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 Post subject: July 8, 2006 Mt Rainier - Flett and Russell Glaciers
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 1:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 6:48 am
Posts: 207
Location: WA
After overnighters for the last 3 weeks I was ready for some day trips. With the snow melting fast I thought I outta go check out what remains left of the Flett and Russell Glaciers on the northwest side of Rainier.

The drive in the morning...refreshing ain't it?
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There were only a half dozen cars as I pulled up to Mowich Lake at 4,900ft. By 7am I was hiking along the trail with the trees providing much needed relief from the intense sun. Earlier, while driving thru Buckley, I remembered that the reader board at 6am said 68 degrees. It's gonna be hot today. Anyway the hike proved peaceful as it was void of any souls. I just listened to the new Tool album and by the time it was done, I was in Spray Park. By 8:15 or so there were no more trees to seek protection under.

Instead of messing with the patches on the Flett, which I so had hoped would still connect but no luck I stayed on trail until 6,300ft. From here there was a partial trail that led me to a couple hundred foot patch at 6,500ft. At least I can ride down till here. Once atop that patch there was a short downhill boot to another patch, which is actually where I started skinning from.

Time to leave the shoes behind...
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After gaining one more knoll, I booted downhill again. There's a pattern developing here. At around 7,500ft there was one final carry across some rocks to access the Russell.

Final carry ahead...
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The Russell seems to be in fine shape at the moment, like today but how a weeks worth of sun can melt. From what I observed it appeared pretty filled in with minimal crevasses showing. However while skinning I did cross alot of little cracks that are starting to show. There are also some patches of ice starting to show thru in some spots.

Looking up the Russell Glacier...
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Looking down the Russell Glacier...
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The last 1,000 or so feet of snow leading up to the high point at around 9,800ft had a nice coating of volcanic dirt and grit. This is where all tracks seemed to start but I passed on the base restructure and I opted to settle at 8,500ft along Ptarmagin ridge. After marinating in the sun for over an hour I figured it was time to start my run for it was already 1pm. I had already watched one skier descend from that high point. It didn't look too bad. Well instead of following all the tracks I headed towards the Carbon Glacier, and took a line along the rock band and found super soft corn to harvest down till 7,000ft.

Time for some of that cake...
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The skin back up to the crossover point was uneventful. I had my music on and watched as a team of skinners (all skiers?) take a high traverse onto the Russell.

Those dots in the distance are people...
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Once back on the Flett it was time for the patch boarding to start. Board down, boot up, board down, boot up, board down, boot up and I finally shouldered the board and boots and switched to hikers. But not before stopping by this pool...

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It was a mellow hike out with the trees once again providing much needed shade. After a half dozen stops to chat with hikers and tourists I was back at the car by 4:30. Somewhere between all the hikers and tourists was Sky and Hanna off on an adventure of their own.

Some other random pics...
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