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NWAC Avalanche
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| |-+  March 2004 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  March 20, 2004, Mount Rainier, Muir Snowfield
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Author Topic: March 20, 2004, Mount Rainier, Muir Snowfield  (Read 1791 times)
Amar Andalkar

Posts: 1231

March 20, 2004, Mount Rainier, Muir Snowfield
« on: 03/20/04, 07:47 PM »

The first day of spring looked more like winter at Paradise, clear and crisp with several inches of yesterday's fresh snow and a cold easterly wind. Conditions changed dramatically to match the season above Pan Point at 6800 ft, as a temperature inversion produced a sudden 10 F temperature rise with calm winds, and corn snow was already forming by 10 am. Winds remained calm nearly to Camp Muir, while the sun was occasionally veiled by thin high clouds, and large lenticular clouds formed to the east of the summit.

We skied down at 2:30 pm, on firm sastrugi for the first few hundred feet, but rapidly improving to nice smooth wind-packed powder especially to skier's right (along the western edge of the snowfield). Conditions down to Pan Point consisted of a patchwork of sections of such powder interspersed abruptly with sections of fine corn, especially on steeper rolls, and both provided really good turns. Pan Face had some deep dense powder, but nice corn on the steep right edge. Snow conditions from Glacier Vista back to Paradise were generally consistent with several inches of heavy dense powder with no crust. No avalanche activity or instability was noticed on the route, even on steep sun-warmed SW aspects. Overall, it was a great day and the skiing was very fine.

Amar Andalkar

There's Matt snowboarding with poles, ripping the wind-packed powder on the upper Muir Snowfield. Click here for a double-size version of this photo.

« Last Edit: 03/21/04, 01:26 AM by andalkar » Logged

ron j
TAY Moderator

Posts: 2602

Re: March 20, 2004, Mount Rainier, Muir Snowfield
« Reply #1 on: 03/20/04, 11:04 PM »

Thanks for the report, Amar.
We're headed that way today and your report is helpful.

"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston
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