April 7, 2002, Mazama Ridge, Mt. Rainier N.P.

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by ema on 7/14/02 9:42am
Longmire gate opened shortly after 9:00 a.m. We parked at Narada Falls with designs set on Plummer Peak and the Denman and Pinnacle chutes. There had been significant strong westerly winds and light snow from the previous night, with continued strong wind gusts and temps in the low 30's on Sunday. Skies were broken clouds, with occasional sun breaks. Charles, Ron, and I decided to boot up the hill from Narada rather than skin because of the wind scoured frozen crust. The going was tough, you would break through and sink in up to your knees. Once on top, to the road, the winds were gusting strong at times, making the temps seem colder than the constant 30 degrees that remained throughout the day. Snowshoers coming from an overnight at Pinnacle confirmed gusting winds and breakable crust in that area.

At that point we decided to head from Reflection Lake to the Inspiration Point saddle, via the lakes trail, to the Mazama Ridge in search of skiable snow. Skied down to the Paradise Valley road on frozen breakable crust with an occasional wind drifted snow pocket. Skinning up the North end of Paradise Valley to the top of Mazama Ridge was wind scoured, breakable crust, and boiler plate, with the occasional wind drifted snow pocket. Visibility was poor with flat light conditions. The ski back down was easier for some, who floated over the breakable crust, while it was more difficult for others who were bucked off, or went over the handlebars, while skiing from boiler plate into breakable crust. Hooked up with the Paradise Valley road and skied through the trees, back to Narada, using the infamous "Zorro" turns in certain areas. All in all it was a good day, will be much better once we get a few more melt freeze cycles for the spring/summer corn.

Photos from this trip can be viewed at http://www.turns-all-year.com/goldhome/hp23/index.html


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2002-07-14 16:42:43