Climbing Program Manager

I'm pleased to announce that Stefan Lofgren has officially been selected for the permanent position as Climbing Program Manager. Of course, he's been serving in this role in an acting capacity for over a year now, but his skills, drive, and vision for the program have proven him to be the best person to further the professionalization of the Mount Rainier Climbing program. Stefan has worked for over 20 years in the parks in the Pacific Northwest-most have been here at Mount Rainier, but he has also worked at Olympic. He knows the mountain, the weather, the people, and the environment. While serving in the acting Program Mgr. role, Stefan has guided a major transformation toward professionalizing the overall operation, establishing increased permanent supervisory oversight for staff, provided his staff with increased training opportunities and additional time to prepare for the season, created clear guidelines and SOPs which have helped reduce risk for his employees, spearheaded the first major climbing permit fee increase in over 10 years, and has set a vision for the program which will provide for an even more effective operation that works safely and efficiently doing the amazing things that the climbing rangers do. In addition, he worked with park staff to envision and implement a webcam for Camp Muir and established network connectivity for the Camp. These items will increase the safety for visitors going up to Camp Muir, and enables supervisory staff to spend more time on the mountain than at their computers in Longmire. Congratulations, Stefan! - Chuck Young, Chief Ranger, Mount Rainier National Park

Snowdepth Record at Paradise


Starting on the 7th of August this year, we have more snow at Paradise than ever recorded since 1916. The world-record snow years in the early 1970's made for similar snow packs this time of year, but the cool weather has caused the snow to melt more slowly than usual. Our total snowfall for the winter of 2011 was approximately 907 inches - not a world record, but one of the five biggest snow years Paradise has ever seen.

What's different is our cool summer we've had this year. Just today, I skied all the way to Camp Muir from the Paradise parking lot. That's amazing. It's August and we should be enjoying the flowers.

I anticipate that our record breaking trend will continue a few weeks. It never really cleared off today at Paradise. The moist, marine-layer that has Seattle fogged in is strong enough to push all the way to Paradise.


Here's the data break down:


Washington Summer

Long term high pressure systems have surrounded the mountain, and after reading the forecasts, look to remain in the area. With July coming to a close, statistically the number of climbers on the mountain also begins to fall. Climbers looking for an experience of solitude in the alpine wilderness can come take advantage of the peace and quiet now. By climbing mid-week this time of year, even on some of the standard routes, the chances of meeting other independent parties on route is greatly reduced.

The late-snow season has left many of the routes in great shape. Climbers will find that the flowers and trails are just now starting to melt out in the alpine meadows. The "peak" of the flower season is still to come. On approaches, climbers have been seeing more Black Bears, Clark's Nutcrackers, and Elephant's Head than in previous years.

As the season progresses, different routes will start to see more traffic. The Mowich Face and the Tahoma Glacier are both routes which stay "in," well into September, along with the standard routes - the DC and EW. Welcome to Remember to bring the sunscreen!