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Celebrating Mount Rainer National Park with Scott Rinckenberger
Posted on March 2, 2016

Looming

Of all the National Parks, few have as much personal meaning to us as Mt. Rainier, which looms above our Seattle-area headquarters. Today is the birthday of our local National Park, which was founded on this date back in 1899. To celebrate we asked local photographer Scott Rinckenberger—who has spent more time on this 14,000-footer than most folks we know—for his words and thoughts on the mountain that gives the park its name and gives us a daily visual reminder that the mountains are at our doorstep. —LYA Editor

Rainier at Sunrise

All over the world, there are stories of people who have found their passion, developed their skill set, increased their level, and eventually have been forced to take to the road to test themselves against something bigger than they can find at home. For me, as a photographer and skier based in Seattle, the bigger test has always been waiting right there on the southern horizon in the form of Mount Rainier.

Clouds stacking up against Rainier

By the time I was 25, I had been a sponsored freeskier for years, and had visited such proving grounds as Jackson Hole, Chamonix and Las Lenas. Yet, it took me years more, and subsequent development as a mountaineer and photographer before I was ready to answer the call of Mt. Rainier’s 14,410’ Summit.

Washington's tallest peak

My first trip to the summit would be a ski mountaineering mission. But that was far from my first time setting foot in Mt. Rainier National Park. In my youth we drove the family camping van to Ohanapecosh campground for weekends among the old growth timbers, splashing around in the river’s sculptured pools. When grandparents would come to visit, we’d take a trip to Sunrise Lodge to see the ferocity of the north face from a safe and comfortable distance where hot dogs and sodas were available with the view. Now, my preferred vista of the mountain is from the Ptarmigan Ridge on the NW side of the mountain. An area of unrivaled beauty, and the gateway to some of the largest skiable faces in the Continental US.

The view from the top

There will be a time when such places as the Edmunds Headwall and the Fuhrer Finger no longer hold interest for me. But regardless of that fact, I’ll continue to connect with and photograph Mount Rainier in a way that suits my life and my ever0-evolving sense of adventure. Which is where the true beauty lies; Mount Rainier National Park is one of the few places on earth that can offer a transcendent experience to every single person who comes for a visit. There’s a Rainier for everyone at every time in life, and I intend to continue our relationship till death do us part.

Until then, Happy Birthday, Mount Rainier National Park. Here’s to many more!

View more of Scott Rinckenberger’s work at ScottRink.com.

 

Author: - Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016
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