Donations Page

If you would like to donate, Please click on the following link. We greatly appreciate your donation. :

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Here is a detailed account of our journey to the summit of Rainier...enjoy!!

Saturday August 11th - 5:15AM
We met for carpooling at the usual place, the park & ride on 65th near Greenlake.  The plan was to leave early enough to get to the White River ranger station right when they opened (7:30am) to register our climbing permits.  

After registration and a final "pit stop" we parked at the White River campground and began to load up our gear for the 5000ft hike up to Camp Sherman.  One quick group pic and then we set out on the Glacier Basin Trail,  shortly before 9am. 

No more than 20 minutes into the hike, we 
had our first glimpse of the goal.  The sight of it must have been inspiring because we were on a tear, the pace of the entire group was pretty brisk and we were making great time.  This was despite a few of us not sleeping much the night before due to nervousness, anxiety, and maybe some last minute packers.  Though I will say that with every trip, the time it took to pack my bag improved dramatically, reducing pack volume...not so much.

A little more than an hour in we reached the end of the maintained trail and shade of the trees, we took a short break to filter water and refuel.  The easy part of the hike was now over and our climb was about to begin for the day. We hiked up few hundred feet more before running into the Inter Glacier where we stopped to change footwear and prepare for the snow.

It was a long steady climb up the slope and a good warm-up for what was going to come in the following days.  We made good progress up it and before you knew it we were at 9000 feet and only a short traverse away from our base camp.  Overall we were making great time.  For the last stretch of the climb we needed to rope up as the "crevasses" were now in play for the rest of the trip.  After a quick over and around a couple crevasses we reached Camp Shurman (9500 feet), our home for the next 48 hours.  

We quickly set up camp and began melting/filtering/boiling water and settling in to our new digs on the mountain.  It was a relaxing and beautiful afternoon to be up there, the weather was perfect and the views spectacular.  Most of us called it a night pretty early and were in bed before sunset to tired to stay up and watch the Perseid meteor shower in its prime. 

Sunday August 12th
We had the luxury of sleeping in this morning to rest up for the night ahead.  I woke up wearing virtually everything I brought on the trip, throughout the night I had to keep adding more and more layers, sleeping on the snow turned out to be colder than expected and my lightweight 50 degree bag didn't cut it.  After boiling more water for a warm breakfast we lounged around camp for a bit before roping up for the crevasse rescue practice on the glaciers.   First brave volunteer of the day was Will, he stayed down there for quite some time while we tried to remember how to set up the Z-pulley rescue system, it's a little more difficult in the snow than on grass.  Eventually we got it figured out and pulled him to safety, asking ourselves why did we throw down the biggest guy on the trip.  So for practice round two we put down the smallest of the climbing party, Sarah, much easier to pull up.
How many MBA's does it take to set up a Z-Pulley system?

The afternoon was the highlight of the day with a nice friendly game of extreme alpine bocce ball.  We divided into teams creatively named Yellow, Blue, Green and Red.  The game was to 7 and dinner was to follow.  Team Yellow (Amy and Kalen), got off to a fast and furious start winning three points in a row before anyone else was on the board.  The rookie bocce ball playing duo never looked back and dominated the competition taking the gold medal with a decisive four point margin of victory and bruising Scott Heinz' ego in the process.
Team Yellow - 2012 Rainier Bocce Ball Champions

Following bocce we once again began boiling more water for dinner and to replenish our reservoirs for the upcoming night climb to the summit.  Shortly following dinner most of us headed back to our tents to organize our packs and get as much rest as possible.  Departure time was midnight so a couple hours sleep was all you could expect at best.

Monday August 12th
Departure hour was here, we woke up in the dark to a clear, star-filled sky complete with a decent meteor shower.  With our headlamps, packs and harnesses on, we rope up into three different teams got on our way.  We departed exactly on time, I think that was a first for the group.  I was ready to get moving to get warm again.  
Climbing in the dark was very surreal, with the city lights of Seattle and the suburbs to one side of the sky and streaks of meteors passing through on the other side.  The first part of the climb was slow going, being later in the season there were more crevasses to traverse around and over, the first hour we didn't gain much vertical but navigated some challenging terrain.  After that things got a bit steeper but for the most part we were making pretty good time as a group.  The next couple hours in the dark we gained a couple thousand feet and passed over and around a few more crevasses, a few of the crossing were a bit nerve-wracking, I was okay walking next to them but always nervous walking across.  With the sun beginning to rise shortly after 5am, we headed into the last part of our climb. One rope team led by Scott took a different easier route to the top (just so he could get there first) and the other two rope teams led by Erik and Anders took on the more challenging route and slower route to the top. 

I was on the steep challenging route and literally crawling up the mountain at this point cause it was too steep to stand and not fall backwards, I'm glad we did this section as it was getting light out.  This was the last "test" of the climb, the remaining couple hundred feet to the summit were well tracked and bit more gradual of an incline. 

We pushed along at a steady but not so vigorous pace and made our way to the rim of the crater. There we de-roped, removed our crampons and took a short walk up to reach the true summit for photo time. 

Our approach was on the northeast side of the crater and the true summit is located on the northwest side. We reached the summit around 6:30am.  We snapped a bunch of individual photos an then when it was time for the group shot I heard the news that we forgot the Foster MBA banner at base camp, but we did have a can of Foster beer as a back-up.  

After a short rest, we geared up and headed back down to retrace the 5000 feet we just got done climbing.  The climb down seemed to get easier the further down we went.  The warmer temps and softer snow were welcomed by me and my feet.  It was interesting to see what exactly we climbed over earlier in the dark.  
We reached base camp around 11:30am, it was so nice to unload the pack take off the shoes and lie down for an awesome nap.  A couple hours later, we packed up camp and headed off for another 5000 foot decent back down to the car.  We had to rope-up one last time, before we got rewarded with a 2000 foot glissade down the Inter Glacier, that made quick work of the last section of snow.  Next order of business was changing out of all our snow gear and back into summer hiking clothes to finish the last couple miles of the "maintained" trail.  

For some reason this section seemed to go on and on and on, I didn't recall the hike in being so long, but that seems to always be the case of return trips on hikes.  We reached the cars around 5pm and packed up to hit the road.  

We made one final stop in Enumclaw for the traditional post-climb meal.  And what else would you pick in Enumclaw than a mexican restaurant named after a city.  Mazatlan was everything you could imagine a mexican restaurant in Enumclaw would be and then some.  I recommend you never go there unless you like bad food, decor and service.  Scott, since you organized the climb you will get a pass on this one.  After a what seemed like an eternity we finally settled our tab headed back to Seattle.  We made it back to the park and ride around 10pm unpacked the cars and headed home for the best night of sleep ever.  My shower and bed never felt so good!!  

All in all it was a great weekend and a huge success.  The training and work we put in over the summer definitely paid off, everybody go up to the summit and back down safely.  This was an amazing experience and something I will remember for the rest of my life.  It was a great way to end my Foster MBA experience, definitely something unique that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to do anywhere else.  Congrats to everyone on the climb! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Final Countdown

The excitement around here is buzzing.   We are doing our final preparation and fundraising push.  We greatly appreciate all the support from everyone who donated so far.   The Emmons route is our objective. The weather forecast for the weekend looks spectacular and we are all set for the climb.  Below is some more information on the climb:

Mt. Rainier, Current Climbing Conditions:
Alpine Weather forecast:


The route ascend the trail from White River campground at 4400' through glacier basin and to the interglacier.  From here we ascend left up and over camp Curtis, onto the Emmons Glacier for the first time and around Steambow Prow to Camp Sherman at 9600'.  Sunday will be our rest day when we do our final crevasse rescue practice and acclimate.  At midnight on Sunday we wind around crevasses between the Emmons and Winthrop glacier for a total of 5000' of gain before reaching the crater rim.  From here we traverse the crater rim and hope to hold the Foster banner up proudly from the Summit of Mt. Rainier!!.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Who Knows?? - Mt. Sahale Climb

As one of the last main tests and challenges of our preparation for Mt. Rainier, we did a glacier climb of the Quien Sabe glacier on Mt. Sahale.   Mt. Sahale is located in the heart of cascade pass and nestle among some of the most beautiful and spactacular mountains in the North Cascades. The North Cascades is probably the most covetet mountaineering destination in the lower 48.  It doesn't have the same grandeuar as Mt. Rainier, but I would personally consider it an all around more magical place.   In my 6 years of mountaineering and leading trips I had been to the north cascades dozens of times, but never climb Mt. Sahale, so this was exciting to take the group up here.  

After settling in for the night at the trailhead, we watched the low clouds and fog settle in around us.  We left under much the same conditions at 5am.  The climbers trail follows a steep route through underbrush, and over snow melt drainage creeks.  It took about 6 hours to reach the upper basin.  By this time the fog had finally cleared, but huge fluffy clouds were threating from behind and looked poised to engulph us. 
At this point we roped up and went over some last minute details before ascending the glacier.  The views in the basin were spectacular as we watched the sunrise over the ridge and the crystal clear sky all around us.  At this point the clouds dispersed in various directions.

We ascended the glacier for the next 3 hours and covered over 2500' of gain.  This brought us to the summit ridge.  Having never been there before, I wasn't completely sure how to navigate the summit block.   After hearing some beta about the summit pinnacle, We made the decision to leave the summit for another day because the team wasn't equipped for the rappelling and additional mountaineering skills, which won't be necessary on Mt. Rainier.    We took our summit shot from the top and headed down.  At this point the clouds had rolled back in and we leaft the summit under complete white out. 

About a 1000' lower down the clouds again cleared and we were treated to more spectacular views on the way out.   This was certainly a challenging day with 5500' of gain in one day and for many, their first experience on glaciers navigating large crevasse fields.
With this last challenges every seems confident and ready for Mt. Rainier.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mt Adams

The weekend of July 7th & 8th 15 of us hiked Mt. Adams in preparation for Mt Rainier. We left Seattle at 6 a.m. Saturday, drove 4.5 hours down to the Hood River area, checked in/bought permits at the Ranger Station and then drove to the trail head. We took off around 1:30 pm from 5600' and hiked up to "Lunch Counter" to camp at about 9000'. It was a pretty good challenge as it was HOT on the exposed slopes with sun reflecting off of the snow at every angle. (But it was hard to complain about the great weather!) We made it to camp around 6pm, set up tents (although there were quite a few people up there it didn't feel too crowded because there are little rock barriers all around (we didn't have to camp in the snow on this one). We had 2 man tents so we had our own little tent city for our group! Melted snow (or dug in the snow to find water already melted, genius!), made dinner and crashed! We were lucky with a very mild night and no wind. Up at 5:00 a.m. to attempt the summit. Crampons, check! Ice Ax, check! Helmet, check! Really uncomfortable boots, check! My group summitted 12,200' in about 2.5 hours, took the obligatory pictures (braving gale force winds) and prepared for some awesome glissading down. I tried the plastic bag technique but it didn't work that well, my butt got so cold! Back to camp, quick lunch, packed up and headed down.The lower portion as we approached the trail head got a little painful (as it always does, no matter how far you are from the car) because it was another hot day and a long time in the sun but all in all, a really fun trip! Now Mt. Baker this weekend!

Here is a pic of a subset of the group on th summit!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mt. Ranier Basecamp

This year we have had a string of badluck when it comes to weather.  We had many planned trips over the course of spring or summer that had to change course due to weather.  But as always, you can't rely on the weather til July 5th around these neck of the woods.  But that hasn't always deterred our group. On july 1st a group of us were all set for a conditioner on Mt. Adams when the stormy clouds descended on Seattle.  Not wanting to drive the 5 hours to get rained out, this years group decided to get our first taste of the Mt. Rainier itself.  We arrived to Paradise to socked in weather that appeared to blanket the whole mountian. 

It appeared that it might not clear up, but after ascending into the abyss for several hours we broke out and got our first glimpse of the mountain itself.

As we ascended higher we were treated to amazing views and could see the tops off all the surrounding volcanoes.  Standing above the clouds that engulph the northwest is an experience in itself, and doing it while staring at the intimidating nisqually ice cliffs makes the whole experience surreal.

The whole group made it to Camp Muir, standing over 10'000 tall, which is the basecamp for many routes on the south side of the mountain.  In mid august we will be taking the emmons route up from the White river and seeing completely new terrain.

To get to muir you need to travel around 10 miles roundtrip and ascend almost 5000'.  This was certainly an eye opener for us all as next time we will be traveling with full overnight gear and need to conserve energy for the summit attempt.

About half of us opted to bring our skis up to enjoy some July skiing!

The weather seems to have turned and we have reschedule our Mt. Adams climb and also plan to climb Mt. Baker before the big ascent.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Another Year, Another Ascent

Info, Teaching, Training, and Summits. It's all begun again.

Last year 11 Foster students stood on the summit Mt Rainier on July 4th. It was a phenomenal experience for all of us. A few of us will repeat that experience this year, with many new comers. Most of us had no mountaineering experience a year ago. This year, some of us will repeat the trip, assisting in the role of teacher and experienced veteran. It's funny to think about it. Last year on Rainier, I was lowered into a crevasse during a training exercise (It was safe Mom, don't worry). I wonder who I'll get to lower in this year...

Scott Heinz will be the primary leader on the trip again this year. I am acting as his lowly logistical assistant. Jack Hogan and Haid Garrett are members of the Class of 2013 with experience and enthusiasm for the climb. They will be integral in many aspects of the planning, preparation, and execution of the endeavor. We are glad to have them aboard. For this to be a sustainable and repeatable opportunity for Foster students, we will need continued involvement from incoming students. Exciting stuff is happening here at Foster.

We've already held information sessions and had a great level of interest. Training has started for many. The rest of you, well, I highly advise you get on top of that. The teaching has started as well. A day of snow travel and self arrest was held recently with great success. This weekend a group will summit Mount St Helens. For many this will be a first big summit, and the first opportunity to spend an overnight in the snow (it's fun, I swear). Sadly, I've been sidelined by injury up to this point, but I'll be out there soon as well.

It's clear we've got another great group. I hope we all bond together through the training and trips like we did last year. Since last July, when I look past downtown Seattle and see the mountain, I think "Wow! I was on top of that!" I'm looking forward to being on top of the mountain again this August, and all the friendship and experiences I'll get along the way.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Ascent

Foster is a special place. Each class and individuals has the chance to shape their experience and the experiences of classes to follow. This year I was a part of planning many firsts: the inaugural Foster Cup, pitting first and second years students against each other in activities ranging from flag football to chess; the birth of the Foster Foodies Club, with the mission of bringing students together through a love of food; the first annual Pacific Northwest Case Competition that brought together numerous MBA programs to compete in a 24-hour case competition; and, lastly, my own brain child – the Challenge for Charity Mt. Rainier Fundraising Climb.
            I spent the last 5 years dedicating most of my free time to climbing and mountaineering. It is a deep passion of mine, and I honed many of my leadership and teamwork skills in that environment. Coming into the program, I was determined to make an impactful change, and this was the area where I really felt I could add value. Many other MBA programs have guide run outdoor leadership opportunities; my vision was to create an organically grown Foster experience. What evolved was the chance to add a new fundraising avenue and develop business skills, while also attempting a climb of the lower 48th most heavily glaciated prak and Washington’s tallest – Mt. Rainier. My idea quickly gained support from the administration and the rest was a matter of gardering a will from within the program to form a dedicated team and prepare a fundraising drive. The team was easy in that it self-selected itself. Once the climbing team was assembled, I set-up small committees to help with all aspects of the climb. The biggest challenges were in marketing the climb to get donations, and in creating a training plan to prepared the novice climbers for a physically, mentally, and technically challenging climb.
            Over the next 6 months, everyone in the Foster community was essential in helping the plan come to fruition; classmates that weren’t on the climb supported in countless ways including setting up fundraising happy hours and helping to teach mountaineering skills, and everyone on the climb sacrificed weekend after weekend for conditioning work and to learn the technical skills required. These months of hard work was set to culminate on July 4th weekend, as we set forth to conquer Mt. Rainier.
            Until that weekend, the greatest parts of the journey had already happened: we formed close bonds with classmates, collaboratively incubated a stretch goal into something teal, and raised $7,000 for the Special Olympics and Boys and Girls Club that will help Foster in the upcoming year’s Challenge for Charity Competition.
By 6:30 pm on July 4th, all eleven of us had reached the Mt. Rainier Summit. That intense moment of realization of what my extremely ambitious and slightly crazy idea combined with the Foster Community’s passion, determination, and collaboration had and could accomplish stands as my greatest moment out of the countless I have during all my mountaineering feats. This was far more than just a climb.