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| | |-+  August 15th, 2009, Fryingpan Glacier (hidden bowl)
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Author Topic: August 15th, 2009, Fryingpan Glacier (hidden bowl)  (Read 3834 times)
denny236
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August 15th, 2009, Fryingpan Glacier (hidden bowl)
« on: 08/17/09, 10:45 PM »

August turns, done (barely).  I'm new to TAY...just moved to Seattle this past spring and thought it would be cool to try and ski at least a day each month of the year.  When I was told it was "impossible" and "I'm crazy", my idea became a goal.  A quick Google search led me to this website where I enjoyed reading various trip reports in recent weeks.  My May, June, and July turns were split between Whistler/Blackcomb and Timberline.  Some may consider that cheating, but I had excellent weather and awesome weekends of skiing each time.  August is the first month I would have to work for my turns, but its something I got used to each spring back east when I would make the yearly pilgramage up to Tuckerman's Ravine (tuckerman.org).  This past Saturday was my only window to find some snow this month, so off to Rainier I went.  The reason I chose Fryingpan was because I was trying to explore a part of the park I'd never been before while also finding some skiable snow (I hiked to Camp Muir a few years ago and to Flett last summer).  Although not fully excuted, I was able to ski a bit, and at the very least got my hopes up for a return trip to Fryingpan next May!

Similar to another hiker's report I read this morning, we broke trail from the FryingPan Creek trailhead at a whopping 11:45am! A later start than planned but Morgan and I enjoyed a beautiful hike up to Summerland with lots of flowers and great views of the meadows.  The only visible snow from Summerland was way up towards the Glacier on level with Meany Crest and some further off towards Panhandle Gap.  This was my first major realization that I might have some real difficulty finding significant snow.  The only way up towards Fryingpan involved stomping all sorts of meadows under the crest and a traverse/climb up what looked to be some extremely loose rock.  Without being able to see any higher we were discouraged from this route (although in hindsight may have put us on the Glacier as planned).  We ended up hiking towards Panhandle and looping to the east of Meany Crest and ascending up the rock hoping to find a way onto the glacier.  The weather started to change a bit and at about 7100 feet the fog rolled over the edge upon us which immediately led to us abandoning our goal of climbing above the crest.  The snowy patches towards the bottom of the hidden bowl (east of Meany) started looking better and better and we descended the rock into the bowl and traversed to the other side, which was really interesting and a true melting glacier (I've never hiked on anything quite like that..melting ice/snow, streams, glacial silt that you would almost sink into, mud, etc).  But we eventually made it to the skiable snow and got to watch (and listen to) a few car-sized boulders falling from the ridge up above and tumbling into the bowl...pretty cool.  The skiable snow lasted about 300 vertical feet...and I enjoyed every bit of it as the sun came back out as I buckled up!

Although a bit dissapointed we didn't have enough time in the day (due to late start) to re-route and head up to the actual glacier, we greatly enjoyed the exploration and I definately appreciated the workout of lugging my 45 lb pack including downhill skis, hard boots, and a darn tasty lunch up 3200 vertical feet!

The way back through Summerland a bit after 6pm was filled with whistling marmots that didn't seem to mind our trail led us within just a few feet of them...if you've never heard a marmot whistle from point-blank, it could almost make you deaf!

Overall a great day and had a blast exploring!  Not sure what Fryingpan looked like up above the Crest, but I keep telling myself it wouldn't have been worth it anyway...  Can't wait 'till the next trip!!

(have many more pics, but trying to choose the ones to best show conditions and where we were)


* fry1.jpg (52.53 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 891 times.)

* fry2.jpg (75.69 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 902 times.)

* fry3.jpg (145.22 KB, 1000x746 - viewed 887 times.)
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Scotsman
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Re: August 15th, 2009, Fryingpan Glacier (hidden b
« Reply #1 on: 08/18/09, 09:28 PM »

Nice first post and schlepping downhill gear up there shows you have commitment,  fortitude and very little sense. Grin You should fit in here just fine.
Welcome to the asylum! Wink
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GregLange
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Re: August 15th, 2009, Fryingpan Glacier (hidden bowl)
« Reply #2 on: 08/20/09, 12:26 PM »

Welcome to the club, and to the PNW...

No need to "excuse" yourself for Whistler and Tiberline trips. During the summer, available snow is wherever you can find it!

BTW: Did you use skins at either resort?
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denny236
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Posts: 7


Re: August 15th, 2009, Fryingpan Glacier (hidden bowl)
« Reply #3 on: 09/19/09, 05:46 PM »

Thanks.  I didn't have skins to use either trip...coming from the East I don't have the gear yet.  Skins for my last couple hikes would've been nice though, maybe next spring..
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