Mountain festival this weekend

7:35 pm September 12th, 2012

The Rainier Mountain Festival will bring together world-renowned climbers, family activities and entertainment for two days this weekend in Ashford.

The 11th annual event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 9 to 5 Sunday at Rainier BaseCamp, located on State Route 706  not far from the entrance to Mount Rainier National Park.

The free-admission event, hosted by Whittaker Mountaineering, wlll feature educational and safety courses, slideshows by professional mountain guides, and a sale of new and used mountain gear.

There also is a social element in the festival. Dave Hahn, one of the mountain-climbing luminaries scheduled to make an appearance, calls the festival a mountaineering reunion. 

Joining Hahn in making personal appearances will be, among others, Ed Viesturs, Jim Whittaker, Lou Whittaker, Dee Molenaar and Tami Asars, all of whom will be signing copies of their books.

Other festival highlights will include:

• Mount Everest summiteers panel discussion.

• Slideshows by Viesturs, Hahn and climber Melissa Arnot.

• Wilderness first aid training by Remote Medical International.

•A mountain photography workshop with Adam Angel.

Mountain safety courses by The Mountaineers and Tacoma Mountain Rescue

• Live music by Steve Stefanowicz, Sonic Funk Orchestra and Wet Heat.

• Alpine games (such as a sled pull, speed-climbing and erect-a-tent), a climbing wall, yoga, raffle items and food.

The festival “is our annual celebration when we bring some of the world s best mountain climbers together, host a huge gear sale and invite the public to learn about mountaineering,  said Peter Whittaker, Rainier Mountaineering Inc. and Whittaker Mountaineering owner. “Whether you re a seasoned climber or new to mountaineering, there s something for everyone at this event.”

Viesturs, one of the featured climbers, has accumulated 187 trips to the summit of Mount Rainier, many of them while guiding for Rainier Mountaineering. The Bainbridge Island resident is regarded as the country s foremost high-altitude mountaineer. He is familiar to many from the 1996 IMAX documentary on his Mount Everest expedition, and he received the Lowell Thomas Award from the Explorer s Club in 2002 for outstanding achievement in mountaineering. In winning the award, he joined an elite group of climbers, including Sir Edmund Hillary. In 1992, he was awarded the American Alpine Club Sowles Award for his participation in two rescues on K-2.

Viesturs, Hahn and Arnot are part of the Whittaker Mountaineering guide team that together has more than 2,500 ascents of Mount Rainier, 65 of Mount McKinley and 30 of Everest.

More information about the festival is available at


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