May 31, 2001, Camp Muir, Mt. Rainier NP
WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Yet another warm, cloudless day (I'll have to start complaining soon!). There is still excellent coverage starting from the parking lot, and the snow was firm as I started up. The summer trail is in use at Pan Point. I saw several skiers coming down as I was going up, and they looked like they were having fun on the good snow. There appeared to be a few inches of newer snow on the Muir snowfield, and the snowpack was very well frozen under the softening surface - from last Monday's cold storm? Shorts conditions all the way up in the warm sun and cool breeze. I was feeling lazy, so at Muir, I made a nice snow bench in the lee of some rocks, got into bare feet, had a long lunch and enjoyed the views, all the way to Mt. Jefferson. On the way down, the first 2000 ft were excellent on that frozen base, fast and consistent with an inch or two of softened snow on top, just a little humpy at the top. A bit above Pebble Creek, the day's warmth had begun to do its damage, with areas of 6-8 inches of large-grained mush; earlier descenders had better snow here. Two de-skis just above Pan Point, but Pan face was still skiable, then consolidated but somewhat grabby wet snow to the parking lot. I was surprised at the extent of coverage around Paradise; Edith Creek basin, Mazama Ridge, Cowlitz Rocks, and the Tatoosh all still looked very well covered.