Stalking the Summit of Mt. Rainier

My good friend Jeff Handlin and his brother Scott just fulfilled a dream by attempting to summit Mount Rainier. “We found out there is no such thing as conquering a mountain; it can flick one off like a piece of lint anytime it feels like it,” Jeff said in an email to me. “But if one perseveres respectfully, it may deem worthiness and grant passage for a short time.”

Jeff and Scott battled steep slopes, crevasses and 50mph winds to earn their summit view at 7:30am Wednesday, June 15th.

“We agreed this was pretty much one of the hardest things we’ve ever done,” Jeff wrote, “but we were treated to one of the most grueling and rewarding experiences of our lives.”

Here are a few of Jeff’s photos from the climb.

camp, muir, rainier, snow, wind, sky, summit, mountain, mount, washington
At Muir Camp. Photo by Jeff Handlin
climb, camp, muir, rainier, snow, wind, sky, summit, mountain, mount, washington
On Disappointment Cleaver Route. Photo by Jeff Handlin
climb, camp, muir, rainier, snow, wind, sky, summit, mountain, mount, washington
Worth the Effort. Photo by Jeff Handlin
climb, scenery, camp, muir, rainier, snow, wind, sky, summit, mountain, mount, washington
A New Day on Rainier. Photo by Jeff Handlin

Congratulations, guys!

Published by ericwarren

Writer, photographer and filmmaker telling stories about the mountain west, esp. Montana, northern Wyoming and the greater Yellowstone Region.

106 thoughts on “Stalking the Summit of Mt. Rainier

  1. Um. WOW! Amazing accomplishment, and INCREDIBLE photos…

    I now return to my cup of coffee and Internet surfing…feeling a bit silly and unaccomplished after these pix…


  2. Wow! Congratulations and some very nice photos. I visited Rainier from the UK in 2006 and went as high as one could go before climbing was necessary. I was completely in awe of what I saw and fell in love with that mountain instantly.

  3. very good shots. and unique hobby. i believe it’s more like spiritual trip. or psychological trip to make your brain more peaceful.

  4. What stunning images from an equally stunning adventure.

    Out of interest, how high is Mount Rainier?

    I do wish I were a tad more athletically inclined, as it is, I remain athletically challenged!

    Thanks for much for sharing such an inspring post.

    1. It is 14,411 feet (4,392 meters) and its prominence is 13,211 feet (4,027 meters). Mount Rainier is the 21st most prominent peak in the world.

  5. I love to stare out the window and take in the immensity of this mountain/volcano when I fly into Seattle. These are amazing up close pictures of something I’ve only seen from a distance. I remember it seemed to be 30 minutes into our flight departing, and I could still see it! Awesome photos of an awesome mountain/volcano.

  6. Okay, that 2nd to last photo makes me dizzy. Congrats to your friends! Amazing journey and great shots!! Today I conquered getting my 6-year-old off to camp and getting to work. Lots of parallels between this and mountain climbing: tons of gear, lack of sleep, lots of trudging, a little crying (me), dragging of feet (him), breathlessness, and an amazing sense of accomplishment that we both made it to our respective locations on time!

  7. Nice photo essay on climbing one of the most dangerous stratovolcanoes in the world. The vivid photos in particular gave me a sense of what it would have been like climbing this icon of the Cascades. Thank you. Namaste…

  8. Mountains

    Are you stepping
    onto a reluctant foothold

    of some ancient stone pushed
    from the mantle in a fit

    of rage, its frost glossed surface
    a constant threat?

    Is your walking stick pressed
    into the loose remarks of shale

    that have lain in peace till now?
    When I lie down to sleep

    I am parallel to the sky as if God
    himself placed me prone

    upon the ground at birth just
    to contrast your dogged slant, my legs

    too short my vision too narrow
    to climb. Your mountains are real

    to you but a mere distant outline
    in my periphery a photograph spiked

    with small dark specs too far away
    for me to know for sure if I am seeing

    mountain climber or mountain goat
    and too near to heaven for someone

    as tied to earth as I.

  9. Brilliant photos – looks scarily sleep that snow slope though! My limit is the Scottish Highlands and British mountains in winter and I find them challenging – your trip is quite a few jumps above that!

  10. Congratulations! Glad that everyone made it back safe and sound! I’ve taken so many photos OF the mountain and always wondered what it would look like FROM the mountain! Thanks for sharing the great photos and your jubilation of conquering “the mountain.”

  11. Cool shots! A lot more challenging than Mt. Antero in Colorado which is a 14er and I have climbed/hiked. No snow either.
    Congrats on being FP!

  12. One of my favorite places. Early North Americans called it Tahoma, but no name really does it justice. I like the Goat Rocks just south of Rainier too.

  13. Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing. It brought up memories of climbing Mt Kinabalu in Borneo many years back. It was a similar height and we watched the sunrise with thunderstorms underneath us.

  14. OH, I love your pictures. It gets me totally into the mood for hiking and mountaineering. I want to do the John Muir Trail next year.
    There is nothing more beautiful and rewarding than being out in such a beautiful nature. Thank you so much for reminding me!

    Peace and Smiles


  15. Gorgeous photos; thank you so much for sharing your work! I love hiking and climbing, but my camera skills are sorrowfully lacking…

  16. The times in our lives that we remember are those when we put forth unprecedented effort, conquered our fears and did what we thought was impossible. It doesn’t need to be climbing a mountain…it can be as small as putting one’s foot on the floor and taking one tiny step. The point is the challenge, not the feat

    Nevertheless, what a feat!!


  17. Thanks so much for sharing! Mt. Rainier is in my hometown, and I now live in Australia… I saw your post in Freshly Pressed and OF COURSE had to read it… it made me so homesick! The photos are absolutely stunning! Congratulations on Freshly Pressed and Congrats to your friends on such an amazing accomplishment! Kim

  18. A decade ago I was standing way below the summit looking up, seeing at least two teams working their way to the top. The awesome grandness of the mountain and the effort they where putting in made me a richer person. The trail run down to the mountain station later was and still is to this day the best run I’ve ever experienced. Some day I hope to return and follow in your footsteps.


  19. Wow! Great perspectives! Summits are really great subjects for photography! 🙂 Congrats for being freshly pressed! ^^

  20. The above the clouds photos are simply amazing! Gorgeous and it looks to be so worth the effort!

  21. Really nice pictures. Interesting to see how different the ice looks in June compared to how it looked when I was there later in September in 91. You climbed on snow, we mostly climbed on ice sculpted by wind into “ice-waves” and gravel (from 11K to 12K). WOW, camp Muir had so much more show in your photo. I thought I was unlucky to experience winds or 50 to 80 mph, but from your blog, that sounds common. Nice job getting to the summit. I wish I could find my negatives and convert them to digital format to share.

  22. For a moment I was taken back 20 years ago, I was a resident of Tacoma Wa. I remember driving there from Florida and thinking to myself how much beauty that I’ve missed until I reaced that part of the country. Your photos are greatly appreciated………..peace

  23. What an incredible impressive journey climbing the summit!! That small path of ice is so impressive, dangerous too, but the panorama is breathtaking!

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