Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Mt Rainier Route Conditions - June

The weather turned nice last weekend and climbers wasted no time in snatching up this opportunity. Routes that melted out earlier this spring are back in shape and looking great! Climbers had successful ascents on:

Liberty Ridge, Ingraham Direct, Disappointment Cleaver, Emmons Glacier,
Kautz Glacier, Fuhrer Finger, Gibraltar Ledges and Gib Chute to name a few.

The climbing conditions are great. In the colder part of the day the snow is firm and supportive making for excellent cramponing. By mid- morning it has been soft enough to make the trip down a little less jarring. From everything I saw up there this weekend and from all the reports that we heard most of the routes are very straight forward and direct. Obviously there are a few route finding challenges, but that's what makes it fun, right?

Skiers were making us all jealous up there as well. I saw quite a few people taking advantage of the softer mid-morning and early afternoon snow. Several intrepid skiers and boarders made turns down the Ingraham. Those big sweeping turns sure are fun but that speed has the downside of letting things like crevasses and ice cliffs sneak up on you really fast. So remember to scout out your ski routes before you start ripping down the hill. A great way to do this is to climb up what you plan to ski down.

~ Andy Anderson and Mike Gauthier

Paradise Construction and Parking

Here is a quick note on trail access. Due to the construction the normal access to the Paradise trail is blocked off. The best place to start your hike to Muir or anywhere else on this side of the Mountain is from the west end of the parking lot at the Jackson Visitor Center on the Dead Horse Creek Trail. It links up with the normal Skyline trail in about 1 mile and will save the hassle of walking around the construction fencing.

As a reminder, if you plan to depart from Paradise while climbing this summer, arrive before 9 a.m. The Paradise construction project has displaced most of the overnight parking. Once the Paradise picnic area melts out, ALL overnight parking should take place there. Immediate parking spaces at Paradise will be very limited. If you show up late, you could end up parking along the Paradise Valley Road. Depending on how far, you may need to take the shuttle.

This image of a climber on the Nisqually Cleaver is by Erik Jacobson