June 30, 2001, Sunrise 0, Tatoosh, Mt. Rainier

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by ema on 9/15/02 9:30pm
Sunrise opened Saturday, and we'd been anticipating skiing the chutes for months. We were locked and loaded, primed and ready. Everyone arrived early. One of the early birds told me that the volunteer Ranger said the north facing chutes along the Sourdough Ridge and Burroughs 1, 2, and 3 were scoured out by late season northerlies. No skiable snow. I thought to myself "yeah, right, I'm going to take the advice of a non-skiing snot-nosed volunteer ranger kid... right". I decided to listen to the story first hand and then load up and head for where I knew there would be snow. After all, we had NEVER failed to get some turns in, for the last 5 years, on opening weekend at Sunrise.

Well the snot-nosed kid turned out to be a tall lanky Scandinavian woman older that me (yeah, that old!) and looking like a hell of a lot better climber. Not only that but she had skied the Fryingpan Gl., the Interglacier and Goat Rocks in the last week (none of which are exactly whimpy ski tours). I could tell she knew what she was talking about. It wouldn't have surprised me if she has done all the aforementioned ski routes on 2-inch wide, double cambered, nordic skis.

But I still wasn't convinced our Sourdough Chutes tour was off until I asked her of the source of her information. When she told me she personally hiked the area the day before and looked down every chute herself I decided to trust her and try to salvage the day by picking an alternative destination. Jeanette pointed out that seeing as how she and I had done the Tatoosh the weekend before it seemed like a pretty safe bet. Turned out to be a good call.

What with the drive around we didn't get on the trail 'til nearly 11:00, but we sure had our way with the Pinnacle Glacier up at the Pinnacle/Castle Saddle. Snow on the back (south) side is pretty well gone but the front side is still skiable at the top on north aspects down to about 5600. Two pages of pics are available for those that are still dreaming of snow but can't get to it. Hope they help.

ron jarvis

Reply to this TR

2002-09-16 04:30:36