ZSE Members Conquer Mt. Rainier
Tuesday, August 30, 2011

After months of preparation and training, Seattle Center (ZSE) NATCA members Al Passero and Dave Wilson, along with retired NATCA member Chris McKeever, recently attempted summiting Mt. Rainier. Mt. Rainier, located in Washington State, is the second tallest mountain in the Continental United States at 14,410 feet.

On Aug. 12, these members set off from Paradise, located at an elevation of around 5,200 feet, to begin their journey. After the initial climb to Camp Muir, located at approximately 10,000 feet, the group started its actual summit attempt at around 1:30 a.m. that Saturday.

The climbers, who were on rope teams of three to five, were met with nearly perfect weather -- just above freezing, with a light breeze, full moon, clear skies, and even the peak of the Perseids meteor showers that morning!

McKeever successfully made it to 11,200 feet before having equipment issues that unfortunately forced him to turn back to Camp Muir. Passero and Wilson continued on, feeling the effects of altitude as they climbed through 12 and 13,000 feet. With the beautiful sunrise illuminating the way, the two summated Mt. Rainier in the morning light at 14,410 feet, after nearly six hours of climbing.

Overall, the climb extended over 18 miles and about 10,000 vertical feet. In fact, it’s such a large challenge that guides estimate the average newer climbers, such as Al, Dave and Chris, to burn over 12 to 13,000 calories over the course of the 30-hour round trip!

Congratulations to our union members on their amazing accomplishment!