July 29, 2001, Spray Park-Flett Glacier, Rainier

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by ema on 9/15/02 9:59pm
The overnight trip was washed out, so 9 of us gathered under the clouds at Mowich Lake on Sunday to try to salvage some kind of a ski trip. Foggy and cool on the trail up to Spray Park, but at about 6000ft we started getting views upward, and found the continuous snow starting at 6400ft, below Observation Rock. The fog drifted around all day, but we usually could wait a few minutes and do our runs in good visibility. There had been a little new snow, with a trace showing at 7500ft. The best skiing was on the steeper, north facing slopes around Observation, with smooth corn which began firm but softened nicely as the day slowly warmed. After lunch we broke up into smaller groups according to slope preference. Skiing in the lower reaches of all runs was a chore because of the long, deep runnels. We got a look at the Russell, which was showing both numerous crevasse fields and large areas melted down to glacier ice, and didn't look inviting for skiing. On the way back, tourists were startled by the thundering herd of plastic-footed maniacs. (Charles)

Yeah. With matters concerning weather, sometimes you're the pigeon and sometimes you're the statue. Charles summed up the conditions for this classic north side tour pretty good. 6 of our 9 hadn't skied the area before so were enlightened to a great ski tour, albeit a long slog in and a much longer, grueling one out (the "official" word is that it is 3 miles in and 9 miles out). Reasonably decent coverage (for a low snow year) yielded a gaggle of turns in a plethora of descents on BC runs named "Around There", "Stubby", "Crossover", "Cruiser", and "Oh Shit". 12 hours later we were back at the car with sore feet and cold beer in our hands. That's about all I've got to say on the matter. (Ron)

Some photos from this trip can be found here.

Charles and Ron

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2002-09-16 04:59:52