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May 3, 2003, St Helens

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by Rickster on 5/5/03 6:30pm
Skied from Climbers Bivouac to Summit- the starting temp was 34 degrees.  The first mile or so was through the trees- fun cross country type trail- used climbing skins.  When we came out of the tree line and onto the first climb- rock solid, frozen with many boot steps and ski/board tracks.  It was tough going- so we cliped on the ski crampons and proceded, tough but not impossible.  I took the crampons off a couple times; but ended up putting them on and finially left them on.  The Monitor ridge route was well tracked and frozen.  I mostly traveresed back and forth while my partner did a more direct ascent.

There was a couple times when it was partly sunny- put the heavy duty sun screens on; but ended up mostly cloudy.  There was a cloud layer about 1000 foot below the rim.  We had a couple Kodak moments, stopped to look at distant peaks.

We started at 7:00, summited at 10:45, got off the top ASAP- didn't like watching people walk too close to the edge without protection, and returned to bivouac at 12:01.

We had a pretty good ski down- different route then most, I guess- they wined too much, we chose a route skiers right of the monitor trail.  We started down the first or second ridge to the right of the monitor and as we hit the clouds started traversing to drainage next to monitor- no surprises in valley.  The snow started out smooth frozen and ended on corn, found some untracked slopes!  The frozen snow had hoar frost- so some texture- edges held, made linked turns all the way down.  The ride through the woods was very fun.  Ended up a pretty fun day- the drive home was worse- pumeled by rain. :)

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2003-05-06 01:30:53