Home > Trip Reports > November 14, 2002, Grand Park, Mt. Rainier NP

November 14, 2002, Grand Park, Mt. Rainier NP

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by Charles on 11/14/02 9:03pm
Road 73 was easily drivable past 4500', where we parked on a thin veneer of snow/ice. We hiked the trail to Grand Park, and along the way there was virtually no snow under the trees and only about 1" of refrozen, rain-soaked snow in forest openings below about 5000', casting doubt about the wisdom of carrying our skis in. As we climbed up to the Grand Park plateau, however, the snow deepened in the forest openings, and we found about 6" of snow evenly overlying the meadows of Grand Park (5500-5800'). There was a crust about 2" down which generally supported us, so the XC skiing turned out to be great despite the thinness of the "snowpack". In a few places the snow became sticky in the afternoon due to the sunshine.

We got a good view of Rainier when we first reached the plateau, but then clouds and a snow squall moved in. This proved to be fairly short-lived, though, and Rainier came back out in all of its glory for the rest of the afternoon. We skied to the southern tip of Grand Park, then returned the 2 miles to the northern tip and the trail via a meandering course, exploring the east edge of the plateau and getting a (very) few turns along the way. We were able to ski a few hundred feet down off the plateau, until the trail went into the trees and there was no snow.

Robie, thanks for the inspiration to do this as a fall trip. The big question: does this qualify as a countable ski trip? There are some photos from this trip here.
IMHO  You betcha ! Especially if you navigated back down the trail on skis at all. Great info. Charles. I think in our haste for steep downhill thrills we have left behind some soulful tours. As you know there are some smallish slopes off to either side of Grand park.I thought about going with ya but I was given a crew at work and had to show up there. I've  watched James Hammaker and Dorothea just have a hoot on that return trail.  :)

You qualify for November turns!  With this snowless, bleak streak we are having, any turns on snow are qualifying turns.  Just enjoy!!

I felt my skis make a turn or two ... even three in a row  I think !!!  so I'm calling it a sucess and a fun trip. The trail and woods back certainly looked liked nice sking with a bit more of the cold white stuff. Robie thanks for giving Charles the idea. I look forward to a spring trip up in there.

 Getting up there even with such a low snowpack and having a good ski certainly makes one think of the other possibilities with this window of  good road access and the many trails and route possibilities

Charles I imagine that this trip would pale in comparision to our epic jaunt on the Muir snowfield :D  Reading the TR's it seems like folks had some nice turns this past weekend, I was restricted to town with other activities. At least there's some new snow.

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2002-11-15 05:03:17