Post subject: Fryingpan Glacier, Mt Rainier, July 13-14, 2009
Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:20 am
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:29 am Posts: 583 Location: Oregon
I met my old ski buddy Andrew at PDX mid-Sunday morning and we headed north to Rainier. Andrew hadn't been on skis in 5 years, but not to worry he didn't miss a beat. We camped near the mountain Sunday night after terrible traffic in Olympia. Early Monday morning, we headed into MRNP, got our permits from the White River Ranger Station, and parked at the trailhead (~3900 feet). The weather was cloudy and misting, but the hike in went great. It was nice and cool, and we saw lots of wildlife and flowers in the 4 miles to Summerland.
We made it to Summerland (it felt a bit more like Winterland with the fog and mist) and set camp. We made a few runs not far from Camp to get Andrew's legs under him. A 35 degree pitch in the fog isn't exactly a warm up run after not skiing for 5 years
The marmots were out in force on the way back..
We lounged around camp for a few hours, before the weather finally cleared and we finally got a glimpse of the moutnain at nearly 8pm....here's our tracks on the warm up slope from our camp....
Here's a shot of Little Tahoma from our camp near dusk......
The weather for Tuesday was supposed to be mostly sunny, so we hit the bivy sack preparing for the next days adventure. Tuesday monring dawned clear and we left camp at about 6 am. The views of the mountain were excellent. Hiking up through the first bowl outside of camp we saw a bunch of mountain goats (around 35!).
The snow was in great shape on the hike up, and we soon reached the bottom of the Fryingpan Glacier, where we could see Adams, Hood & St Helens to the south. Our highpoint was Whitman Crest (~9150 feet). We soaked in the surrounding views for a bit, before heading down for the corn harvest.
The riding was superb and far exceeded my expectations.
Here's a shot looking down the Fryingpan from Whitman Crest. The trailhead is far below at the bottom of the canyon.....
Total vertical was about 3000 feet with only two short carries of 100 feet. Here's a shot of the lower 1000 feet, where we rode by the mountain goats who were still loungin about. Our tracks are barely visible in the chute in the upper right of the picture....
Back at camp, we packed up and hit the trail out so we could try the Muir snowfield on Wednesday. The slog out was brutal with the heavy packs - that last mile was grueling.
Overall, the snow quality rocked, and the trip exceeded my expecations. I'll likely head back to Rainier next year to check out a different aspect of the mountain - the potential for late season splitting is endless
_________________ "There is nothing more practical in the end than the preservation of beauty." - Theodore Roosevelt