Lee climber's take on scaling Mount Rainier: 'Tremendous'

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"Tremendous."

That's how Charles Edson described his experience summiting the 14,410-foot Mount Rainier in Washington.

Edson, 27, of Lee, completed the climb Tuesday with a group on an RMI Expeditions trip. He spoke with The Eagle about the experience Friday.

Edson previously had finished the Northeast 111, a list consisting of all New England 4,000-footers, the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks, and the Catskills' Hunter and Slide mountains. But Mount Rainier was more than twice the height of any of those peaks.

During an interview with The Eagle that was published in Sunday's Landscapes section ("A member of the 4,000-footer club"), Edson had indicated that he was worried about the Washington peak's altitude.

"Anxiety's kicking in," he had said.

But reached by phone Friday, Edson said that flight delays and cancellations were a bigger obstacle. (It took him nearly a full day to reach Washington.) Once he finally began his ascent, he was determined to finish it.

"I'm here. I'm doing this," he said of his mentality.

Edson estimated that about nine hikers started the multiday journey, but two were unable to complete the climb. The final stretch of hiking began at midnight Monday; the remaining hikers reached the summit in time to see the sunrise.

Edson held his Arcadian Shop hat during the celebration. He had worn the green lid during his hike with The Eagle at the Ice Glen Trail in Stockbridge.

"Hopefully, I'll be repping it when I go to Rainier," Edson said at the time.

Edson's hat choice didn't go unnoticed at the Lenox shop.

"We're pretty stoked about it," Arcadian Shop Manager Jeff Minkler said by phone Friday.

Edson is a regular at the outdoor specialty store, which supplied him with equipment and support throughout his Northeast 111 quest.

Minkler is impressed by Edson's rapid development as a hiker.

"His rise is meteoric," he said.

As for what's next, Edson said that he has Denali, North America's highest peak, in his sights.

He'll need a couple of years to prepare, though, he said.

Benjamin Cassidy can be reached at bcassidy@berkshireeagle.com, at @bybencassidy on Twitter and 413-496-6251.


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