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Rainier Summit 2006 Overview - The history behind the Rainier Summit 2006 adventure

Rainier Summit 2006 Itinerary - The tentative schedule for the Rainier Summit 2006 attempt

Rainier Summit 2006 Overview

There is rarely a time when an adventure begins from its own singular origin; it is usually a journey that is built on past experiences and sojourning. The Rainier Summit Climb of 2006 is no different. Although it is an experience that is new for two of the climbers, Chuck Fabijanic and Dan Gueldner, it is a journey and a climb that began many years ago and has culminated to this very moment in August of 2006.

It was in the early 1980s when Lee Hoedl and Chuck Fabijanic met while attending North Dakota State University. They came from different areas of the United States, but shared common interests - enough to sustain a lifelong friendship.

As beautiful as North Dakota can be through all seasons, it doesn't present the opportunity for any extensive hiking or high-altitude climbing. So much of the "adventures" through the 1980s and into the 1990s would have to be through "someday when we're able to..." dreams and hopes. Following their university experience, Chuck would marry and move to Morristown, New Jersey and then to San Diego, California. Lee would stay close to the forested Midwest by working at Bemidji State University and then, Marquette University in Milwaukee.

It was in Milwaukee where Lee Hoedl would meet Dan Gueldner. As a young college student attending Marquette University, Dan became one of Lee's advisees through his college experience. During this time together, Lee had worked with another Marquette colleague to set up an outdoor leadership/survival program - Dan was one of the first participants in this program. From that time forward, when Lee wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Dan would be his willing sherpa to the North and South Kettle Moraine State Forests. It was amidst these forests where Lee and Dan found a common interest for the great outdoors - a bond that would continue through the years and into the present.

Since 1999 (when Lee departed Marquette University and moved to St. Paul to work at the University of St. Thomas), Lee remained in touch with Dan via email, while taking annual family trips with the Hoedls and Fabijanics to various national parks. Although it wasn't arduous hiking, these adventures did provide Chuck and Lee an opportunity to at least be outdoors.

During this time, Lee looked for new opportunities for greater backpacking/hiking experiences - and found one in 2000, when the Nowatzki brothers (Rick and Scott) invited him to tag along on a hike across a portion of the Continental Divide. It was this experience that cemented Lee's desire to hike further and climb higher. Following a Hoedl-Fabijanic-Ross family trip to the Grand Caldera of Yellowstone National Park in 2001, Chuck and Lee decided to "push the envelope" in their adventures.

Embedded in a Hoedl-Fabijanic family trip to the Grand Canyon National Park in June 2002, Lee and Chuck chose to hike down the South Kaibab Trail, sleep overnight at Phantom Ranch and hike out of the Canyon via the Bright Angel Trail. The temperatures in the bottom of the Canyon that summer were in the 120s and the evenings cooled to a balmy 95 degrees. Just enough heat to simmer the juices for more adventures...

In June 2003, the Hoedl-Fabijanic trip found its way to Yosemite National Park. It was here where Lee and Chuck chose to trek the 18-mile one-day hike from the Yosemite Valley to the top of Half Dome and back down to the valley. Standing at a little over 8000 ft. elevation and relishing the vista, Hoedl and Fabijanic wanted more.

In September 2003, Lee had been invited to join Chuck and his friend Gus Gardner on an exciting adventure: cycle across the entire Death Valley and then summit Mt. Whitney - from the lowest elevation to the highest elevation in the contiguous United States. Chuck and Gus would have to venture on this journey alone in 2003, as Lee and his wife Di gave birth to triplets in that same month. But Lee promised Chuck, "If you host the event again, I'll be there."

And in September of 2004, the adventure across Death Valley and up Mt. Whitney commenced. This time, Lee and Chuck would bring along Keith Sherwood, an abled multiple 14er climber and cyclist. It was a grueling but fabulous experience to witness Life at the very depth and pinnacle of North America. While sitting at the 12,000 ft. Trail Camp on the Mt. Whitney Trail, Chuck and Lee thought, "What would be more challenging than climbing the highest peak in the contiguous United States?" How about the most glaciated peak in the United States? And their eyes were set on Mt. Rainier.

It began simply as a pipedream; a wonderful pact between two friends: to hike to the summit of Mt. Rainier. But as with all grand plans, pipe dreams and pacts, there is always the human element to contend with: conflicting schedules. Despite Chuck's inability to join Lee, Lee carried on with the plan. In mid-July 2005, Lee experienced one of the most phenomenal moments of his life: an actual summit of Mt. Rainier and a perch on Columbia Crest. Chuck told Lee, "If you go again, I'll join you."

And now it is 2006 and the summit climb has been planned for August 4-5. This time, Lee will be accompanied by Chuck Fabijanic and Dan Gueldner. All the conditioning has been done, with all three climbers competing in road races, triathlons and marathons over the past year. One particular race deserves notable mention: the Wild Miles Relay in California (with Lee and Chuck on the same 10-person team). It is a 183-mile nonstop team relay, beginning at Borrego Springs and winding its way around ANZA-Borrego Desert State Park and Cleveland National Forest before ending at Pine Valley, California. The team would be called the Team Thrown Together at the End of the Road and Chuck and Lee would be the team's senior members.

As stated above, all the conditioning is done, equipment is secured, and reservations made. And at the writing of this narrative in late July 2006), the only remaining task is the journey itself: a glaciated summit attempt up the 14,410 ft. mountain of Mt. Rainier.

And the adventure doesn't end here in Washington. Lee has his eyes set on a future RMI-guided alpine climbing of Ecuador's 19,000 ft. glaciated peaks of Cayambe and Cotopaxi. In addition, it is Lee's and Chuck's hope to attempt a summit climb of Mt. McKinley in Alaska before the end of the decade.


Post Note: Additional images and website/Powerpoint presentations of the adventures on the right can be found by going to the Photo Archives.


Lee Hoedl in constant training


Competing in the California WILD MILES RELAY in 2006: Lee Hoedl and Chuck Fabijanic


Cycling across Death Valley in 2004: Lee Hoedl, Keith Sherwood and Chuck Fabijanic


Summiting Mt. Whitney in 2004: Keith Sherwood, Lee Hoedl, Chuck Fabijanic


Climbing Half Dome of Yosemite in 2003: Chuck Fabijanic and Lee Hoedl


Hiking the Grand Canyon in 2002: Lee Hoedl and Chuck Fabijanic


Hiking the Continental Divide in 2000: Rick Nowatzki, Scott Nowatzki, Lee Hoedl


Hiking the North Kettle Moraine of Wisconsin in 1997: Dan Gueldner and Lee Hoedl


Camping in the Kettle Moraines of Wisconsin in 1996: Chris Nichols, Eric Koester, Dan Gueldner, Chris Burant, and Lee Hoedl


Rainier Summit 2006 Itinerary
Below is listed the tentative itinerary for the August 2-5 family visit and summit attempt of Mt. Rainier. For additional information and travel resources to plan your visit and summit attempt, visit the National Park Services' website for Mt. Rainier National Park and also visit the RMI website above.
Tuesday, August 1
Fabijanics Head Toward Ashford, WA; Hoedls Fly to Seattle
Hoedls Depart Fargo: 7:00 am (NW 1041 to Mpls)
Arrive Seattle: 11:03 am (NW 0171 from Mpls)


Wednesday, August 2
11:00 am: Lee Hoedl meets Dan Gueldner at the SEATAC Airport (American Airlines 4118/1611)
12:00 pm: Alamo Car Rental and leave Seattle for Ashford
2:00 pm: Arrive to Whittaker's Bunkhouse in Ashford; Check-In to Rm. 21 and Meet Chuck Fabijanic
3:00 pm: Driving Tour of Mt. Rainier National Park / Paradise
4:00 pm: Visit to Rainier Mountaineering (formerly Summit Haus)
5:00 pm: Dinner at the RMI Basecamp Deli


Thursday, August 3
7:00 am: Check-In @ RMI BaseCamp in Ashford
8:20 am: Welcome and Team Orientation
8:40 am: Shuttle leaves for Paradise
9:25 am: Shuttle arrives to Paradise/Training Begins
4:00 pm: Shuttle Returns to RMI BaseCamp
5:00 pm : Double check and re-pack expedition gear
6:00 pm: Dinner @ local restaurant (Alexandra Inn, Copper Creek Inn) or RMI BaseCamp Deli


Friday, August 4
7:00 am: Check-In @ RMI BaseCamp
8:20 am: Team Discussion and Preparation
8:40 am: Shuttle Leaves for Paradise
9:25 am: Shuttle Arrives to Paradise/Summit Climb Begins

Mid am: Hoedl and Fabijanic families leave Seattle for Ashford, WA
Mid Afternoon: Hoedl and Fabijanic families check-in at Whittaker's Bunkhouse (Rms. 22 and 24)

6:00 pm: Dinner @ Camp Muir
7:00 pm: Team Discussion on Route Conditions, Equipment, etc.
8:00 pm: Bunk time in the RMI Hut


Saturday, August 5
12:00 am: Wake up in the RMI Bunkhouse and Gear Preparation
12:45 am: Rising Traverse Across Cowlitz Glacier
Ascend Switchbacks of Cathedral Gap on to Ingraham Glacier; 1st Break
Access the Disappointment Cleaver; 2nd Break on top of the DC
Traverse the Crevasses of the Upper Mountain; Final break at High Break
7:30 am: Summit of Mt. Rainier (14,410 ft. elevation)
Break within the Summit Crater and trek to Columbia Crest
8:00 am: Descend from Mt. Rainier Crater
11:30 am: Arrive back to Camp Muir (10,060 ft. elevation)
12:30 pm: Break @ Camp Muir to Pack for Final Hike Down to Paradise
4:00 pm: Arrive to Paradise/Shuttle to RMI BaseCamp
5:30 pm: Presentation of Summit Certificates and Group Celebration
6:00 pm: Dinner @ Whittaker's Bunkhouse
8:00 pm: Drinks and Cigars on the Deck of Rm. 21


Sunday, August 6
10:42 am: Dan Gueldner Departs Seattle (American Airlines 1126/3735)
11:00 am: Hoedl and Fabijanic families drive tour Olympic National Park
8:48 pm: Dan Gueldner Arrives to Milwaukeee, WI
August 6-10 - Family Exploration of the Pacific Coast
Friday, August 11
8:55 am: Hoedls Depart from Sacramento (NW 0394 to Mpls)
7:35 pm: Hoedls Arrive to Fargo (NW 1721 from Mpls)

hoedl's haven, leehoedl@yahoo.com