|View from the Muir Snowfield looking at Mount Rainier in early-March|
Winter still blankets the mountain, but preparations for another season on Rainier have begun! Almost 18 feet of snow has accumulated at Paradise - which bodes well for skiing this summer - and high winds (averaging well over 50 mph at Camp Muir) have created some amazing textures and patterns on the snow's surface.
The park's new permit and reservation system through Recreation.Gov has just started accepting lottery applications for reservations this summer. It'll be open and accepting reservations until the evening of March 14th. If you're considering a climb during a weekend, especially in July and August, we recommend putting in for a reservation. Approximately 35% of climbing permits are available for walk-up teams, but don't expose your summit bid to the vagaries of the permitting process! If you're attempting a non-standard route, however, and have flexible dates then you're probably not going to need a reservation. Check out the park's website for specific permit system changes and other recommendations.
And, as always, please recreate safely! Early season storms can arrive without warning, forecasts can be wrong, and Search and Rescue resources are limited this time of year. Any rescue could be delayed for days due to conditions. Build resiliency into conservative back country travel plans this time of year and be able to return in future years to keep enjoying The Mountain!
|Ski tracks on Panorama Point.|