Muir Weather Telemetry Back Online

This afternoon, I was able to get up to Camp Muir with a bunch of test equipment and figure out what was wrong with the weather telemetry at Camp Muir.  It turned out to be simply a power issue.

I also brought up the webcam and installed it and the microwave network link that gets the image back down to Paradise.  It is currently online but this time of the year it can easily get covered in ice and it takes a couple of days to melt out.  The ice also covers the micro-wave antenna and impedes radio transmissions it needs to transfer the image.  So you may see a completely white image, or just an image that has not updated in a few days.

PLEASE DO NOT HIT, BANG, BUMP, or TAP the webcam to help clear the ice!  It has been irreparably damaged by someone doing this already, and it is on its last legs because of it.  Several clips and cables have come unsoldered from the board in difficult locations to access.

Just let the ice melt off please!

The snow today was good, however there is some developing sastrugi up high above 9,000'.

Ski penetration at 10:30 am this morning was less than 1-2 cm all the way up from Paradise.  At pan point, the snow is very frozen.  Although I was on less-than-full-thickness skins, I had to take my skis off to ascend up Pan Point and I was unable to put them back on where I usually do.  Falls are still possible and we've had many accidents on pan point this winter.  Please take an ice axe, a whippet, or something to help stop you if you get to sliding.  Something store-bought for that purpose!

Several summits on the Ingraham Direct route have been achieved in the last couple of days.  A few people tonight have plans to climb Gib Ledges. A guided group (Alpine Ascent International) reported very good climbing conditions all the way to the top.

Not many people are climbing so you may find yourself up there by yourself.  Please take enough gear on your summit climb to survive a night or two or a storm on the mountain.  Climbing rangers are starting to come on duty now, but we are not staffing high camps yet.  Stay sane and within your skill and comfort zone.

Remember that a climbing pass and permit are required for day use on glaciers, even below 10,000'. If you are on the Cowlitz or Nisqually Glacier you need a climbing pass and climbing permit. You can pay for your climbing pass at the self-registration kiosk at Paradise.  You can also find instructions by following this link.  Once you have your annual pass, permits are free and you can come as many times as you want!

- Stefan Lofgren

Big Avalanches on the Nisqually (Rock AND Snow)

Late in February, we received word from the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network and the University of Washington that there had been a noticable surface seismic event (not an earthquake) that appeared to be near the top of the Nisqually Cleaver.  You may recall that in the summer of 2012, a large portion of the Nisqually Cleaver gave way at about 12,000 feet and tumbled down to about 8000 feet on the Nisqually Glacier.  This wasn't as big, but nevertheless the PNSN and the UW gave us a heads up and asked if anyone had seen anything. 

You can see the brownish stain on the surface of the glacier below the Nisqually Cleaver.  This is exactly where the large rock avalanche occurred in 2012. However, what was more noticeable was a snow avalanche that occurred from the 11,500 foot level on the Nisqually Icefall and traveled all the way down to the terminus of the Nisqually Glacier.  I have seen avalanche debris on the Nisqually down to about 6500 feet before, but never down to the terminus!

The following images were taken on Friday February 28th from the Muir Snowfield:

Snow in Red. Rock in Blue.
Debris approaching terminus of Nisqually

Chad Kellogg

Sad news from Patagonia. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to everyone who knew Chad and are currently dealing with the tragic news.

Chad left a huge mark here at Rainier and his legacy and accomplishments will not be forgotten.