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 Post subject: July 8, 2006 Mt Rainier - Flett and Russell Glaciers
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 1:22 pm 

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?

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...

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...

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...

Looking down the Russell Glacier...

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...

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...

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...



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...


You will know when Americas in trouble when the Mexicans stop coming...Carlos Mencia

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