Home > Trip Reports > June 23, 2009, Mt Rainier, Inter Glacier

June 23, 2009, Mt Rainier, Inter Glacier

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by Amar Andalkar on 6/26/09 12:49am
Took advantage of a beautiful one-day weather window to ski the Inter Glacier, it was strangely empty. Left White River Campground at 9:45am as a large RMI group got ready, and soon I was totally alone and didn't see anyone else all the way to Steamboat Prow. No climbers, no hikers, no skiers, the first time that has ever happened for me on the Inter Glacier. Lots of helicopter flights overhead though, bringing supplies to Camp Schurman and breaking the wilderness spell, and there were three rangers plus a couple of heli-crew sitting up on the Prow when I got there at 2pm. Skinned from 5900 ft just after Glacier Basin, the river crossing here is deeply filled in, and skinning conditions were excellent all the way up the glacier. One crevasse is becoming visible in the usual spot near 8400 ft beside a large fin of rock, but nothing else yet. Mostly sunny, with a few thin high clouds, not too warm with very light winds. From the Prow, the Emmons Glacier route looked to be in very nice shape.

Looking up at the terminus of the Inter Glacier.

View of the Emmons Glacier route from Steamboat Prow.

Skied down with one of the climbing rangers (Arlington Ashby), he was coming off an extra-long 11-day shift manning Camp Schurman. Pretty good snow, a mix of older corned surface and whiter stickier new snow, continuous for 3800 vert from the Prow down to Glacier Basin. Smooth, no suncups yet, and it should get even better as it consolidates more. There was semi-continuous snow on the trail down to roughly 5600 ft, about 300 vert below the campsite, but it would have required one long carry near camp and about a half-dozen short carries across the other bare patches, so I didn't bother skiing it this time. By the way, the washed out sections of trail are much improved since last June, it's mostly nice trail now with only a few short sections of boulder-hopping.

Arlington rides the corn on the Inter Glacier.

Nice report Amar!  Do you think the Interglacier would be decent in 2-3 weeks, or would Fryingpan area be better?  I'm planning on trying the Russell and Flett mid July, but if I have any time left I'd like to see the another aspect of the mountain.  Thanks,


Right on, nice pics!  Looked like a helluva good day!

I was up there on Thursday 6/25.  'Twas a beautiful day with some morning clouds that cleared just in time for our down ski.  The snow was nicely firm for the first 2k of vert.  There were dozens of hikers and maybe 6 skiers including the two of us.  I was going to post a report, but it would be redundant and your photos are better.

Amar's post planted a bug in my head and I skied up to the Prow today. It's still possible to skin all the way from Glacier Basin to the Prow and the creek crossing remains easy. Still only the one crevasse at 8,400 feet and it's only an issue if you ascend climbers left.

On the ski down, the top 2,000 feet was great with nice corn on a firm base although some sun cups are starting to develop. The bottom 1700-1800 feet or so were not that great. It was getting mushy by 12:30. Tons of boot prints and glissade tracks from all of the climbers mucking up the snow surface and there's lots of dust on the snow surface that really slowed things up and made for a lot of grabbing on the skis.

Every time I see someone glissading... I'm glad I have my skis instead!

Nice work, 'A' team

author=stoudema link=topic=13705.msg57280#msg57280 date=1246033372">
Nice report Amar!  Do you think the Interglacier would be decent in 2-3 weeks, or would Fryingpan area be better?

I headed back up there on July 1 to ski the Emmons (see TR). Ski conditions on the Inter Glacier have deteriorated greatly during the past week, with a very rough bumpy dirty surface in nearly all areas, and studded with rocks of all sizes especially on the lower half and the runout to Glacier Basin. Probably no longer worth the hike in just to ski the Inter, unless also heading up the Emmons. Fryingpan Glacier is probably much cleaner and smoother right now, a much better ski choice for roughly the same effort (see the TR by wolfs, July 3, 2009, Fryingpan to Whitman Crest).

author=Amar Andalkar link=topic=13705.msg57575#msg57575 date=1246739234]
Ski conditions on the Inter Glacier a very rough bumpy dirty surface in nearly all areas, and studded with rocks of all sizes especially on the lower half and the runout to Glacier Basin.

We found it not bad descending with overnight packs yesterday around 2PM.  Bumps were soft, and following each others tracks also made it not so bumpy.  Let's talk it up, get several dozen skiers to smooth the bumps and remove the dirty surface?!

We were there just six days later, and indeed conditions had deteriorated:

Then we were there again going up Thursday, and back down Friday -- seemed even worse. 
It's fine for accessing Emmons, but as a ski destination on its own, best to hit it as late in the day as possible to at least make all the suncups soft.

Reply to this TR

Amar Andalkar
2009-06-26 07:49:19