How to Climb Mount Rainier

Halfway up the peak emblazoned on Washington license plates and tourist paraphernalia, 20 strangers fumble about in a century-old structure. A Kansan father melts snow into drinking water while Ballard engineers cram ice axes into rudimentary cubbies. Soon, we all collapse for a few hours of low-quality sleep on long, communal bunks with alarms set for 11pm. It feels like adult summer camp. But we’re all here at Camp Muir with one goal: summit Mount Rainier.

Some are drawn by the thrill. Others trek to honor someone special—or with that someone: “He’s a bad influence,” one San Franciscan skier said, nodding to her partner. Others climb for

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