Sean, Tim and I did some mid-summer skiing just about a week ago. We day tripped over to Mt. Rainier and though we didn’t really luck out with the weather, we had a great time.
We got a reasonable start at Paradise, with plans to take it as we went, and immediately ran into this:
Thick fog the whole tour up. Luckily the NPS and guide services had kindly flagged the standard route to Camp Muir the whole way up, and I was somewhat familiar with the mountain from my last visit.
Our best view until we broke the clouds, the Nisqually terminus below Panorama point. We made good progress up the first half of the tour, but began to slow down through the multiple transitions, and lack of visibility. The whole Muir snowfield is fairly safe in good weather, with many parties ascending and descending, flags, and fairly distinct ridges to either side. Nevertheless with poor visibility, we stuck together to took it slow and steady, especially with the recent accidents on the mountain.
Higher up, we continued following the well-worn path and flags, without much change.
We were getting a bit demoralized by the fog, and weren’t originally planning to go all the way to Muir, but heard Muir was only a short ways ahead when my phone died ~8700 ft. Just as we were cramping up and having thoughts of stopping, we broke through the clouds.
We trudged the last bit up to the Camp and took it easy for awhile at 10,000 feet. Finally we got some well deserved views. It was fun hanging around. Other groups were mainly camped out, with a few other skiers getting ready to descend, who kindly took our picture.
After some rejuvenating snacking, we geared up for a slow descent into fog.
The first 20 or so turns were creamy, and fresh from a few inches the night before, making the whole thing worth it.
Then it was back to fogginess and low visibility, which meant, follow the flags and tracks, and stick together.
We got slightly separated at one point, since visibility was that bad, but met up fairly quickly at the next transition point, and stuck together the rest of the way back to Paradise, marking just about a 5k vert day.
On our way out, we saw some local wildlife.
Of course the clouds were hanging right at Paradise, so descending down the mountain held some great views.
On our way home, the weather decided it was about time to clear up and become gorgeous.
And finally, we were back to Seattle.
See you guys on the next tour!