April 28, 2001, Mt. Rainier
WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Worked late Friday, so got a late start Saturday. Got to Paradise around 10, and it looked socked in above Panorama Point. We headed down Paradise Valley Road to Mazama Ridge. Top several inches of snow were dense and saturated with water. It was snowing with about 1 inch of new. We climbed Mazama and skied the back bowl--a combination of windpack, dense wet snow, and occasional traces of powder. Skied the north slopes of the bowl a couple of times but left deep trenchs with each run; still a lot of fun. Stopped for lunch and a wicked storm moved in. We started climbing out of the bowl in rising winds, heavy snow, snow devils, and, then, a big thunderclap--scary! Took the lowest route out of the bowl and fought the wind-driven snow over to Mazama--nice ski down, but snow stinging the face; goggles necessary. Given the thunder (only heard one big one) we weren't predisposed to climbing up again so headed back to the car and home. Probably had a couples of inches of new while we were there with more clouds moving in and ceiling dropping.