Mt. Rainier "Petal" trek, a 112 mile, 43,000 vertical leg burner

Mt. Rainier "Petal" trek, a 112 mile, 43,000 vertical leg burner

What to do for 2017? I always have some goals for each season, and this year is no different. Last year I completed the Mt. Rainier Grand Tour and in the doing explored new places and enjoyed solitude in this fantastic park. This year I wanted to notch it up a bit, in elevation that is. I have concocted a trek around the mountain that breaks off from the Wonderland and forges as high as one can get without getting into mountaineering. Unlike the Grand Tour, this trip may require more specialized equipment like crampons and ice axe, as the goal is to forge as high as possible in certain areas until stopped by technical terrain, ascending into the 9 to 10,000 foot level. My explorations have identified areas where this could be accomplished solo: the Success Cleaver, the Puyallup Cleaver, the Russell Glacier, Curtis Ridge, Steamboat Prow, and lastly the ever popular Camp Muir. You may notice from the map (Longmire start/stop at bottom) that there are a few shortcuts, namely leaving the Wonderland at Fishers Hornpipe Creek and proceeding through Pyramid Park to the Success Cleaver, utilizing Knapsack Pass from Mowich Lake, and descending the Russell Glacier into Seattle Park and crossing the Carbon Glacier at accessible points on either side. After that, Curtis Ridge, Steamboat Prow (shortcutting to Glacier Basin from Skyscraper Pass) and Camp Muir are fairly straightforward, with the trek to Camp Muir on well established routes. You'll notice on the map that I have juxtaposed the Petal route over the Wonderland where it utilizes the trail, and that planning wise after Steamboat Prow the remainder of the trip is pretty mellow. I have an ulterior motive for this itinerary; I am considering biking to the park from home and back, 97 miles each way. Now that's a challenge.