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Author Topic: Dec. 16, 2008, Mt. Rainier, Muir Crustfield  (Read 3445 times)
Plinko
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Dec. 16, 2008, Mt. Rainier, Muir Crustfield
« on: 12/17/08, 02:34 PM »

Started the day expecting sub zero temps, then happily shed a few layers when an inversion gave sunny skies and upper 20's.  Little bit of everything, breakable soft crust, boilerplate, wind transported powder, you name it, all with no consistent rhyme or reason.  Indications of multiple predominate wind directions had us scratching or heads to find good snow for the descent.

Pics here:

http://picasaweb.google.com/djbenno/121608MuirSnowfieldVariationOnDescent#

« Last Edit: 12/17/08, 02:51 PM by Plinko » Logged
jcocci
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Re: Dec. 16, 2008, Mt. Rainier, Muir Crustfield
« Reply #1 on: 12/17/08, 02:54 PM »

Sounds about the same as it was on Ptarmigan ridge yesterday.
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andyrew
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Re: Dec. 16, 2008, Mt. Rainier, Muir Crustfield
« Reply #2 on: 12/17/08, 04:59 PM »

How did coverage in the Tatoosh look?
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savegondor
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Re: Dec. 16, 2008, Mt. Rainier, Muir Crustfield
« Reply #3 on: 12/17/08, 05:05 PM »

Nisqually Chute looks almost ready...hummmm.
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Plinko
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Re: Dec. 16, 2008, Mt. Rainier, Muir Crustfield
« Reply #4 on: 12/17/08, 06:28 PM »

How did coverage in the Tatoosh look?

Tatoosh looked thin.  We originally had planned to ski there, but opted for Paradise/Muir due to low snow coverage.  After this most recent dump, it may be ready to go...
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Snow Bell
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Re: Dec. 16, 2008, Mt. Rainier, Muir Crustfield
« Reply #5 on: 12/18/08, 03:46 PM »

Nisqually Chute looks almost ready...hummmm.

The Nisqually Chute did look good but it was likely dangerously loaded atop the previous systems crust and there are several large crevasse's lurking near it's base.  We talked about it but opted for more conservative terrain.

On our way up we came across Mr. and Mrs. Freebird who were kind enough to cut a skin track through the crust from Pebble Creek to Camp Muir.  Thanks again and it was fun skiing with you.

We forgot to repair the telemetry at Muir while we were up there.  (sorry folks)
We also came across Slo Steve and his brother on their way up to the hut for the night.  It doesn't appear that they got around to fixing the telemetry site either.  Here is hoping that they had a good trip.

All in all it was a much more pleasant day than we were expecting.   Perhaps this system will deposit enough new snow to liberate me from the Muir snowfield for awhile.  It has served me well for the last few months but it is time for a change.
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Life is going to slide by you one way or another
steve_f
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Re: Dec. 16, 2008, Mt. Rainier, Muir Crustfield
« Reply #6 on: 12/19/08, 01:25 PM »

Nice to meet you Joe.  Sorry we didn't stick around to meet the others but we wanted to make it to the shelter before the system came in.  Turns out we still were not fast enough.  Thanks also for the skin track.

The system came on pretty fast and was strong.  It was blowing hard from the north.  It blew the slope immediately below Muir to ice, so it was hard to make the last 100 feet.  The shelter was definitely a necessity at that point.

We decided to go down Wed. morning despite the storm blowing out of the south southwest.  When we had looked at the forcast previously, we knew it was going to be cold and windy, but we underestimated the severity.  The wind was blowing in our faces so hard that sometimes gravity wasn't enough to keep us skiing down.  And skiing doesn't really describe what we were doing.  I used my poles like when walking to gauge how far I had gone.  After 25 pole placements I looked back to make sure my brother was with me.  After 100 pole placements I would check the GPS and adjust our route.  It ended up taking longer to get down than get up.  I was honestly scared and am hopefully humbled by the experience.  All it would have taken was a hurt knee to make the situation pretty bleak. 

We saw the climbers you guys talked to at the top of pan point. while descending Wednesday.  They were in tents at about the location we met up.  One tent was already thrashed with at least 1 broken pole.  They asked if they could follow our tracks up to Muir.  I told them no.  They made some comment that it was as cold here as in Canada.
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Plinko
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Re: Dec. 16, 2008, Mt. Rainier, Muir Crustfield
« Reply #7 on: 12/19/08, 07:02 PM »

We saw the climbers you guys talked to at the top of pan point. while descending Wednesday.  They were in tents at about the location we met up.  One tent was already thrashed with at least 1 broken pole.  They asked if they could follow our tracks up to Muir.  I told them no.  They made some comment that it was as cold here as in Canada.

Glad these guys were ok!  I was a bit concerned based on their apparent skill level (or lack thereof).  Those are some pretty unforgiving conditions to be plodding around in, glad you were there to make the sweep, not to mention getting yourselves out safe.
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