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RUNNER-UP: Climbing Mount Rainier
Presenting the second round of our Action Photography Contest, judged by
National Geographic photographer Bill Hatcher.
 
Photo: Climbing Mount Rainier
 « 3 of 5 »  

Your Story: 
Are You Living the Dream?

If you've chased a lofty adventure goal, send us your photos and four lessons learned (see example >>). They could be published in the magazine or online.

Please send photos as jpegs, 4"x5" at 75 dpi.

Send in your photos >>

I took this image on Mount Rainier's Kautz Glacier Route, one of the more popular ways to reach the summit. As we piled our gear into the car and began our drive to the mountain, the weather forecast looked rather grim. A weak front was headed right for the Pacific Northwest. Sure enough, our platform below Kautz Cliff was whipped all night by light snow and gusty  winds—just another day on Mount Rainier. Early the next morning, the wind had died down, so we finished our breakfast of hot chocolate and began to climb. With everyone on the rope pushing tempo, the going was rather swift and we quickly moved to the upper slopes. After a rest stop, I let the others have the "joy" of breaking trail. After deep post holing, I pointed my camera into the full blast of the wind to take this photo.
—Marek Wencel, 38
Flight Attendant
Seattle, Washington


Judge's Remarks:
When the weather turns bad, most photographers put their cameras away. I like this shot because the climbers are moving through a wild landscape accentuated by the blowing snow. The stamped out snow in the foreground is a distraction, but that Marek took a photo in these conditions makes for a compelling image of a real mountain experience.
—Bill Hatcher, photographer and author of the National Geographic Photography Field Guide: Action & Adventure


DIY:
At 14,410 feet (4,392 meters), Mount Rainier is a serious undertaking. Independent climbs should only be attempted by experienced climbers. For current route and climbing conditions, contact the park service (+1 360 569 2211). A $30 climbing permit can be obtained from the park. Climbing guides can be found at Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.
(www.rmiguides.com), Mount Rainier Alpine Guides (www.rainierguides.com), and the American Alpine Institute (www.aai.cc/default.asp). Book well in advance!

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