Spud checks in with the park rangers before beginning his arduous second attemptThe Return to Mount Rainier

After a harrowing first attempt to climb the lofty reaches of Mount Rainier in June of 2000, Spud was terrified of returning to the espresso swollen state of Washington.

The tater had begun to question his skills as a mountaineer; uncertain that he could handle the effects of altitude and the punishing physical and mental demands of glacier travel. Tormented, the tuber opted to lock himself away in his room; drowning his sorrows in cheetos and late night television.

One night, after watching a poorly acted infommercial for spray-on hair, the movie 'The Eiger Sanction' came on. A shroud of despair cloaked the potato as he saw a rugged Clint Eastwood strapping on crampons and making his way up the regal Eiger. It was if to blatantly remind him of his inadequacies. That is until he saw the grossly out-of-shape George Kennedy scrambling up the mountain behind Eastwood. Here was this middle aged, beer swilling, heart-attack-in-a-cardigan clod scaling 13000 feet and he wasn't even out of breath. If this guy could climb a mountain, then certainly Spud could. Almost instantly, the cold fear that had been coursing through his veins was replaced by testosterone. The potato leaped from his couch and ran to his closet where he began to assemble his gear for a return trip to Seattle and another attempt at Mount Rainier.

Spud's new climbing teamOnce again, Spud decided to climb with a group guided by expert climbers from Rainier Mountaineering Incorporated. Paul Maier was the lead guide and his many years of experience made Spud feel confident that this time he would attain the summit.

The climb began with an ascent to the Camp Muir base camp. The long arduous journey up the enormous Muir snowfield proved to be extremely difficult for the climbers that were carrying enormous weight in their packs. To keep from collapsing from exhaustion, many of them emptied the contents of their packs on the slopes to ease the burden. Spud had learned from the previous attempt, and decided to pack much lighter. The gallons of espresso he toted the prior year had been replaced by power bars & Gatorade and of course, a few chives and some sour cream.

Altitude sickness pushes some climbers over the edgeWhen the tater arrived at base camp, he found that many of the other climbers whom had 'lightened' their packs had tossed away their food; a precious commodity at 10080 feet. The starving men stared back at the potato with a piercing glare as saliva began to run uncontrollably out the side of their mouths. They didn't see Spud as a fellow climber, they saw Spud as a CARBOHYDRATE.   Fearing for his safety, the tater fled; narrowly escaping the adze of an ice axe that came within inches of scalloping the hapless tuber.

Fortunately for Spud, the famished would-be assassins passed out shortly thereafter and were airlifted to a hospital in Tacoma.
It had been a long day and Spud needed some rest to prepare for the summit attempt.




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