If you've ever wanted to head to the mountains and meet some of America's mountaineering giants, then mark September 12 and 13 on your calendar and plot a course for Mount Rainier National Park.
Among the invited climbers is this quartet of men who have summited Mount Everest: Ed Viesturs, Dave Hahn, Jim Whittaker, and Lou Whittaker.
"The Mountain Festival has become a tradition, a mountaineering reunion for those of us in love with Mount Rainier and big mountains in general," commented Dave Hahn, who has reached the summit of Mt. Everest 11 times. "The legends of the high-altitude game are sure a lot easier to talk to over a picnic in Ashford than on the glaciers where they earned their fame."
Hahn and other world-class climbers will share their adventures with talks, slideshows and audience Q&A's and will be available throughout the event for book signings and more casual conversation.
Other Rainier Mountain Festival highlights include the following:
* Alpine Games - competitions for cash prizes in classic mountain events such as speed climbing, sled pull and erect-a-tent;
* Five-Mile Trail Run - Enjoy a competitive run or leisurely walk on a meandering trail in the scenic foothills of Mt. Rainier on Sunday morning, Sept. 13, at 10AM. Registration fee is $10 and includes an
* Mountain Technique Demonstrations - Mountain guides will share mountaineering techniques such as fitting a backpack, climbing food and nutrition, what to look for in a mountaineering stove, and boot fitting. Demonstrations will happen throughout the weekend at the Demo Tent;
* Mount Rainier Benefit Raffle - Tickets will be sold and drawings held for over $10,000 worth of gear with proceeds benefiting Mount Rainier National Park. Drawings will take place throughout the day.
Participants do not have to be present to win;
* Kids Fun and Games - Supervised climbs on a rock wall, an inflatable bounce house and children's games will be offered both days;
* Music and Food - Food vendors with BBQ, micro brews and more, as well as free live entertainment by local bands.
Ashford, Washington, is located just outside the Paradise entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. With outfitters, guide services, shops, lodging and restaurants, it is the established base camp for Mt. Rainier summit attempts as well as a longtime choice for mountain vacation getaways.
For event information, please access www.rainierfestival.com or contact Jeremy Foust at Jeremy@whittakermountaineering.com or (800) 238-5756. For destination information, please access www.visitrainier.com.