Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Muir Snowfield and Camp Muir

Muir Snowfield and Camp Muir on May 21 2006

There is great coverage all the way up. Most people are still using the winter trail up to Pan Point. Beyond that the trail is very well wanded all the way to muir. There has been a lot of traffic on it and there is a great boot pack all the way to Muir. Even though it is pretty soft if people stay in the boot track they only end up post-holing in a few places. The skiing on the snowfield is excellent right now. Yesterday we got a dusting of snow and had perfect corn underneath that above 8500'. Today all of that froze and the snow was rock hard down to about 8500', but below that it was a wonderful 3" of soft wet snow on top of a frozen base so it was fun fast skiing. The chute down onto the Nisqually was stellar and fairly easy to traverse back up to the main trails at the glacier vista overlook (we did not have to put our skins back on). There are also two really fun kickers just below glacier vista :)

All in all its in pretty darn good shape for skiing. I would say folks don't need crampons unless they plan to travel really early or really late in the day. Skis or a board will make it lots of fun and I don't think snowshoes are that helpful since the boot pack is so well traveled.

The Camp Muir Public Shelter was significantly refurbished in 2005. The new interior design increases the usable space markedly. The bunks are organized to accommodate more people, as is the storage and cooking space. So far, the comments have been very positive; in particular, many expressed appreciation of the increased lighting.

If you plan to stay in the public shelter, please keep it clean! Always secure the door when leaving, as a small crack will fill the hut with snow during storms. Never leave anything (food, gas, and gear.) Also, overnight travelers should consider brining own shelter in case they’re unable to make it to Camp Muir. At this time, the public shelter and toilet are accessible.

Please do your part to keep the mountain clean. Petrified feces and toilet paper flags strewn along the climbing routes and crusted on rocks near bivi sites are unsightly and unsanitary. Remember that everyone on the mountain melts snow for drinking water. All parties are required to pack their solid human waste off the mountain when not using the toilets at Camp Muir and Camp Schurman. Blue bags are available with climbing permits. Blue bags may be deposited in the large black barrels at Camp Muir or at Paradise. The barrel at Paradise is located in the restroom tunnel next to the men’s room.