April 21, 2001, Chinook Pass
WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
We parked very near Cayuse pass (the only option) and hiked the road to the first switchback under sunny skies. From there we climbed counter clockwise around Naches Peak. 1st run NE into bowl South of peak was good, by then clouds were thickening and we waited for a good sun break to make the run, finding a good entrance between cornices. 2nd run off bump farther east was good too, conditions were mainly 1-2 sofened inches on top of crust which we rarely broke through, ocasionaly slushier with lots of snowballs, but not much other sliding activity. Some more significant slide were heard and sometimes seen in rocky areas, mainly obove 410 east of Chinook Pass. We passed on third run as weather turned to snow showers and continued around making a couple short descents before heading back. The trip back down below Tipsoo lake basicly sucked and we chose to ski down the drainage below 1st switchback in heavy snow and deep creak beds, hiking half mile back up! to Cayuse. It would be better to walk the last part of the road or wait till Chinook opens, hopefully in two weeks.