Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summertime's Back

Warm weather around Mount Rainier has been creating some pretty large electrical storms near the mountain.  Spectacular to see from afar, but a bit unnerving to be near - especially if there's nothing else around that's taller than you!  Safety around electrical storms is all about minimizing the chances of getting hit.  Put the odds in your favor by avoiding any climb that puts you near a storm, staying near depressions and away from ridge tops, and crouch with your feet close together if the storm is unavoidable.  Definitely don't climb up into a storm - it's generally not fun.

Also - a heads up: for those of you planning to arrive in the wee hours or depart late this next week, Monday through Wednesday, August 4, 5, and 6 the Nisqually Road will be CLOSED TO ALL TRAFFIC between the Westside Road and Longmire between  the hours of 9:30 pm & 4:30 am.  This is the main road into the park from Seattle and Portland.  Climbers heading into or out of the Paradise area during these nights will need to use Stevens Canyon Road.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mid-July Update

Despite the recent heat and associated melt-off, routes are holding strong around the mountain! Some areas are definitely starting to become more barren of snow, but that hasn't stopped motivated climbers from successful outings on Ptarmigan, Mowich, and the Tahoma to name a few. The DC and Emmons are still in great shape and seeing lots of traffic, especially on weekends. Being organized when you show up at the ranger station to get your passes and permit helps a ton in making that part go fast! Have your group together, information (car license!) accessible, and your climbing pass or payment ready. 

Tahoma Glacier - Photo by Tim Hale
There is still lots of road construction happening between the Nisqually entrance and Longmire so be prepared to have a delay if you are driving through that area. There is construction and scheduled shutdowns on 410 near Chinook pass (check WSDOT for latest). Some of the lower Paradise trails are receiving some much needed resurfacing and portions of the trails will be closed weekends for the next couple of weeks. There are many easy alternate routes through the Paradise meadows, so this should not delay anyone too much.

Please be extra vigilant about trash and blue bags. This is the time of year rangers are picking up more garbage and human waste from all over the mountain. If you bring it up on the mountain it is your responsibility to take it off. This includes all uneaten food and unburned fuel. All this stuff becomes garbage no one uses and rangers end up packing it down for you, which is bad form on the part of whoever left it. Even worse form is leaving a huge poo right beside camp or the climbing route. People don't want to walk by that and rangers sure would rather not pick it up. It always amazes us how many people leave their poo for us to pick up, please be a better steward of this mountain than those people. Thanks to everyone that has helped us clean up areas and taken down trash that is not theirs, your help does not go unnoticed! 

No major accidents on the mountain recently either. Keep on staying safe, and like always have fun!

Monday, July 07, 2014

Heat Wave

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. Even though there were some steady winds up high many people got up and had successful summit bids. Routes all over the mountain are being climbed and reports seem to be that things are staying in good shape! Check out new reports on Mowich Face, Ptarmigan Ridge, the Disappointment Cleaver and the Emmons/Winthrop.

The upcoming days are going to be seriously HOT. Climb early (teams are stoked to reach the summit before 8:00 AM)  or late (as soon as the snow firms up at night) to avoid sloppy snow, postholing, increased icefall and rockfall, sunburns, dehydration, sunstroke and photokeratitis. Snow surfaces should refreeze nicely with the clear nights, but will rewarm and soften rapidly when the sun comes up.

Stay safe out there.