Day 4:    "Everythings Goin' Downhill", the Trip Back

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 Bone woke up quite groggy (and alive to his somewhat surprise) the following morning to the sounds of his fellow campers stirring about. His sleepiness was a result of waking up frequently throughout the night with both headache and nausea, due to the cold and altitude, which made the whole camping out experience pretty much uncomfortable. The temperature during the night dropped to negative 20, and the 50-60 mile-an-hour winds buffeted Bone's "M" Tent  creating a "bouncing sleeping environment."


A "Bone Chilling" Morning !!!

The prior shots provide a view from Bone's tent, where he had been using a large chunk of ice as a pillow, little wonder he woke up with a splitting headache !!!


Fellow Campers on the Cowlitz Glacier

As Bone stirred slowly, he was able to appreciate the stark beauty of the mountain with it's sights, and sounds. Surprisingly enough, the mountain was extraordinarily noisy at night, along with the howling wind, there was the on-going sounds of cracking ice (HUGE booms!!!), and falling rock as the big mountain's freeze and thaw cycles creates unstable debris.


A Glacial Cavern under Camp Muir


Renewed Hope !!

As Bone dressed that morning he began to feel a warm glow inside despite the cold outside (man!  it was cold in that tent !!!),  he realized that despite the dire warnings of the RMI Team, he did make it to Camp Muir and was successful in establishing his own camp.

Suddenly feeling renewed, Bone got up and started hiking around the Glacier, while he used his little stove he purchase the day before to melt snow for drinking and cooking.


"An a Top of the Mountain Morning to You Sir !!!"


"The Path of Mike"

While Bone prepped for a spaghetti breakfast (no kidding !!!) he remembered hearing the RMI team hiking by his tent, single file the night before with their headlamps on. Bone hoped that Mike saw his "M" Tent while he was having fun on his climb up.

The picture below traces the RMI teams steps from Camp Muir towards the Summit.

Tracing the Trail to the Top !


Base Camp-Michigan",  on top of Rainier !!!


Bone , , ,  at Base Camp-Michigan


Finding Bro'

As Bone was slurping his semi-warm turkey pasta for breakfast he saw Johnny Sherpa guiding Mike and a group of other back to Camp Muir. Excited, Bone ran up to Mike in jubilation, but one look from Mike let Bone know that Mike hadn't made it.

In fact a very few that morning would summit due to the cold and wind. Mike gave it all he had, but the further up he went, the less he was able to keep warm. Finally the guides decided that it would not be prudent for Mike to summit trembling the way he was. All in all, however Mike accomplished a great deal on his trip,  he made it farther than any prior Mike and Bone expedition in terms of height and endurance.


Bone's Front Yard !!


Camp Muir:    Rock and Ice

Warming up for the trip down. After the so-so pasta, Bone went to check on Mike in the RMI huts where Mike and the RMI Team slept the night before. In conversation with Mike, he had a difficult time sleeping in the huts, which was one of the major contributors to his being so cold. Since Mike had to wait for the rest of the RMI team before he could head back, Bone decided to pack up and start ahead of the RMI team, figuring that at his slow pace, Mike and the RMI team would catch him before the they made it back to the cars. Bone was given some drinking water by Johnny Sherpa for the trip down instead of having to boil glacier water, which saved Bone both time and effort.


Peak Pictures

After leaving the RMI Huts, Bone snapped some pictures of the other major peaks in the Cascades such as Mount Adams, Mount Hood, and of course, Mount St. Helen.


Slip Sliding Away !!!

Beginning the trek down in the morning presented new and different challenges. On the way up it was late afternoon and with the temperature dropping, the snow was refreezing.  However in the morning, the warming sun turned the snow to slush, which made for a very slippery, sliding trip down. The method for "walking" is stepping down sideways, "skiing" on his hiking boots, and the occasionally full body, end-over-end, which ensured that Bone stayed soggy enough not to become too warm.


What Goes Up, Definitely Goes Down Easier !!!

Along the way Bone found his headache clearing and his progress down much faster than his trip up. Each 1000 feet down, his head continued to clear and he began to feel his chipper old self despite being soaked from continual slipping and falling.


"Only 5,000 feet to go !!!"

As the day progressed Bone began to see more and more casual tourists on the snowfield dressed in shorts and tee-shirts, which explained why he was getting hot (despite being wet) and worse yet drinking his two litres of water at an alarming rate.


Mike to the Rescue !!

Bone did well on planning food, but he was starting to run short of water. As Bone left the snowfield onto the Dirt Path he was "bone dry" of water when Mike and the RMI Team showed up as shared some of his water with Bone. At this point Mike left the RMI Team and finished the trek down with Bone despite the annoyance of Johnny Sherpa. who wanted Mike to stay with the RMI team.


Oh my Aching Feet !!!

Walking up the prior day left Mike and Bone in relatively good shape physically. However on the way down, the constant pounding of  the thick, plastic hiking boots along with all the weight and pressure on the front of their feet made Mike and particular Bone's feet feel like chopped liver. As they were almost back to the car, Bone had to walk backwards to relieve some of the pressure on his feet, much to the humor of the families walking around Bone.


"Oo-oh that Smell !!!  Can't You Smell that Smell !?!!

Lynryd Skrnyd

Returning to the Rental Car with aching feet and low spirits, Mike and Bone  blissfully set their equipment in the trunk and began to take off their boots. Bone  must have used the wrong kind of socks because his feet were soaked from sweat, mangled and stunk like rotting flesh !!! Driving from the National Park Bone hung his damp, and stinky feet out the window despoiling the fresh mountain air on their way to drop off their equipment.

After dropping off their equipment at RMI, they slunk out of the camp depressed on how the mountain kicked both their butts. They stopped for a quick bite at the Copper Canyon for one final meal and then high-tailed it back to Seattle to check in near the airport.


Trip, Postscript

After checking into a Motel 8, Mike and Bone both showered, while Bone soaked his socks so they wouldn't sink up his backpack for the trip home. Mike quickly passed out while Bone was a bit peckish. Bone decided to find some food and drink so went up to a local Seattle Red Robin, and after a burger and a few margarita's, decided to put in for the night.

Early the next morning still in the dark, Mike and Bone slunk off for the airport with their tails between their legs realizing that it was, Mount Rainier 1, Mike and Bone 0 !!!