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North America, United States, Washington, Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, Curtis Ridge Again

Mount Rainier, Curtis Ridge again. On Memorial Day weekend Paul Williams, Bill Dougall, Steve Marts, and I made the second recorded ascent of Mount Rainier’s Curtis Ridge. The first ascent was by Gene Prater and Marcel Schuster in 1957. Camp was made at about 10,500 feet Saturday night just below the big gendarme located about a half-hour’s climb below the first step in the ridge at 11,000 feet. The step was our major difficulty, and we found that a large block had fallen out of the step making the overhanging part about ten feet longer than had been reported by previous parties. Six or eight pitons were used for direct aid here. The rest of the route was straightforward as described by the first- ascent party. As we climbed onto the summit icecap at two p.m., a sudden storm hit us, and visibility was very limited. By dark we had descended only to 13,000 feet and had to dig a snow cave for self-preservation. For 24 hours we fought the ever blowing snow, but finally at five p.m. Monday, a break came and we made a run for Sherman Cabin at 10,000 feet. We basked in its luxury that night and on Tuesday morning with mixed emotions we met a rescue party near White River campground composed of some of the finest climbers in the Northwest. Our thanks goes out to those who answered the call.

Pat Callis