Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In Bloom

So it's mid August, the sun has been shining and the remaining snow has been melting fast. This means that it is the time of year for blooming wildflowers! The subalpine meadows around Mount Rainier are home to many types of wildflowers, most of which are in the midst of flowering and adding beautiful colors to the landscape.

If any of you have been up climbing or hiking I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. The Paradise Meadows have been ablaze with Broadleaf Lupine, Cascade Aster, and Pasqueflower Seedhead just to name a few. Paradise isn't the only place to see fields of red and purple though. The subalpine ecosystem that is home to these flowers surrounds Rainier and is usually found between the 4,500' and 7,000' elevations. This being said climbers are sure to notice hardy plants and flowers growing in the rocky areas of Rainier at all elevations. Look around and you will surely be amazed when you see a hummingbird feeding on a flower as you approach 10,000' on Steamboat Prow or Muir Rocks!

These are some pretty hard core plants that survive year after year while spending eight or nine months buried beneath snow and ice. The best way to keep these guys around for future climbers to see is by not stepping on them, so on your way up to high camp please be sure to set a good example for the rest of the parks visitors (yes they are watching!) by staying on the trails, and not walking all over the fragile meadows.

The photos on this post were taken by Steven Redman one of our Interpretive Rangers here at Paradise. Interps work in the visitor centers throughout the park and are a great resource if you are looking for non-climbing related information. They have the most current beta on everything from flowers and animals to park geology and history. They are always amped to help you out with all the questions climbing rangers can't answer!

One thing climbing rangers can say with authority is that climbing on the mountain is still great. Check out new updates on the Kautz and DC. Don't forget about Little T (with a side trip up K Spire!) along with the Tatoosh peaks as climbing destinations.