Home > Trip Reports > October 31, 2002, Muir snowfield, Mt. Rainier

October 31, 2002, Muir snowfield, Mt. Rainier

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by Charles on 10/31/02 8:53pm
Procrastinators, Inc. (Paul and I) went up to Paradise to try to get October turns for months 73 and 71, respectively. On the drive up, it could be seen that there was some new snow on the Muir, but not the even, white coating we had hoped for. Sunny, but cold and windy at the parking lot, and from there the nearby meadows looked devoid of any snow. We soon found, however, that the paved/gravel paths had almost continuous snow, from 1-4", which made the hiking in ski boots reasonable. The summer trail up Panorama Point was still in use, although somewhat drifted in. Above Panorama Point we ran into Ian and Jeremy, two adventurous boarders embarking on year-round skiing streaks. We all hiked the main route up above Pebble Creek to about 7800', eyeing a narrow strip (10 to 20' wide) of smooth drifted-in new snow along skiers right on the permanent snow. We stopped at the bottom of what, with good coverage, is the first big roll going up the Muir, now just rocks and some nasty looking patches of old snow.

We had some lunch at our high point, then started the big run, which at first was gentle, with areas of new snow but a lot of dirty, hard, irregular old snow - not really much fun at all. When we got over to the right edge of the snowfield, the somewhat steeper strip of new snow proved to be fairly nice to ski - firmly wind-packed, with a few spots of thick breakable wind crust. So nice, in fact, that Paul and I side-stepped back up to do the bottom, best 50' again! At 400-500' of vertical, this trip was below the threshold for what I have considered a countable ski trip in the past, but it is clear that most people are having to relax their standards this fall (except for animals like David and Amar).

I definitely would not have been out skiing this day if it had not been my last chance to get October turns, and although the skiing was far from good, it would have been much worse if there had not been any new snow. Plus, with no reason to keep skiing all day, we got back home in time to go trick-or-treating.

Here is a photo of the lower Muir snowfield, and there are more photos from this trip here.

Wow, Charles, you and Paul definitely qualify for "Tourture points" on that outing.  Glad you made your October turns even though it was below your standard threshold of what you consider countable vf.  Remember desperate people will do desperate things  ;D  

Thanks for your report, we've all been waiting for you to check in so we can plan our next strategy for November.   ???

Charles, Thanks for the pic.  Perfect shot to convey the grim realities.
That's even more barren than last fall, which was the worst I'd ever seen.
Nice job hopping out of the corner tho  ;)

Well, like I said, the skiing could have been much worse, and the good weather and (relatively) easy access was nice. I definitely don't want to leave it until the last day of the month too often, though. It is pretty discouraging that late summer-early fall conditions have become so bad the last couple of years, and especially after getting such a good snowpack this past winter. If this trend continues, I might have to give up my streak in protest!

Way to go Charles ! ya kept us hangin there for a while.
Hmm !wonder the where the new snow blew off to?

 Nice shot of those 2 Rock’n snowboarders. I can’t wait to see the rest of the Shots. Did the Photo’s of you come out?

My best recoilection of the trip, misery loves company ;D, great views to Helens, Adams, and Hood, beautiful clear blue sunny skies 8), and suprisingly, few people ;)? I'd have to echo Mad Dog's words, desperate times require desperate measures, but whadda ya gonna do? Some new snow please! Nice T.R. Charles

Ian, you got a bunch of good shots of me, and I have a lot of good shots of everyone else. I'm working the photos up for Monday. Will you send me (e-mail or IM) your and Jeremy's last names so I can include them (unless you want first names only)?

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2002-11-01 04:53:14