Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Snowy March

March is ending with a bang! Lots of snow (over 40 inches) has fallen at Paradise over the last week. A few definite layers remain in the snowpack, but it's consolidating quickly. The road crew has been working hard to keep the road from Longmire to Paradise open.

Activity-wise, it's been relatively quiet because of all the stormy weather. Only a couple of guided climbing groups were able to enjoy the sunshine from above the storm clouds this week. Lots of reservations are pouring into the information center. Make sure to send them in soon - they're processed in the order they're received. Check out a couple of new route condition updates here. See you in April!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Conditions Update (March 13, 2009)

I just went up to Camp Muir on Thursday, the 12th of March. What a beautiful day! There's an obvious inversion in place right now. Longmire was a bit of an ice-box, but up at Paradise it was warm and sunny.

There's a good 10-15 inches new that is settling with the sun each day. South facing slopes are balling up and pin-wheeling down. There were people who were just booting it up without snowshoes or skis, but it didn't look as pleasant.

Once atop Pan Point, there was much less snow. The current bootpath up the snowfield is a little left of where it usually is, but there's a little less fresh snow over there, so it's more firm and windswept.

On the way up, I saw one of the largest ice-avalanches from Nisqually Ice Fall that I have ever seen. It went clear from about 11,200 feet to about 6,300 on the Nisqually. Amazing white powder cloud. It's an obvious good thing to remember that we're not "safe" from ice fall hazard on the lower Nisqually.

The rest of the trip up to Muir was good with no wind. There was less and less snow the farther you went up. Sastrugi was predominent from 9,400 feet up to Muir. The upper mountain appeared to be in IDEAL shape for a summit. I'd really like to hear from anyone who made it up this weekend!