Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Winter Season Transition

The last week of September is the last week of guided climbing trips on Mount Rainier for the season.  Guides will be pulling out the fixed pickets, wands, and ladders that they worked hard to maintain all summer long.  With colder temperatures, larger storm cycles, and no route kicked-in to the summit, winter conditions have arrived.

The Climbing Information Center also closed for the season this week.  Climber registration is still mandatory, but can be done in-person at the self-registration kiosk when you arrive.  See the Permits and Registration page for more info. 

There's still lots of road construction going on inside the park.  Please read signage and make sure to park your car in the appropriate location - especially if you're planning to be out overnight.  Freezing levels for early October are forecast to be around 5000 feet.  Hopefully we'll be skiing right out of the parking lot soon!

To illustrate the point, here is a graph of the 5-year average number of climbers per week.  The interesting thing to note is that we've seen a slight shift of the climbing occur over the last couple of years.  The season start a week or two 'earlier' than it did 10 or 20 years ago.  The end of the season also begins to wind down faster than it did historically.  The graph shows climbers registering for the Disappointment Cleaver route only.