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Backcountry skiing photos from Van Trump Park, Van Trump Glaciers, and the Turtle,
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Turns All Year: Previous Home Page Galleries
This is a gallery of Van Trump Park backcountry skiing photos which appeared on the Turns All Year home page in the past. Thumbnail images on this page can be clicked to view the full-sized photos, and lead into a slide show sequence for the gallery. These photos are from a spring backcountry skiing trip on the south side of Mount Rainier National Park, Washington. Starting at 3600 feet in snow-free forest, we hiked past Comet Falls and then skinned up Van Trump Park, Van Trump Glaciers, and onto the Turtle to around 10,200 feet. Breakable crust on the Turtle turned into generally nice spring skiing on the Van Trump Glaciers; lots of photos of telemark skiing and randonee skiing (alpine touring).
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Turns All Year CD-ROM

The complete version of this photo gallery is now available on Turns All Year CD-ROM. Below you can view thumbnail photos from this gallery.

Turns All Year CD-ROM contains over 180 photo galleries, containing more than 3200 full-sized photos, from backcountry skiing and snowboarding trips in the Pacific Northwest.

from March 21, 2005:
Van Trump Park, Van Trump Glaciers, The Turtle,
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, March 11, 2005

Spring greenery on the Comet Falls trail
Spring greenery on the
Comet Falls trail
Log bridge over Van Trump Creek
Log bridge over
Van Trump Creek
Comet Falls photo
Comet Falls photo
Comet Falls with mist rainbow
Comet Falls with mist rainbow
Close up photos: Comet Falls mist rainbow
Close up photos:
Comet Falls mist rainbow
Overview of upper Van Trump Park from near 5800'
Overview of upper Van Trump
Park from near 5800'
Skiing up Van Trump Park
Skiing up Van Trump Park
Skinning near 6200'
Skinning out of Van
Trump Park near 6200'
Skinning near 6600'
Skinning near 6600'
View down to the dark forest
View down to the dark forest
Skinning near 7000'
Skinning near 7000'
Near 7600' with Van Trump Glaciers above
Near 7600' with Van
Trump Glaciers above
Looking back down from around 9000'
Looking back down
from around 9000'
Near 9600' with Kautz Glacier ice cliffs above
Near 9600' with Kautz
Glacier ice cliffs above
Looking back down from near 9600'
Looking back down
from near 9600'
New views from the bottom of the Turtle, 9800'
New views from the
bottom of the Turtle, 9800'
Muir snowfield from lower Turtle
Muir snowfield
from lower Turtle
Skinning lower Turtle, with Kautz Glacier ice cliffs
Skinning lower Turtle, with
Kautz Glacier ice cliffs
Eric skiing breakable crust, lower Turtle
Eric skiing breakable
crust, lower Turtle
Eric and Mary skiing on lower Turtle
Eric and Mary
skiing on lower Turtle
Mary, randonee skiing
Mary, randonee skiing
Tom in better snow, upper Van Trump Glacier
Tom in better snow,
upper Van Trump Glacier
Tom on alpine touring (AT) gear
Tom on alpine
touring (AT) gear
Mary, randonee skiing on Van Trump Glacier
Mary, randonee skiing
on Van Trump Glacier
Allen, telemark skiing on Van Trump Glacier
Allen, telemark skiing
on Van Trump Glacier
Allen
Allen
Eric, telemark skiing on Van Trump Glacier
Eric, telemark skiing
on Van Trump Glacier
Eric, looking down to the Nisqually River
Eric, looking down to
the Nisqually River
Tom, AT skis
Tom, AT skis
Allen, telemark skis
Allen, telemark skis
Eric, telemark skiing, Van Trump Glacier
Eric, telemark skiing,
Van Trump Glacier
Eric
Eric
Tom, randonee skiing
Tom, randonee skiing
Mary, randonee turns
Mary, randonee turns
Julie, telemark turns
Julie, telemark turns
Eric
Eric
Mary skiing spring corn snow
Mary skiing spring corn snow
The Mod Squad poses
The Mod Squad poses
Julie skiing spring corn snow
Julie skiing spring corn snow
Mary
Mary
Megan, with overview of Van Trump Glacier run
Megan, with overview
of Van Trump Glacier run
Eric carves a big one
Eric carves a big one
Julie skiing into the draw above Van Trump Park
Julie skiing into the draw
above Van Trump Park
View back up the draw
View back up the draw
Overview: Mt. Rainier from Van Trump Park, near 6200'
Overview: Mt. Rainier from
Van Trump Park, near 6200'

Photos by Charles Eldridge

Backcountry skiing trip report:
March 11, 2005, Van Trump Park, Van Trump Glaciers, The Turtle, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

   The seven of us, three with randonee skiing (alpine touring) equipment and four with telemark skiing equipment, left the Comet Falls trailhead at Christine Falls at 9:00 AM. The snow-free forest was beautiful on this sunny warm morning. There were only a couple of short snow patches on the trail before Comet Falls. We got fantastic views of Comet Falls in the morning sun, complete with mist rainbows, before the trail started climbing out of the valley.
   We found continuous snow beginning at about 5700', where we stashed the hiking shoes, put on ski boots, and started skinning. There were beautiful views of Mount Rainier and the Van Trump Glaciers from upper Van Trump Park, where a couple of snow connections had only a day or so of melting left. Around 6400' the more serious climbing began, on dusty, consolidated snow, and it was amazingly hot for mid-March.
   We took a snack break at about 7200', then headed for the main skinning event on the Van Trump Glaciers. The sun was softening the south-facing slopes nicely, but in some places too nicely, weakening the frozen snow which overlay a large granular layer beneath. Clouds started forming above the Van Trump Glaciers, keeping things a little cooler for the skin up to the Turtle.
   As soon as we got to the lower Turtle, with its more southeast exposure, we began finding breakable crust. We skinned a little way up the Turtle, but it was clear that the skiing would not be so great, and we topped out at about 10,200'. Nice views of the upper part of Mount Rainier, the Kautz Glacier ice cliffs which overhang Camp Hazard, the Muir Snowfield, and a steaming Mount Saint Helens.
   The skiing on the Turtle was not very good, but as we turned onto the south-facing Van Trump Glaciers it got better, with nice corn snow areas and others where it was difficult not to break through into the underlying mush. Fat skis definitely worked better here. As we skied down the Van Trump Glaciers the semi-crust disappeared, and we found 2-10" of softened, granular snow. Many turns later, at the bottom of the Van Trump Glaciers, we headed toward a prominent draw which would lead us back to upper Van Trump Park. Some skied the draw, and others traversed above it. The last few hundred feet of vertical featured some very grabby snow where still in the sun. Then all that was left was the 2100' descent by trail back to the cars.
   Charles

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