August 12, 2001, Lower Paradise Glacier, Rainier

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by ema on 9/15/02 10:09pm
It promised to be another warm, sunny summer day on Sunday; perfect for late summer turns at Mt. Rainier. Charles and I left Seattle early to meet year-round skiers Ron, Jeanette, and Paul at Paradise. It was a pleasure for me to finally meet Ron in person after reading all his great trip reports the last few years. The crowds were already arriving at Paradise as we pulled in, but where we were going we would see only one hiker all day (and was he ever bummed to see all of us!). We hiked over Mazama Ridge and towards the Paradise Glacier. The flower display was spectacular with Lupine and Indian Paint Brush at their peak. Also yellow and red Monkey Flower near any water. Paradise is definitely the right name for this place!

The snow cover is of course very low now and we walked almost until we reached the site of the old Paradise Ice Caves (now gone). We skied a short south facing slope of about 240' several times and then headed for the "stash" slope. I had skied this slope once before in the fall after some new snow and it sure looked different this day. The most striking difference was several large cracks at the top of the slope. They varied in width up to about 5', and for those of us brave enough to get close and look down them they appeared to be bottomless. After a little fretting and exploring we found a way around them. I will be thinking about those cracks this fall! The slope below was great; minimally sun cupped clean snow at about 30 degrees pitch for 750'. Charles and I did this slope three times, the others once or twice. Everybody skied great except once when Charles and I tried to occupy the same space (my fault, minor injuries). The hike out was beautiful, as was the cold beer Ron had waiting for us at the car. Some of Ron's photos can be found at Turns-All-Year, and others at  Wild Hearts Skiing.

Andy Palunas

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2002-09-16 05:09:36