August 18, 2019, Russell Glacier Mount Rainier

WA Cascades SW (Mt Rainier)
Posted by kylesw on 8/21/19 2:58am
Got out for some August turns on the Russell Glacier this past Sunday. If you have a full day and good weather, it's still worthwhile for some decent skiing and fabulous views.

On the way in we took a new-to-me route via Knapsack Pass. The trail is unmaintained, so it's a bit more adventurous compared to the standard route, takes a little longer, but has better views. It was fun to check out.
Starting up the Knapsack Pass trail:

The view once you crest the pass and make it through a small boulder field, shortly before you rejoin the wonderland trail:

The wildflowers were still quite impressive for this time of year:

We joined the wonderland for a very short section, gained the climbers trail, and climbed to the bivy site at 7,000 feet where we transitioned to skinning. Conditions seemed pretty standard for the Russell this time of year, but some of the crevasses and grey ice did seem a touch more prevalent than summers past. Still plenty of good snow to navigate around these obstacles, fortunately. After a couple short ski carries, we hit our high point for the day at 9,200' (the snow much higher was too dirty and cupped for enjoyable turns) and had a nice charcuterie lunch. We also met a pair of fellow summer skiers up there, and had a nice chat.

Skiing from 9200 down to ~7600 was enjoyable over the small, soft suncups. We managed to link patches all the way down to 6400', just shy of the wonderland trail, but this did require several carries and didn't exactly yield quality turns.

We took the Spray Park trail back to Mowich, saw a couple bears in the distance, and enjoyed the usual barrage of "there's snow up there?" questions from hikers on the trail. All in all, a classic day of August skiing!

Telephoto of the mountain. As you can see, skiing the Flett this time of year isn't exactly worthwhile:

The Russell Glacier with some exposed grey ice and crevasses:

Dropping in. Smooth turns off our high point:

The Russell Glacier, always a great late season option:

Trip totals:
15 miles, 5,500 vertical feet
Link to my strava if you'd like to view my GPS tracks.
Awesome. Thanks for sharing. With the summer skiing. I have realized it gets you too some great hikes....You may or may have not gone on otherwise....The skis on your back are a motivator....sometimes a sore back....but otherwise a motivator.
2019-09-04 20:57:58
Looks like a great trip  :) makes me feel guilty for breaking the streak last month
2019-09-05 10:20:42

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2019-08-21 09:58:08