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Skiing lower Rainier in the summer?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
So, i'm going to be up in Washington in late July, and I was wondering with this year's abundant snow around Mt. Rainier if there would possibly be enough snow to ski off the skyline trail near Paradise lodge. I would hike to the Muir Icefield but i'm only 14, so that's pretty much out of the question. :/ I know no one can predict the future, but what have some ofyou veterans experienced up there? Thanks
post #2 of 7

Without getting up higher, I would not place a bet on it. You might look at TAY trip reports fron the past few years for the timeframe you'll be around. It'll give you some idea of what will likely be possible.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks, but unfortunately none of the samples I could find were in the time frame. frown.gif Looks like I'll just wait until July and check out the webcam then. But as of now it looks like there's bucket loads of snow.
post #4 of 7

Typically you can find some safe and fun skiing above Paradise in July.  Plan on it and you'll find something!!

post #5 of 7

I try to do this every summer in July or August- it is beautiful and a lot of fun. There are numerous routes, the easiest which is right up the Muir snowfield, and in July there should not be a lot of snowcups to contend with, but that is very variable, and can make for difficult skiing at times. Skiing the Paradise Glacier is generally better skiing, but if you've never been up there you will probably want a partner to help with the route. Another great route is skinning up from Glacier Basin to Camp Schurmann via the Interglacier (access vie the Sunrise side). The TAY website, previously mentioned, is the best resource, and if you post a message there you can often find partners to climb and ski with. You also must be cognizant of the weather, which can change rapidly. White out conditions can occur in summer, and you will need to know how to follow compass headings to avoid wandering off route into dangerous terrain. 


If you are fit, acclimated and experienced on snow ascents you can figure on climbing about 1000-1200 vertical feet an hour, so from Paradise to Camp Muir is about 4 hours. It is moderate terrain, so good for skinning. Crevasses can open up in the summer, so you need to keep an eye out, but in general it is pretty safe.

post #6 of 7

Hi Zeppelin!  Must be getting close to your departure date.  I skied Mazama Ridge, Skline Ridge, and the Paradise Glacier yesterday.  Snow below 6,000 ft asl is melting fast from 77 inches to 55 inches at Paradise in the last 10 days.  Bare spots are becoming abundant, especially on ridgetops and at entry points to slopes.  Suncups are major in some places.  Avy danger is relatively low; lots of cornices have fallen and lots of slopes have slid; still there is always danger after noon.  You would find it safe and easy (navigationally) to get to the Muir snowfield.  You probably with opt to carry your skis in a number of places before you get to the snowfield.  Conditions will vary markedly in how dirty the snow is and how suncupped it is and how much nice corn there is.  IMHE, suncups start turning to penitentes above 9,000 feet and skiing is difficult.  I would not advise you to ski Paradise Glacier without an experienced partner/guide and appropriate safety equipment.  Same for the Tatoosh Range.  Sunrise and Chinook Pass (east part of the park) are melting out fast we are experiencing a heat wave. Check trip reports for condition reports before you head out and the Mt. Rainier Recreational Weather Forecast.

post #7 of 7

Another update for your trip from yesterday and the previous week or so.


We skied the Emmons, Ruth Mountain. the Inner Glacier, DClever, Kautz and the Nisqually chutes in the last 2 weeks.  Not the sun that has been a problem but all the rain recently.  Snow conditons have gone from sublime to pretty dang terrible.  And now a heat wave is expected (past 90+ temps locally) thsi weekend and longer.  Best skiing we found yesterday was in the most sun effected, softer snow to reduce the effects of the sun cups.   10 days ago the skiing between 12K and 6K was really sweet.   Above, not so much and below bad as well.


Any paints a pretty bleak picture.  Pretty much what we were seeing yesterday as well.


Friday's ski:

Washington Cascades. Just off Chinook pass. Climbed and skied two small peaks there today. Yakima @ 6226' and Naches @ 6452.


Easy hikes off the road. On the way by 5:45 and home by 3PM. Little over 3000 vert. on the down. We were the slackers! Met two guys getting after it today, earning their own turns. One was 85. His buddy just a youngster at 79!


Fun and short 45 degree gully off the summit of Yakima



The N gully line off Yakima. We skied a couple of lines here.


Marley, the alpinist doodle, checking out another 600' huck! Thinking he can stick it for sureski.gif



PIck a line from the highest snow, down. We only had to pull the skis for a few steps up high to connect one snow patch. Rain cups in this case were big and they still sucked even when they finally did soften up. We are now expecting a week of 90+ temps. Not that great at this elevation now. Much of it will be gone by next week.


Back to Rainier next week. New snow at Muir and higher last week should keep things fun for a while yet.  But it aint getting any better.


Rain cups sucked and were almost out of hand for decent skiing on every exposure.

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