If you've long wondered about what it takes to climb mountains such as K2 or Mount Everest, pencil the Rainier Mountain Festival on your calendar. This affair just outside Mount Rainier National Park will bring together such iconic mountaineers as Ed Viesturs and the Whittaker brothers, Jim and Lou.
The festival, set for this coming Saturday and Sunday, will feature these and other world-class climbers presenting talks and slideshows, and taking questions about their adventures.
Other activities include: Alpine Games - competitions for cash prizes in classic mountain events, five-mile trail run, mountain technique demonstrations, Mt. Rainier benefit raffle with proceeds benefiting Mount Tahoma Trail Association, kids fun and games, and music and food for everyone.
"The Mountain Festival has become a tradition, a mountaineering reunion for those of us in love with Mount Rainier and big mountains in general," said Dave Hahn, who has reached the summit of Mt. Everest 12 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."
Climbing guides also will share such mountaineering techniques and secrets as fitting a backpack, climbing food and nutrition, what to look for in a mountaineering stove, and boot fitting.
Also on the schedule:
* Demonstrations will happen throughout the weekend at the Demo Tent
* Ed Viesturs free slideshow on Sunday at 11:00
* Mt. Rainier Benefit Raffle - Tickets will be sold and drawings held for over $10,000 worth of gear with proceeds benefiting Mount Tahoma Trail Association. 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 for free.
* 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.