The winter weather has settled into Mount Rainier and the forecast is easy on the eyes for snow play enthusiasts. Over Thanksgiving Weekend the park accumulated enough snow to put us over the three foot mark at Paradise. The road from Longmire to Paradise is now closing every night and reopening in the morning once the plows remove the drifts (usually around 9:00 am). Please try and park in-line with other vehicles at Paradise to maximize the small parking lot (read: don't park your car askew against a snow bank away from others because it looks cool). Climbers can still self-register at Paradise at the kiosk in the small A-frame building right next to the parking lot. The kiosk is on the covered patio. All overnight users must get a permit. We recommend that all visitors wishing to stay overnight register at the Longmire Museum (open everyday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm).
Three feet of snow isn't enough to fully cover and blanket all of the hazards in Paradise. Watch out for rocks, creeks, and downed logs. There are no 'manicured' runs for skiers and snowboarders and staying in control, making conservative risk-decisions, and having a self-rescue plan is mandatory. Even the best riders fall and cartwheel down slopes injuring themselves; here at Mount Rainier there's no ski patrol standing by. It can be hours and even days before help can arrive. Be prepared! And lastly, on a safety note, please venture out with a partner. Tree wells are just as dangerous as avalanches to backcountry users and having a partner can help mitigate both of those hazards. Get online and find a buddy, meet up with another group your speed in the parking lot, or wait till your friend's schedule lines up with yours, but definitely travel with a partner.
Since winter has kicked into gear, so have our local Mountain Rescue Association Members. Over the holiday weekend we had volunteers stay in Longmire and do some patrols on skis around Paradise. Big shout out to the MRA folks who've been coming out and helping up at the park.
Most of the seasonal road closures have occurred and only the typical winter roads are still open. See the park's Roads and Access page for more info.
Come on up and see Mount Rainier with a winter coat and have a happy holiday season!