Home > Trip Reports > Sep23, 2006, Camp Muir

Sep23, 2006, Camp Muir

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by David_Coleman on 9/24/06 1:24am
Phil Fortier sent out an APB to our usual suspects earlier in the week about skiing Saturday.  Knowing the high pressure was building in place & since I hadn't officially skied since Adams last month, I was in.  By the time we left Seattle, our group of 6 consisted of Amar, Ben, Kelly, Phil, Sky and myself.  Sky, Kellie and I arrived at Paradise behind the rest of the group but were off by 10:35.  Wanting to see how long I could hang with Sky I pushed my pace.  Arrived at Pebble Creek at 11:25 and ran into Amar switching to skin mode & impressed with our time (thanks).  Although partially consolidated, there was plenty of new snow on the permanent snowfield from here on up for skinning.  Waited a few minutes for Kellie & she said go ahead, I'll see you at Muir.

The upper snowfield still shows several patches of the old snow, but was smooth as a carpet for the most part (i.e. no runnels or suncups whatsoever) and made for quick skinning.  From Pebble Creek, arrived at Muir in just under 1.5 hrs, by far my best time ever for this trip, and I was quite elated.  Rolled in to Muir to see our gang conversing with the Hummels.  Sky had mentioned climbing to Muir and doing at least a lap, I agreed with that thought.  After a little food & beverage, we skied 1,500-2,000k, and then Ben, Phil, Sky and I skinned back up to Muir in hopes of running into Amar and Kellie.  The snow was smooth, but definitely a bit grabby in places, particularly skier's right of Muir, which had prompted Ben & I to stop a few hundred feet below Muir to apply some wax and one in our group to take a couple "over the handle bars".

Amar was skiing down, but decided against skinning back up to Muir.  There was no sign of Kellie at Muir, so after a little more beverage intake, we decended skier's left of Muir.  Possibly due to it being a little later in the day (by this time after 3), the snow was amazing (also no sign of runnels, suncups), and was not grippy at all.  We linked high speed turns the entire way down until the short deski that was required above Pebble Creek, where we rejoined Kellie.  Although a huge lenticular enveloped the upper reaches of Rainier the entire day, the winds were never that bad between the car & Muir.  This was a fun day with some great friends, made all the better by the bluebird skies and great skiing.

Get it while it's still good.

A lenticular cloud shrouds the summit:

Sky rips the corn on the Muir Snowfield, with the menacing seracs of the Nisqually Glacier seemingly just beyond:
(Shot from quite far away with a 250mm-equivalent telephoto.)

Not too bad for September:

Some other route info:
I was able to skin continuously from just after Pebble Creek to Camp Muir, by heading way left near 8000 ft and skinning up a snow-filled gully to a small, mostly snow-covered, seasonal waterfall. No one else chose to follow this interesting, secluded route. This route will likely melt out in several places during the current sunny weather, and in any case it was still too rocky to be worth skiing down that way. On the standard climbers route, there's about 100 vertical feet of bare talus and moraine near 8000 ft which divides the 2800 ft of skiable vertical between Pebble Creek and Camp Muir into two sections.

looks nice up there...i shoulda gone again. 

think that theres enough snow now that good conditions will last into next weekend?

Pete, I would say no, with the small amount of new that stuck and the sunny weather we're supposed to have all week. Still, I think you should go up and let us know what it's like!

Pete, as of today (Tuesday) the fresh snow has melted down to an inch or two, arrayed in heifer-like patches, which made for decent turns if you pick your spots (turn on the white) but down to ice with volcanic grit elsewhere. Amar's climber's left route is now not continuous, there are two carries of about 200 yards and 400 yards before you reach the upper snowfield - I think the standard climber's route might be better for both up and down.

thanks for the update...the goods went fast....hopefully theres more to come soon.

guess i'll have to be content with turns on my surfboard this coming weekend instead  ;)

Greg, nice photo. I think you may have come up with a new term to describe snow! Heifer-like patches  :D

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2006-09-24 08:24:28