Friday, August 04, 2017

Muir Snowfield Update

A climber near Pebble Creek makes his way towards the Muir Snowfield.
As the heart of the summer presses on the snowfield continues to melt quickly. New rock outcroppings, cascading waterfalls, and alpine plants are emerging from the winter snow pack. Typical weather this time of year consist of sunny days and warm nights with many hours of daylight. Climbers and Hikers alike are coming and going at all hours of the day and some are feeling the effects of the midday heat. Be sure to bring the essentials (water, sunglasses, sunscreen) before making the trip up. There is no water at Camp Muir so bring enough to stay hydrated on the way back down if you are only out for a day hike.

The Skyline trail starting in Paradise leading up to the Muir Snowfield which begins just past Pebble Creek is nearly 100% snow free. The picture to the left shows one of the two late season snow patches encountered before reaching Pebble Creek.
Please take care and do your best to stay on the designated trail. The Alpine plant life gets trampled continuously by visitors that don't understand the impacts they are making and leaving behind when walking of trail. Take pride in your park and help others to understand and preserve the beauty.

The wind rolls leading out of pebble creek up to the snowfield are becoming steeper and grooved out by the many glissade tracks. Use the climbers lefthand side to get up an over these wind rolls. There is usually an uphill boot track in the snow that will make getting up over these much easier. On a side note, don't be the guy/gal that walks downhill in the uphill track. Doing this ruins the steps for everyone else going uphill.
Current snow conditions at 9'000 feet
The snowfield proper is mostly a combination of sun-cupped snow with a barrage of boot tracks. Random icy layers are beginning to show up on the surface and glide cracks are not far behind. The snow during the day is generally soft but can also become quite hard during the early morning and late afternoon. Having the option for extra traction on your feet (yak track/microspikes) and a walking stick can help prevent the unwanted slip and fall. Expect to see many other visitors on the snow field if visiting over the weekend.

A climber at Camp Muir preps his backpack before hiking down the snowfield.