Friday, September 29, 2006

Stellar weather and long term forecasts

I found this long term forecast from the Climate Impacts Group. They've done a little weather projecting into the fall and winter (and even the spring). Here is an excerpt,

The seasonal outlooks through spring 2007 suggest... a continuation of warmer than average conditions throughout the region for the coming fall, winter, and spring seasons... pointing toward[s] a weak-to-moderate intensity El NiƱo event for the next few seasons... suggest[ing]... an anomalously dry fall and winter for much of the region.
Of course there were some serious disclaimers, but if you follow this prediction, the forecast doesn't look so hot for skiers.

In the meantime, it's warm and dry on the mountain. Camp Muir enjoyed a balmy low of 49 last night! It's at 59 degrees as of 9 AM.

Image by Rob Veal

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Vacation...

If you haven't noticed, there have been few updates over the past 2 weeks... my apologies. This is largely due to the fact that I took a much needed climbing vacation. But I'm back, and with such fabulous weather on the horizon, I'm looking forward to more mountain related reports and gossip.

To start things off, Rainier fans will appreciate this recent Camp Muir development. Now there is a remote weather station at 10,000 feet. Check it out! With just a click of the mouse, you can find the temps, winds and other basic weather data at Camp Muir (providing the equipment doesn't fail). Which is pretty cool, as climbers and skiers will appreciate the high altitude information when predicting (guessing) the conditions. Maybe someday, we'll even get a Camp Muir Cam!

In other Mt Rainier news, we now know that climbing visitation is up from 2005. Not a huge leap, but up. We are already above 9,200 attempts for 2006, and I suspect that a few more will trickle throughout the fall and ealry winter. Also up in 2006 was the success rate, which is hovering around 62-63%. On the downside, however, is overall visitation to all of the National Parks (and in this case camping). The Denver Post covered the story in "Camping vacation falls out of favor." I find this topic interesting, and wonder about the trend.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Fall

Although Autumn officially begins on Sept. 22nd this year , it's starting to look and feel like "fall" now. The weather REMAINS outstanding (!), but change is in the air. Each day, the sun dips lower and lower into the sky, while the nighttime temps continue to drop.

Of course, there really isn't an official "Mt. Rainier Climbing Season," but if there were, it would start in late May and end around Labor Day weekend. Hmmm... Labor Day weekend just passed, and it's getting quiet around here...


I'd share a route report about some cool line or ski descent, but it's September and most of our reports are focused on the DC and Emmons. As an example, a climber called today and asked about the Kautz Glacier. From Aug. 21st to now, only 15 people have attempted it (6 made it) and they had little to share. The DC and the Emmons, however, are in fine shape (if you like crossing crevasses and few other climbers).

Regarding the "climbing season"... I find it WONDERFUL that we had no (I mean NO) rescues all summer!!! A few were hurt, yes, but no one needed any sort of "rescue." Everyone was able to walk off on their own. More on this topic later...


In other news... PAY ATTENTION MOUNTAIN GUIDES (or if you are interested in commercial guiding).

The NPS at Mt Rainier is OPENING professional guiding opportunities for competition to INDEPENDENT GUIDES (not concessions). After some research, you'll find that the scope of the introductory program IS quite limited, but the intent is for that program to expand. Moreover, other parks and agencies are watching Rainier, as independent guiding here could be precedent-setting within the industry, Park Service and other federal agencies.

As of today, roughly 8,600 climbers have attempted the summit this year, and the success rate hovers around 63%. By the way, it's no longer smoky up here.