing Big Mountains will be a new experience for me.

    Thanks for the link back though.

  4. Jenni Fogle Says:

    The guide listed as “Jennifer Fogle” is in fact Jen Mowbray. I was not on this climb.