Got together with with my dad, brother, aunt, and cousin for an attempt on Rainier via DC this past sunday-monday. I took skis up to Muir and stashed them at camp. Got about 30min of sleep in the mega mid due to fairly consistent winds. After melting snow and downing the traditional instant coffee+ oatmeal combo we departed at 2am. We were making slow progress to Ingraham flats and shortly before the cleaver my aunt had to throw in the towel. Made the hard choice to turn back - this was especially challenging due to great weather and the rest of the group still having energy/strength to push on. Took a short break to snack and watch the sunrise back at the flats. Gorgeous views of little Tahoma and surrounding area
Route up to the cleaver is in great shape and much more enjoyable without the crowds this season. Cant speak to the upper sections but from other groups it sounds like the current track out to camp comfort and then up to the summit is fairly straight forward with minimal crossings (2).
Down to the tent and packed up. Got to see heli operations that morning which was cool. I decided to ski out on the snowfield which was challenging and riddled with large sun-cups. I would suggest dropping off onto the paradise glacier or skiing the Nisqually chute and adding on a short hike to meet back up near pan.
A great adventure with some non-skiers. Will be back soon!