Mount Fremont Lookout Take 2

Mount Fremont Lookout Take 2

Last year when I attempted to hike the Mount Fremont Lookout trail, acute mountain sickness (AMS) hit me, forcing me to quit when I was around halfway there. It seems that any time I hike above 6,200′ in elevation, I get sick (unless I’m able to acclimate for a few days prior to hiking). I really wanted to give it another try, this time after taking a steroid prescribed to me that was supposed to help with the AMS.

  • Vomit spot: 6,742′ in elevation
  • Mount Fremont Lookout: 7,169′ in elevation

I spent the night in Enumclaw so I wouldn’t have to get up quite as early in the morning. Even so, I got up around 4:45am, through on some clothes, stopped at McDonald’s for a sausage biscuit and coffee, and drove another 1 .5 hours to the Sunrise Visitor Center in Mount Rainier National Park.

I was rewarded for my early morning start with an amazing sunrise! It had been a very long time since I was up early enough to see such a brilliant sky!

Amazing sunrise at Sunrise, WA

I was leading the hike and waited for the six others to show up. I think we finally started the hike around 7:30am.

After making it to Sourdough Ridge, I pointed out where I hurled last year, and was praying I wouldn’t get sick again (even though my stomach was already feeling queasy). About 100 yards past the hurling station, I doubled over and had a repeat of last year. At least this time there was something in my stomach and I wasn’t dry heaving!

Red circle indicates vomit spot.

Since I was feeling so poorly, I asked another person on my hike if they could take over and lead the rest to the lookout. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it. Damn AMS! I waited by Frozen Lake while they pressed on.

About an hour later, I started feeling better and decided to hike up the first Burroughs Mountain (there are three). I didn’t get to the top (because I was afraid of the others returning and missing me), but what I did do offered me some amazing views. I was breathing easier, too, so I think the AMS medicine was finally kicking in. The downside of the medicine, though, was that it made my vision blurry and gave me a 24-hour headache. Yuck!

Mount Rainier on the left; knotweed turning red all over the meadow.

I’m not sure if I’ll trying to reach the lookout on a future date. I really want to, but I’m not sure my body will cooperate. Thankfully, there are great trails in WA that aren’t as high in altitude.

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