March 22, 2001, Cowlitz Rocks, Mt. Rainier N.P.
WA Cascades SW (Mt Rainier)
Four of us took a trip from Paradise to the Cowlitz Rocks/Stevens Ridge area of Mt. Rainier yesterday (3/22). It had rained about 2 inches at Paradise on Sunday, followed by just a dusting of snow. The subsequent period of clear nights and sunny days had produced a mostly walkable crust, and we had another beautiful day. We headed for sunny slopes to get our turns, and found nice, spring-type skiing along the south slopes of Stevens Ridge: a firm crust just loosening up on the surface. Slopes with a NE to NW aspect remained frozen and were not inviting for skiing. In the afternoon, slopes which had been in the sun since the morning lost their supporting crust and become about 8 inches of mush, though nothing was ever close to sliding. The best run of the day was the roller coaster run from the Stevens-Van Trump Memorial down and off of Mazama Ridge into Edith Creek basin. The snow pack is very low - Paradise resembled a typical May-June.