Sunday, December 03, 2006

Pristine, Pink, Breathless

That's what it was like on the mountain this weekend. I made it to Camp Muir Saturday, my first opportunity in over two months. Finally, time to survey the camp and search for possible storm damage (and test the snow conditions on the Muir Snowfield).

Things looked normal for early December. There was access to the public shelter, but the toilets were drifted in with deep snow. As for obvious signs of rain and wind damage, it seems that only the NPS suffered. We lost two storage boxes. The weather telemetry equipment for the NWAC appears to be working. It's my hope that once the power resumes at Paradise, the weather data will come back up online.

I was a bit surprised that there wasn't more snow cover between 7-11k. Everything looked wind scoured, i.e, lots of exposed rocks along the eastern edge of the Muir Snowfield, Cowlitz Cleaver, Muir Rock, etc. As for the upper mountain, the Nisqually Glacier looked very, very good. And while we're talking, so did the Nisqually Cleaver and Gib Ledges. Plenty of snow and ice in those rocky steep sections

After surveying the camp, it was time to confirm the conditions on the Muir Snowfield. And it was just as I thought it would be: 4,500 feet of untracked packed powder, with a few rocky areas around McClure. As you can see, the mountain turned pink for our descent. Top photo by Ethan McKinley

JUST IN: The Camp Muir and Paradise weather telemetry data are back up. I hope they last! I know that they ran the generator at Paradise today.