Monday, April 02, 2007

Summit Trips and Road Access

Winter-like snowfall continues on Mt. Rainier, but you can feel the presence of spring and the coming summer in the air. Many climbers are planning summer trips; reservations are in full swing, and the guide services are working again on the mountain.

The best Mt. Rainier climbing news, of late, is the recent summit by two independent climbers. Tim Ryan (photo credit) and his partner (Erik) hiked in from the Nisqually Entrance (i.e. park boundary) up the Tahoma Creek drainage and to the summit via the Tahoma Glacier. Their trip report is here (almost verbatim).

Of interest to many is the updated list of road openings; there are no major surprises. Along those lines, the Nisqually to Paradise road is nearing completion. Park crews have reconstructed the embankments at Milespost's #5 and #9. In the next few weeks, the road crew hopes to complete the installation of two massive 12-foot culverts at Kautz Creek. They're still calling for a May 1 opening (barring unanticipated delays) and plan a "media day" once the major repairs are completed (just in case there wasn't enough press already).

A quick word on campgrounds... Cougar Rock Campground will be open May 18th, one week earlier, to help offset the loss of Sunshine Point. Otherwise, it's business as usual at the other locations (except for Ipsut Creek).