March 2, 2002, Lower Nisqually Glacier, Mt.Rainier

3/2/02
WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
2116
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Posted by Robie on 9/10/02 11:34pm
Dorothea and I got to Gary Vogt's trailer outside the park at 8am . Gary skis just about every day up there. The tour de jour for the day was the Nisqually glacier (Hooray! ). Gary felt like like there was still some soft snow hiding in trees because of the cold week, but Nisqually would be more educational for me! We dropped in at Glacier veiwpoint (Gary 's easy and conservative tour ) at 10 :30 am. Directly skied down on hard snow to the moraine and headed up and back north to the northern tip of moraine. Crossed over to the west side via "Wilson crossing". Along the West side is a ramp that goes all the way down to the Glacier snout .Gary's choice and it turned out to be a good one as the outlet has moved to the East very close to the big hunkin rock. East route is still possible but leaves one with a big iffy traverse around either side of of outlet. West route is filled in nicely and at no time did we feel like crevasses were a problem. Rock fall was another matter with warming sun. Still its very doable, just take care to keep out of range of spitting rocks.

Snow quality - 1st third Good- middle third was steeper and hence more receptive to sun and was bad due to failure of the buried crust -Last section from the snout (4900') down is lower in both angle and elevation and had developed into good corn. None of it fazed Dorothea the Austrian lightwieght (98lbs.). She hardly made a dent in the snow and had a fantastic day. Gary and I kept breaking through in middle section (Read CRASH!). I was xtra heavy, cause to be safe I was carrying rope and enough rescue gear to save Shackelton's entire crew! We took a lot of pictures and skied it out all the way to the bridge at 1pm. The whole Paradise area was crowded but we had the Glacier to ourselves.

Gary needed to get some things done, so Dorothea and I put our skins back on and headed back up the glacier for another easy 1000' in the sun. Checked out the outfall closely and then skied down taking advantage of good corn, gelandesprungs and pleasant day. Note: this is an Official Volcano Evacuation route.

There are photos from this trip here.

Robie

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march-2-2002-lower-nisqually-glacier-mt-rainier
Robie
2002-09-11 06:34:10