Friday, December 18, 2015

Winter Wonderland

The snow is really stacking up out there right now! With the kids on holiday break from school, it's a great time to come for a winter visit at Mt. Rainier.

Over the past week or so the park has been receiving almost daily doses of snow and winter storms, making for excellent skiing and snowshoeing opportunities. With that said, the new snow isn't all fun and games. Winter brings new challenges for the back country enthusiast, such as cold and windy weather and the potential for avalanches.

A couple climbing rangers are back on duty and got out to dig an avalanche data pit today. See the photo to the right. While the pit profile in and of itself may not be too scary, rangers found several layers of concern in the snowpack. Heavy snowfall turned to rain briefly yesterday afternoon, creating a crust on the surface, this event was followed with strong winds and more snow. This crust was providing a potential sliding surface for all the new snow on top of it. Rangers also noted substantial wind loading on east and north facing aspects, avoid avalanche terrain at this aspect until things settle down. A crust was also still present from the Thanksgiving cold spell, which provides a deep sliding surface. The Thanksgiving crust appears to be less and less of an issue as the snowpack piles up. What does all of this mean? Well, check the avalanche forecast provided by the Northwest Avalanche Center as well as a weather forecast before venturing to the mountain. Also bring an avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe along with the knowledge of how to use them. As always, use caution when traveling in the back country, and come prepared for any and all weather conditions.

Come enjoy our winter wonderland, and venture out for a ski! If you are planning on a climb, or trip to Muir, the self registration kiosk is out and stocked in Paradise, in front of the Old Station. The Jackson Visitor Center will be open for weekends and holidays as well.

Happy Holidays from the Mt. Rainier Climbing Rangers!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Dry and Cold

The weather has been incredibly dry after a series of big wet storms in early November.  More moisture is predicted later this week into early December.  Keep an eye on the freezing levels to see where snow will be accumulating.  The Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) has a great website that's full of resources for climbers and skiers.  You'll find regional avalanche forecasts and links to different weather stations (telemetry sites) around the state.  Determining conditions for a climb or ski in different parts of the park is best done by examining data from stations near your route. 

Climbers and skiers should keep in mind that response time to any backcountry incident will be slower than in the summer.  Make sure to have a self-rescue plan (sled? overnight gear?) so that a small incident does not become a tragic situation.

Self-registration for climbers is available at the small Paradise Ranger Station.  There's a kiosk right inside the grey porch awning.  Enjoy the holiday season!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Sunny Winter Skiing

Skiers have been out making tracks.  Snow has thinly covered most of the Paradise Meadows and a couple of sunny days have made backcountry skiing feasible.  Weather patterns have been unstable over the past month and will probably continue to be variable.  Severe storms have blown through the park without much warning.  Make sure to have a contingency plan if poor weather leaves you stranded!  Check the NWAC Website and look at the "Mount Rainier Area" telemetry sites for the latest conditions.  The snow pack at Paradise looks to be holding on for the duration of the winter.  The Tatoosh Range still looks rocky with lots of slide alder sticking up.  Use caution while backcountry skiing this time of year - or just wait till the mountain gets a solid snow base.  Be especially cautious skiing in thinly covered areas with low visibility.

Road access to Paradise is limited to the daytime.  There's a gate at Longmire that is open ideally from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  Extreme weather events and high avalanche danger can prevent the road from opening.  The park is tweeting out road daily opening/closing updates @MountRainierNPS.  Check out the widget in the sidebar to the right for the latest tweet!  Also, look to previous posts for off-season climbing information.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Come visit your park in its fall glory!

Fall is here and it’s time to start tuning up the skis in hopes of snow! The lower slopes are turning bright red with fall colors, and the cyclic storm patterns are bringing the possibility of fresh snow to the Muir snowfield for those keen to ski.

To NPS climbing rangers, the snowfall means we have come full circle since the spring and it is time for most of us to leave until next season. We've wrapped up our upper mountain operations, which might play into your risk-management decisions, as search and rescue on the mountain will be much more limited than in the summer. The guide services are done for the season as well, and have removed their ladders and fixed lines, so there have been very few climbers on the upper mountain.

Climbers and skiers need to be aware that conditions change extremely rapidly, and increased snowfall and increased wind transport above high camps will make for variable avalanche conditions. We highly advise anyone contemplating climbing to be well prepared for these conditions (transceiver, probe, and shovel). Also keep in mind that due to late season conditions, most glaciers are heavily featured with very thin snow bridges and complex terrain. With the recent snow, many of these poorly-bridged crevasses may now be less obvious.

Considering coming up for a climb or ski? Please check out some of the helpful links below:

First, access can be tricky - here's the latest alert from the park website.

The road from the Nisqually entrance to Paradise is the only road that will remain plowed during the winter months. All other park roads will be closed after the first major snows and remain closed until spring. The Paradise area receives huge amounts of snow each winter and the road up to it is the highest elevation road kept opened in the Cascades during winter. The parks plow operators work hard in a tough area. Please be aware that during big storms the road crews will need additional time to get the roads clear for travel. Check out the park page for specific information on road status and winter operations. All vehicles are required to carry chains during the winter.

Second, check the weather! Not just the day of your adventure, but check out the trends too.

The weather over the next six months or so will be mostly inhospitable on the upper mountain, but there will also be stretches of good weather that will allow for summit bids. Even in relatively good weather do not underestimate the intensity of a winter ascent on Rainier and plan ahead accordingly. Consult weather forecasts, avalanche forecasts and warnings, and be very sure of your mountaineering skills. Look at the conditions page on this blog for winter-specific information on the places you want to visit or routes you want to climb. Please note that while it is possible this blog will be updated during the winter, updates will be few and far between.

And, finally, when you come up to visit, make sure to stop by and give us a shout. If you do come up for a winter climb, we still need you to register and get a permit and a climbing pass. This is important because it will help rangers immensely if for some reason you require outside assistance during your climb.

The Ranger station in Longmire is open daily. On weekends and holidays the Jackson Visitor Center (JVC) is open. Climbers and overnight hikers must register in person with a ranger or at the self-registration kiosk at the Paradise Old Station. Click here for hours and locations.

We hope you had an excellent summer and look forward to skiing with you this winter!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Does the outburst flood have anything to do with climbing conditions?


A real outburst flood originated from the lower terminus of the South Tahoma Glacier on Thursday, August 13.  There is rather dramatic video here.  The park has since received some inquiry if the outburst flood and the condition of the glacier has anything to do with the 'poor' climbing conditions this summer.
Well, let's clear up a few myths.  The climbing conditions have been pretty doggone good this year.  It's been a real travesty that more people haven't taken advantage of the great weather and solid routes to the top.

Outburst floods tend to happen this time of year when the conditions are warm.  Look at the Google Earth image below and put that into perspective of where the Disappointment Cleaver is on the other side of the mountain.

The climbing season got off to a great start in the spring.  By late July we were actually 500 climbers (year-to-date) ahead of last year.  Many people were out enjoying the mountain and climbing.  However, after a period of poor weather on July 22, the bottom fell out and folks have stayed away.
Here are another couple of facts.  It's true that our winter snowpack never arrived at Paradise.  In a big year, the snowdepth can reach over 240 inches.  This last year, it never got over 85" and stayed around 60" for much of the year.  The story was worse for Washington's ski areas as their base facilities are lower than Paradise.  However, most recording stations in western Washington recorded 'normal' precipitation.  The temperature was just dramatically higher.
We measure the snow accumulating on the Nisqually and Emmons glaciers as a part of an on-going mass-balance study conducted by principle investigator Jon Riedel, PhD, at North Cascades National Park.  Stakes are placed in the glacier in 6 places from the terminus up to 11,000 feet on both glaciers.  We did observe much less snow than normal at the stakes near the terminus, however, above 9000' near normal snowdepth (winter accumulation) was observed.  This was true at both Ingraham and Emmons Flats.
However, we have also observed that the Disappointment Cleaver has melted out to rock much more and much sooner than normal.  Deposition may have varied from place to place on the mountain.
So, the long-term forecast for the next three months going into the winter seem still to be for warmer and drier than normal conditions.  I bet that there will be a few more opporunties to climb!
Climbers Per Week / All Routes
Red: Three-Year Average
Blue: This Year

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Cold Blustery Weather is Upon Us

Climbers at Camp Muir braving an August alpine storm
that produced about two inches of fresh snow.
As we progress into mid August, the warm beach weather we are so used to is now transitioning into more of what you see in the picture to the left.  This does not mean the climbing season is over of that the warm weather has come to an end.  It just acts as a reminder that we are operating in a changing environment and that we have to be prepared for changing weather and upper mountain conditions.  If you are on the fence about packing that extra layer or the four season tent verse the three season, keep in mind that the fall weather is upon us.  If you were to get caught out in a storm, that extra layer might end up doing you some good.

The well traveled routes on the upper mountain are still holding up, but travel carefully and err on the side of caution when warm weather persists and you are faced with crevasse crossings or melting out bridges.  Pickets are highly recommended for each member of the climbing party in case someone were to take a plunge.  Keep in mind that as the season progresses, the amount of climbing parties is decreasing, so don't expect or plan on other climbing parties to be there to help if an incident were to occur.

With all the low pressure, and the in and out alpine storms, comes clear skies above the marine layer, so come on out and enjoy some fresh alpine air with minimal forest fire smoke.

Safe climbing!

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

NWAC Annual Report

Warm weather prevented a great ski season in the Cascade Range.  Snow pack set record lows at most ski areas.  Luckily, the amount of precipitation received was closer to average for the winter months.  This resulted in the higher elevations accumulating a more normal amount of snow, like we've seen high atop Mount Rainier.

The Northwest Avalanche Center released it's 2014-2015 Annual Report.  It gives a season summary and talks a little about the outreach they do.  Their avalanche forecasts are a great resource for climbers on Mount Rainier and elsewhere in the Cascade Range.  The forecast staff has come up to the park to give the rangers snow science lessons and members of the professional observer team can be seen up on the slopes digging pits and taking weather notes throughout the winter.

Keep avalanche safety in mind as August storms start to bring new snow back to the mountain.  Watch for terrain traps below avalanche prone slopes and consider bringing the necessary gear to keep you safe when heading out after a late-summer storm.  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

We're Jamming in July

It's our busiest month here on the mountain - and it definitely feels busy this year.  The Emmons-Winthrop Glacier, Disappointment Cleaver, and Kautz Glacier have all seen numerous ascents this month.  July holds the best chance of climbers getting stable weather patterns and straightforward route conditions.  There's also quite a bit of daylight in July which helps climbers navigate rocky slopes and broken glaciers.

Sunshine and heat in July cause some of the park's fauna to start venturing higher onto the volcano.  Goats and their tracks can be seen right around high camps near 10,000 feet.  Foxes and mice venture even higher.  Rosy finches swoop in and around and can be seen near 13,000 feet.  And of course the year-round residents, and our favorites - ravens, are also out and soaring above the mountain.  With all of these creatures up high - make sure to secure your food scene.  Keep a tight camp and don't leave food out or unattended.  Crafty foxes have ruined more than one summit bid after snatching a climbing team's food bag and trotting off to their den.  It can make for a hungry hike down the hill.

As the days get shorter into August, and the weather turns a touch cooler, be prepared for the mountain's first "winter storm" to arrive... but until then, come on up and enjoy prime-time on the mountain.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mountain Happenings

The DC is still holding together and is in fine climbable shape. Give the guide services a shout of thanks for their constant effort of route maintenance.

The exact number of ladders is continually changing. In addition to ladders there are a few short (~5-10') sections where steps have been chopped and hand lines installed.

Stay alert of who and what is above and below you. Early climbing starts are advised to avoid climbing during the temperature peak of the day. Remember to shorten your rope interval when going through Cathedral Gap and on the Cleaver to minimize human triggered rock fall.

The objective hazards of rock and ice fall are still very prominent. Areas of particular concern are the traverse below the Ingraham ice fall at the bottom of the DC and the traverse from the top of the DC to Camp Comfort/across the Ingraham.

The weather is starting to cool bringing with it some scattered showers and variable visibility. Check the weather and get a good forecast before you head out. As a result of the cooling temperatures the snow and ice has firmed considerably, creating potential for long slides in the event of a fall that is not arrested.

If you are planning on climbing the Kautz (or anywhere) please be a responsible patron and steward of the mountain and clean up after your team, or else.

Stay smart and climb on!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Tiny Fireworks and Large Crevasses

Mountain weather remained hot over the Fourth of July weekend.  Freezing levels above the mountain and no clouds had most parties leaving early and returning to high camps before the snow softened.  Clear skies on Independence Day gave climbers a view of the firework displays in cities around the mountain.  The minuscule size of mortars is another reminder of how far away from "the city" we are up here on the mountain.

Climbers have been enjoying a high success rate on all of the standard routes.  The Kautz Glacier, Disappointment Cleaver, and Emmons/Winthrop Glacier have all had many parties cruise up and down them this last weekend.  Besides the crevasses opening up a bit larger everyday, the routes have been holding together surprisingly well.

We've mentioned it before, but wanted to give all three major guide companies - RMI, IMG, and AAI a big shout out for all of the extra route work and maintenance they've been doing.  A number of ladders, hand-lines, and exposed traverses get reset and worked on almost everyday.  Please remember to give them a thanks if you see them up and out on the mountain.

The next week looks to be a bit cooler and a return to a more typical on shore flow weather pattern.  Come on up and enjoy the best weeks of climbing on the mountain!

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

General Mountain News

Foxes have been spotted slinking around Camp Muir. Keep your food storage scene tight. Use the provided buckets or store food in the public shelter.

Please be aware of extremely hazardous and climbing difficult conditions on Liberty Ridge. There have been several reported near misses with rock and ice fall. Climb at your own risk.

With the recent heat things around here are melting rapidly, watch out for rock fall and weak bridges.Make sure you bring adequate hydration and sun protection.

Everything that comes to the mountain with you should leave the mountain with you. Please no trash or extras in the camp toilets or public shelter.

Last of all don't forget to stop to enjoy the views and smell the wildflowers!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Welcome 5-Hotel-Xray!

Please join us in welcoming 5-Hotel-Xray of Helicopter Express to Mount Rainier National Park. Helicopter Express, Inc. was recently awarded our Pacific Northwest NPS 120-day exclusive use contract for a high performance small helicopter.

N25HX, is an A-Star B3, arguably the most powerful small helicopter in the world having the record for highest landing and takeoff known (top of Mount Everest). The intended use of the ship is search and rescue, resource projects and fire preparedness and suppression.

This ship will be shared by with North Cascades National Park and potentially other neighboring parks and agencies.

Keep an eye out for 5-H-X if you are headed to the mountain this next week as we resupply our high camps.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Muir Webcam Back Online

The webcam at Camp Muir has been off-line due to some battery issues we were having.  The batteries have been fixed and the webcam is transmitting images once more.

The image is taken with a StarDot webcam mounted on the side of the Camp Muir ranger station and transferred to Paradise with an 802.11x radio network bridge at 5 minute intervals.  The webcam is not the primary purpose for the network bridge.  The bridge gives a vital phone connection inside the ranger station which is essential to everyday operations and coordination during searches and rescues.

Here's a great place to check out the Muir webcam and other webcams around the park:

Mt. Rainier's page of webcam images:

Image from June 8, 2015 at just after 08:00 am!

Monday, June 01, 2015

Snowy Monday! Weekend Wrap Up

A Muir-Summer Night's Eve
We had a full house at Camp Muir and Ingraham Flats this weekend. Many parties had successful climbs. If you stay in the public shelter please remember to take EVERYTHING with you when you leave. There are no magic trash fairies.
Monday Morning Views

The climbing route is in decent shape despite the uncharacteristic direction this year. Be aware of objective hazards and blocking route traffic when taking breaks.

Although the guides do a great job marking and maintaining the route please be prepared to find your own way in variable and low visibility conditions. SPOT beacons should be your very last resort when you have exhausted the possibility of self-rescue. Take advantage of the tools available to you, and learn how to use them properly.

Since last night Camp Muir has received about an inch of snow. Guides climbing this morning reported several inches of new snow at the flats and above. The new snow has been accompanied by electrical activity, too close for comfort in some cases. The greater Paradise area is melting rapidly.

-692 Tomlinson

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Two Thousand and Fifteen Season in Full Swing!

It's officially between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends which we consider as the "climbing season" here on Rainier.  Only about two percent of the 11,000 climbers who attempt Mount Rainier every year climb in the "off-season" and their success ratio is much lower due to the difficulties of colder, stormier and more unpredictable weather.  Guide companies have started making regular trips up and down the mountain, snow on the mountain has begun consolidating into a melt-freeze cycle, and non-standard routes around the mountain have been ascended.  

A much lower than average snowpack here in the Casacades will have an impact on climbers this season.  Routes might not be "in" as late as some summers.  Approaches along the Wonderland Trail are almost entirely snow free.  The Mowich Lake Road is scheduled to open in early June.  Even some sub-alpine wildflowers are starting to bloom in the high meadows.  

Construction projects at both high camps will begin for this year in early June.  Extreme weather tore the bathroom apart at Camp Schurman.  New walls and a door will be installed there.  A new and improved toilet system and structure will continue being built at Camp Muir behind the Public Shelter and eventually replace the current toilet scene.

We're stoked on the long days and nice weather patterns we've been having.  Come see the mountain before the white winter coat wears off!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend

Recent Weather and Tokaloo Spire,  Puyallup Cleaver
'Tis the weekend again and a three day one at that. Be prepared for some fabulous and variable mountain weather this weekend.

The DC is in shape thanks to much work done by the guide services. Check the route condition pages for more details from around the mountain.

The general consensus is that the glaciers are in mid-late summer condition, and that the snow is in spring condition not quantity. If you are planning on voyaging on a lesser traveled route expect heavy slogging, flotation recommended.

Skiing from Muir to Paradise is getting less and less direct you will probably have to pop your skis before hitting the parking lot. As the trails melt out please stay on them! Per the usual watch for terrain traps and unmarked obstacles.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Road Construction

Nisqually Bridge Construction 1959

Construction on the Paradise Road will resume Monday May 18th, 2015.
The current phase of the construction project will start in Paradise and work downhill towards Longmire.
Expect delays up to 30 min between 7am and 5:30pm. Monday-Friday until further notice.
Check the Mount Rainier National Park website for periodic updates.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Climbing Information Center is Open.

The Paradise Climbing Information Center will be opening for the 2015 climbing season on
Friday May 15th.

The CIC will be open daily from 7:00 to 12:00 and 12:30 to 4:30 pm to register climbers, answer questions on conditions and provide general information on climbing Mt Rainier.

All self registration for climbing Mount Rainier will be closed until mid September. In order to climb Mount Rainier you must visit a ranger station in person to purchase a climbing pass and register your party. This is most easily done at the CIC or White River WIC where you will also be able to contact a climbing ranger for the latest updates.

Climbing registration is required for any glacier travel and/or travel above 10,000'.
36 CFR §7.5(b)(1)

We look forward to seeing you out on the mountain this year.

Friday, May 01, 2015

It's Friday!

The weekend is upon us with a high and dry forecast.

Big news around the mountain is that the road to the White River Campground is now OPEN, Stevens Canyon road remains CLOSED, and that asphalt has been spotted in the Paradise meadows (eek!).

You read that right folks access to the north side of the park just got a whole lot easier, you can now drive to the White River Campground.

If you are planning on running a shuttle from one side of the mountain to the other:
- The shortest drive is going to be around the south side of the mountain through Packwood on the Skate Creek Rd/ Forrest Road 52 (watch the bumps and elk).
-The anticipated opening date for the Stevens Canyon Road is May 25th. The opening date is subject to change, crews are working now to clear the obstructing rock slide.

For those of you familiar with the Paradise area it looks like mid July already.

This week has been warm, with more sun on the way; conditions are changing rapidly.
For folks touring there is an abundance of low snow hazards in addition to the regular hazard that comes with traveling in and through avalanche terrain. Watch where you are going, watch where your buddies are going.

Stay smart, stay safe.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

2015 Season

The climbing ranger season is officially underway!  We're getting our pre-season training on with our aviation assets, an EMS refresher, rigging exercises, and an alpine skills session.  The lack of snow at lower altitudes has made an interesting start to our season.  Many of the trails out of Longmire have been snow free and the skiing in the Tatoosh kinda picky.  Roads and trails will be accessible much earlier this summer.  We are working to keep the blog as current as we can during this time, and look forward to seeing you out on the mountain.

Big thanks to the Army Reserve's 214th for hosting a training earlier this week. Photo:J.Hanna
Things to Note:

-The Climbing Information Center in Paradise will open for daily operations at 0700 on May 15.
-While reservation requests for the Wonderland Trail have been suspended this in no way affects climbing reservation requests. More detailed information can be found in this press release Wonderland Trail Reservations Suspended.
-For your convenience here is the 2015 Reservation Request Form so you can get planning!

More information about these topics can be found elsewhere on this blog and on the Mount Rainier National Park website.

See you soon! 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Winter Infusion

This past weekend brought an enjoyable change in the weather to the park, snow!

Tuesday Touring
Since Friday the weather station in Paradise has recorded almost two feet of new snow, bringing the total snow depth to 85" or 50% of average. While not quite the snowpocalypse blizzaster we've all been hoping for it has been a pleasant change in conditions that is about to change again.

The forecast is calling for rapid warming in the next few days. Keep an eye out for avalanche hazards such as wet slides and point releases as the temps warm, particularly on recently loaded slopes. Given the lower than normal snow depth terrain traps are definitely a concern.

Come prepared (avy savy, beacon, probe, shovel), stay smart, have fun, repeat.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Eastside Update

Chinook and Cayuse Passes are open as of April 3. Get the latest WSDOT road closure information and updates HERE.  The gate to White River off of HWY410 remains closed. Bike beyond the gate with caution due to winter storm debris and vehicles on the road.

Below is an update from a March trip up to Camp Schurman.

Beyond the road closure you will have to walk or bike - helmets, lights, and bright colors are advised.  Watch for administrative NPS or WSDOT snow clearing vehicles beyond the gate. There is heavy machinery using the road!

The road is clear of snow with scattered tree detritus until the White River Ranger Station. Beyond the White River Ranger Station, the snow is patchy to the White River Campground.

Register at the self registration kiosk at the White River Ranger Station. You can pick up and dispose of blue bags here as well. The disposal barrel is around the back of the ranger station by the back door (barrel with red bag).

At the White River Campground you will find:
Bathrooms: There is an open vault toilet in one of the campground loops.
Garbage disposal:  Pack it in / Pack it out!
Water: NO potable/running tap water. Treat as desired the plentiful stream water or melt snow.

Make sure to leave your bikes in a secure manner off/away from any roads. The caching of any equipment (i.e. shoes/boots) once on trail is strictly prohibited, use bear boxes in the White River Campground. Bikes are not allowed on trails.

Here's the continuation of this report including photos and a description of the conditions at Camp Schurman.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Where Has Winter Gone?
Today in Paradise, the barbecues were out, sunglasses were on, and the smell of sunscreen was in the air! Many happy skiers, snowshoers, and snowboarders were out enjoying a day that felt more like July than January. It appears as though we are in store for more of the same in the coming days, with high freezing levels, and warm temperatures.
This incoming weather pattern was quite a change from the weather of the previous few days at Mt. Rainier. The park received rain up to approximately 8,000-9,000 feet for several days, wetting down our already thin snow coverage. And since the skiing was no good, climbing rangers got out to see what all the rain was doing to the snow pack. Rangers dug an avalanche test pit on the East Face of Alta Vista and conducted a full profile. Below are the results.
The pit confirmed what avalanche forecasters were already saying. During a rain on snow event, like we were having, the snow pack gets wet, creating potential for loose wet avalanches, and maybe the possibility of a wet slab. However, the good news is, with sunshine today, the snow pack had a chance to drain. Thus alleviating the majority of this problem. However, there is still a possibility of wet loose avalanches with the warm temperatures, especially on sun baked south and southwest facing slopes in steeper terrain, or near rocky outcroppings.
Even though it feels like summer, there is still snow out there, so please still check the NWAC avalanche forecast before setting out in the back country at Mt. Rainier. And come equipped with a shovel, beacon, and probe as well as the knowledge of how to use them in the event of an avalanche. If you are out on a not so fantastic weather day, and feel like digging a snow pit, please share your findings with the rangers.
Take advantage of this amazing weather window and come on up to the high country and get some sunshine! for the NWAC avalanche forecast, check out this link.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from the Mount Rainier Climbing Rangers!
A couple climbing rangers have returned to duty for 2015, so hopefully we will keep the blog updated for your viewing and reading pleasure!
Winter may be in full affect on the calendar, but the past couple of days here at Rainier have felt a bit like June! With high freezing levels, sunny skies, and a bit of a low snowpack. This has meant that many folks have been taking advantage of the spring like conditions to come play in the snow, ski, and snow shoe.
If you are planning a visit to the mountain please keep in mind that it is still winter, and conditions can change rapidly. With that said, we are expecting a change to a more wintery pattern of weather in the coming days. So if you have a trip planned for the weekend, bring a full kit of winter gear including a GPS with waypoints pre-loaded, plenty of warm clothing, and extra layers.
But the mountain is looking beautiful, so come on up and bring those skis or snowboards! If you would like to plan a winter ascent please check the weather carefully, and don't forget to register. The Jackson Visitor Center is open for visitors and will issue you a permit on the weekends, and interpretive rangers are staffing the Wilderness Information Center in Longmire during week days, and you can always self register in front of the Old Ranger Station in Paradise. Visit, for more details!