Peter Whittaker has climbed Mt. Rainier 240 times. Even for the co-owner of Rainier Mountaineering Incorporated, that triple-digit summit stat is a stunning number. Yet each time Whittaker leads a team on the long walk up the peak, the images are both powerful and distinct. So when Whittaker guided an Eddie Bauer team to the 14,410-foot summit last week, on his 240th successful round trip, his perspective was colored with the experience of a guide who has seen many aspects of, and angles on, Washington’s most iconic mountain. We asked our alpine team captain to pick favorites and caption his experience. This gallery is a personal perspective on summit climb number 240 for a man who is still awed by the views and the vistas on a peak that looms large above our home state. —LYA Editor
Captions by Peter Whittaker, Images by Jon Mancuso Photography
Above: A new day begins, sun popping the horizon on Columbia Crest, 14, 200 feet. Top: On the approach before Pebble Creek, while a Marmot drops his load, 6,500 feet. L to R: 1. The Eddie Bauer Rainier team, the before shot at 5400 feet. 2. Moving up the Muir Snowfield while Mt. Adams looms behind, 7,400 feet. 3. Settling in for the night at Camp Muir, while testing the Power Katabatic, 10,000 feet.
Top: Go time at 12 am. Early alpine start, 10,000 feet. L to R: 1. Rest break at 3 am above Disappointment Cleaver, 12,300 feet. 2. Making our way to the true summit above the crater rim, 14,300 feet. 3. The Eddie Bauer team on top, 14, 410 feet.
Top: Beginning the second half of the climb: the all important descent. Crater rim with steam vents on the left, taken from 14,410 feet. L to R: 1. Spicy Crevasse crossing on the Ingraham Glacier, 12,700 feet. 2. Climb almost over…about an hour from re-entry back at Pebble Creek, 7,200 feet. 3. Celebratory post-climb beverage.
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