Monday, November 28, 2016

Holidays. Time for Family and Ski Partners.

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!


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Windy, Warm and Wet

After an October in which we saw record setting precipitation in the Pacific Northwest November has stayed much the same. In the first ten days in November we have measured almost 2.5" of rain at Longmire. The days are getting very short and normally the temperatures would drop significantly but our high temperatures have remained on the upper end of normal. We even recorded a balmy 58 degrees at Paradise on the 8th.

Even though the snow cover is down from what it was two weeks ago there's still plenty of skiers getting out for turns on the Muir Snowfield. Rangers found good skiing from Camp Muir down to Pebble Creek on the 8th. Below that it's basically just linking snowpatches with some hiking in between.

As the meadows around Paradise are in the transition from Fall to Winter we would like to remind visitors to stick to the summer trails where they are melted out and avoid damaging the fragile vegitation by hiking or skiing over thinly snow-covered terrain.

The Park's road systems are progressing towards full winter status. Most of the seasonal closures have already gone into effect but Chinook and Cayuse passes remain open. The Paradise road remains open 24 hours a day but that can change depending on weather. You can always check the Road Status page for the latest info about Park roads in general and for specific info on the Paradise road the Mount Rainier NPS Twitter Feed is the best bet.

And, finally, when you come up to visit, make sure to stop by and give us a shout.  Rangers staff the booth at the entrance to the park and the ranger station at Longmire daily.  On weekends and holidays the Jackson Visitor Center (JVC) is open.  Climbers and overnight hikers still need to register in person with a ranger or at a self-registration kiosk.  Follow the directions from the ranger or the kiosk to obtain your permit and/or pass.

Safe travels!

-The Mount Rainier Climbing Rangers