Students navigate Mt. Rainier


Three Iowa State University students from Clear Lake started the new year on a natural high.

On Jan. 3, at 8:28 p.m. Payton Hand, Andrew Klein and Colton Kennedy were among eight members of the Iowa State University Mountaineering and Climbing 

Club to reach the 14,410 foot summit of Mt. Rainier, completing the first successful winter climb of the season and the first summit of 2013. 

A successful winter ascent of the mountain is highly prized, with less than 5 percent of all winter climbers reaching the summit, explained Kennedy, who served as Climbing Leader and Expedition Coordinator.

The two four-person teams that made up the group spent six days on the mountain battling harsh winter conditions as they trained and slowly made their way up the mountain. A rare break in otherwise extreme weather patterns allowed the climbers to make a 20-plus hour attempt on the summit.  The ascent included slogging through up to thigh deep snow while navigating maze like glacial fields ridden with crevasses, seracs, and avalanche prone slopes. 

“The climb was long, exhausting and not without trial,” explained the climbers. 

Payton Hand said he has been an active member of the ISU Mountaineering and Climbing Club for four years, but until recently the majority of the club activity had been rock climbing related, with Arkansas, Minnesota, Kentucky, South Dakota, and eastern Iowa being the standard trip destinations.  The only exceptions were the Rainier Climbs that Kennedy organized for May and December 2012.  

“Colton did a great job of organizing - Read More Via e-Edition

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