Home > Trip Reports > May 13-14, 2003, Grand Parklet, Mt. Rainier NP

May 13-14, 2003, Grand Parklet, Mt. Rainier NP

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by Charles on 5/15/03 11:08pm
My daughter and I aimed for Grand Park for our 5th annual ski overnighter, taking advantage of a small window of good weather. Snow stopped us on the road 2 miles from the beginning of the forest, and we were able to start skiing after 0.5 miles. The snow had frozen overnight and so the road skiing was good. Very good coverage going into the forest, ranging from crunchy under the big trees to 8" of mush in larger glades. We had to switch to hiking part way up, when it got steeper, because Alyssa was not able to get the needed grip with her waxless skis. Hiked down the little slope past the saddle, then skied glades into the first meadow ("Grand Parklet"), where the snowpack was very ample (6'?).

Alyssa really wanted to get to Grand Park, but I was able to convince her that it would be more fun to tour around where we were rather than plod up another 800' of too-steep-to-ski. We set up camp and skied meadows, glades, and woods in beautiful sunshine, finding lots of long glides which satisfied Alyssa's need for speed. The snow in the meadows had become breakable crust and then 6-8" of mush in the sun, but started refreezing quickly when the shadows arrived. After dinner we toured around until dark, then capped the day with hot cider.

The next morning started mostly cloudy but became mostly sunny, and we again toured around, exploring new areas and trying slightly steeper terrain. Menacing clouds started appearing in the afternoon, and just as we were hoisting packs to leave, the rain started. Having learned a lot about fall lines, edging, getting a waxless grip, and step turns in the past 24 hours, Alyssa was now able to ski up some of the firmer forest snow, kick her own steps (so I could still ski), and negotiate some of the gentler downhill through the forest toward the road. The road ski down was a bit tedious for me, since the old tracks had weakened, but great for Alyssa in my newly compacted tracks. The road was drivable for an additional 0.2 miles when we arrived at the car.
Good to hear you had a nice weather window for your father/daughter ski. Turner and I are planning a 2night trip down to the Tatoosh in another week. how ddep is the snow at the trail head/how soon does it look like it will melt out?


At the trailhead the coverage was ~complete, maybe 4' on the road and 1-4' in the woods, depending on trees. Easy to get through the woods as most downed trees were still covered. If this kind of weather continues, the road will be quite a while in melting out to the trailhead (I've skied into Grand Park when able to park at the trailhead, but the lower forest wasn't very fun to ski).

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2003-05-16 06:08:31