Then There Is No Mountain

Camp Muir is cemented and bolted onto a thin basalt ridge that juts up out of the snow, separating the vast Muir Snowfield below from the upper reaches of Cowlitz Glacier. If you have any breath left when you get there, the view will take it away. Its elevation is somewhere between 10,050 and 10,188 feet, depending on which map you consult. Or where you’re standing, for that matter. The camp has several buildings, including a crude tarpaper and plywood hut. The hut is about the shape of a boxcar, but smaller. It is walled off into two sections, one for RMI climbers and the other for climbers using another guide service. There’s also a stone WPA-style hut provided by the National Park Service for independent climbers.  Sitting on a slightly higher section of the ridge is the park rangers’ stone hut, outside of which rangers can be seen sitting…

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