Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Muir Snowfield July 10, 2017

Summer is in full swing on the Muir Snowfield. Warm temperatures over the past few weeks have brought the Snowfield into summer condition.

From Paradise, there is discontinuous snow on the Skyline Trail all the way to Pebble Creek (elevation 7200’). Please stay on established trails in this fragile area. In snow covered areas, there is a well-established bootpack and wanded route that connects sections of dry trail. The flowers are starting to bloom and marmots can be seen sunning themselves on the rocks throughout the area.

Above Pebble Creek, the route to Camp Muir is continuous snow. The bootpack follows the summer route, gaining a series of steep snow slopes directly above Pebble Creek. Glissade tracks are deepening on these features and rocks are starting to emerge in the bottom portions of these tracks. Always investigate a glissade track before starting to ensure that the runout is devoid of rocks or other hazards.

Climbers ascending the Muir Snowfield.

The upper half of the snowfield is becoming suncupped and dirty, making ski descents less favorable than earlier this season. Dedicated skiers can still sneak in a few enjoyable turns, but smooth snow is hard to come by. Once below Pebble Creek, stick to patches of snow that connect directly to established trails to keep from damaging fragile alpine vegetation.

Remember to carry and use blue bags for human waste while hiking on the Muir Snowfield. These can be deposited at Camp Muir in dedicated waste collection barrels near the bathrooms.