Post subject: July 14, 2006 - Van Trump Glacier, Mt. Rainier
Posted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 2:39 pm
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 6:48 am Posts: 206 Location: WA
And just like that is was over. Is it really Monday or is it all a dream. The weekend has come and gone and I'm sitting at work staring at this monitor while punching away on this keyboard. My face scared with a perma grin after reflecting on one of the best corn harvests.
The combination of sun and high freezing levels are melting the snow on Mt. Rainier rapidly. There were still some areas that I wanted to visit and I knew time is running out. Originally, Rob and I were planning on scoping and riding the Turtle Snowfield via the Van Trump Glacier on Mt. Rainier's south side on Friday. But at the last minute he had family business to tend to. Saturday I was to meet up with Lupo and Eli for an assault on Whitman Crest via Fryingpan Glacier on Rainier's east side. Sunday it was back to the south side for a tour of the Paradise Glacier with the Turns-All-Year locals. Funny how multiply day trips all of a sudden conspired into a weekend of living out of the car. It would also keep me from getting wallet fatigue due to buying gas.
Since Rob bailed I was solo for this trip. On the drive up it drizzled and I was skeptic about the weather. But by the time I drove passed Elbe the sun started to make its presence. I arrived at the Christine Falls (3,650ft) pull out at 10am and snagged the last available parking spot. Cool breezes and shade made the hike into Comet Falls comfy. The mist from the falls was so refreshing I could have just stopped here and gone no further.
Before long I started emerging from the trees into Van Trump Park. Wow from here things sure look melted out. Near 6,300ft was where I encountered patches of snow worth skinning on. Still I continued to hike in sandals along the ridge since it was mellow and I could still see a steep scramble on dirt and rock ahead.
Once I gained the ridge by 7,200ft, the Van Trump Glaciers came into view. Pretty filled in with just hints of crevasses. This is where I started skinning from.
My turn around time was 2pm today. I still had to get down, eat dinner and drive a good portion of the park to meet Lupo and Eli at the Fryingpan trailhead that evening. With an alpine start of 10am that didn't leave me much time. I made it to a saddle behind a rock pile at 8,000ft. From here I had good views of the terrain.
After zooming in with my camera, pictures revealed less than ideal conditions for me to continue up to the Turtle Snowfield. Lots of rock fall and what appeared to be a recent slide from today.
And there was the icefall danger from directly above too.
I started my descent at 2:15pm and instead of retracing my approach I started down this chute that I spied while hiking up.
Looking back up...
I was able to ride this down till 6,200ft. After a short boot up some steep snow, dirt and rock I was able to milk a few last turns along the ridge line. From here I gathered some final views and started the hump out. I arrived back at the car by 4pm thinking I had enough time to do a lap up there. Oh well I'll just take my time getting down.
The drive around the park is scenic as landscapes appear and disappear around corners on roads that were lined by trees and or cliffs. I stopped to scope out some future lines like this one from the bottom up.
As well as taking in some more views. I pulled up to the Fryingpan Creek trailhead with an hour or two to spare. I went for a hike along the river and cooked some dinner before crashing.