Home > Trip Reports > November 9, 2001, Muir snowfield, Mt. Rainier NP

November 9, 2001, Muir snowfield, Mt. Rainier NP

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by Charles on 9/16/02 11:05am
We arrived at Paradise in warm sunshine. We could have skinned from the parking lot (coverage-wise), but chose to hike because the snow was frozen solid and packed on the paths (strange - telemetry said low at Paradise was 40, after a 54 degree day). Getting up Pan Point without crampons was a bit tedious because the snow was so hard. We changed to skis for ascending a little above Pebble Creek because the snow was mostly boilerplate. There were only small areas which had a veneer of loose snow on top. We stopped climbing at about 11am at 9K when it became apparent that the sunshine was not going to be able to soften the snow/ice surface; it was moderately windy and that seemed to be enough to keep the snow solidly frozen. We traversed over to the west side of the Muir, hoping to find some loose surface snow in the lee of little ridges, and were somewhat successful, but the first 1000vf of skiing were mostly on the smooth icy surface. Below about 8K, however, we began to find great, spring-like corn snow wherever the slope was tilted toward the sun.

The highlight of the day came when we dropped off the ridge just below McClure Rock and skied down the SE facing slopes, where the surface snow had loosened in the sun. There were 1-3 inches of silky corn on a firm base - pretty much just like Ron reported for the previous Sunday. We skied down to around the Golden Gates trail and checked out the possibilities for returning to the car via Edith Basin, since both the chute on Pan Point and the trail route below it were not at all inviting (shallow snowpack, lots of rocks). After a snack rest, we climbed back up to the top of the ridge near McClure Rock and did a run on more beautiful corn - the best run of the day. Then we got our packs and dropped into Edith Basin, requiring a couple of steps across bare grass at one point, but otherwise skiable all the way to the trail at the bridge over Edith Creek; the absence of rocks on this part made the skiing fun on more smooth corn. The asphalt trail back to the parking lot had compact snow, and we made it without injuring our ski bases.

Photos from this trip can be viewed here.


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2002-09-16 18:05:13