Return of the Snow

With the onset of colder weather and the wrap up of guide service operations the number of climbers attempting the summit has dropped nearly to zero. The first half of October has been fairly active weather-wise and with the reduced temperatures we have received a fair bit of snow above Paradise. Rangers observed almost 2 meters of new snow at 8500' on October 19th.

It doesn't take much snow for skiers to brave the early season conditions and tracks have been popping up on the snowfield fairly consistently. We urge people to exercise caution this time of year as many hazards exist under the thin snow pack. Trees, rocks and flowing creeks can all be lurking under the snow.

Construction for the ongoing paving project on the Paradise road is finished for the winter although a few crews are out working on small projects. The road remains open 24 hours a day but may close nightly due to weather. You can check @MountRainierNPS on Twitter for status updates.

It's a great time of year to enjoy Mt. Rainier. There are few crowds and when the skies are clear it's as beautiful as always. Be safe, enjoy the park and have fun.

Winter Season Transition

The last week of September is the last week of guided climbing trips on Mount Rainier for the season.  Guides will be pulling out the fixed pickets, wands, and ladders that they worked hard to maintain all summer long.  With colder temperatures, larger storm cycles, and no route kicked-in to the summit, winter conditions have arrived.

The Climbing Information Center also closed for the season this week.  Climber registration is still mandatory, but can be done in-person at the self-registration kiosk when you arrive.  See the Permits and Registration page for more info. 

There's still lots of road construction going on inside the park.  Please read signage and make sure to park your car in the appropriate location - especially if you're planning to be out overnight.  Freezing levels for early October are forecast to be around 5000 feet.  Hopefully we'll be skiing right out of the parking lot soon!

To illustrate the point, here is a graph of the 5-year average number of climbers per week.  The interesting thing to note is that we've seen a slight shift of the climbing occur over the last couple of years.  The season start a week or two 'earlier' than it did 10 or 20 years ago.  The end of the season also begins to wind down faster than it did historically.  The graph shows climbers registering for the Disappointment Cleaver route only.