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North America, United States, Washington, A Night on Rainier

A Night on Rainier. The first post-war ascent of Mt. Rainier was made on 31 May 1946 by M. M. Miller, Dee Molenaar and C. M. Molenaar, as a “conditioning climb” for their activities on Mt. St. Elias in June and July. The trio made the ascent on the first day of the 1946 season via Camp Muir and Cadaver Gap, going on to the summit on the upper Ingraham Glacier. The plan was to make some preliminary tests of equipment to be used in Alaska. For that reason permission was obtained to remain on the summit overnight. In late evening a storm hit the 14,000-ft. level and compelled the group to take refuge in one of the crater ice caves melted out by slowly emitted volcanic steam. Two attempts were made to get out of the crater and descend to a lower level, out of reach of the storm. Winds of over 100 miles per hour drove the party back to the cave. But, with sleeping bags soaked inside and sheathed in ice outside, the party found it imperative to force its way down to Muir the next afternoon, having experienced conditions infinitely worse than those encountered on any of its combined 19 previous ascents of the mountain and than any of the wind conditions later encountered in the St. Elias Range.

M. M. M.