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| | |-+  June 30-July 2, 2004, Russell/Flett Gl. MRNP
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Author Topic: June 30-July 2, 2004, Russell/Flett Gl. MRNP  (Read 1530 times)
oldschooldropout
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June 30-July 2, 2004, Russell/Flett Gl. MRNP
« on: 07/03/04, 06:28 PM »

Given 3 days to play by my loving wife I headed to the north side of Rainier to explore the Spray Park area. After a slow brunch in town and a horrendous traffic jam in the U district I arrived at the gated road to Mowich Lake at 3 pm. Hiked the road and the shortcut trail to the lake (5000'). There I donned my ski boots, reshouldered the pack, and hiked the trail to Spray Park (3 miles, 5600'). The trail was clear up to the alpine and was a relatively easy walk. Finally, I put the skis on and skied to the foot of the Flett galcier directly below Observation Rock (6300'). Camped by 9 pm to watch the mountain turn red and then watch the most amazing moonrise of my life over the Mowich Face.

Awoke the next morning at 6 and set out by 7 up the Flett and the Russell galciers. Perfect blue sky and no wind made the morning lovely and the snow go off quickly. I topped out on the Russell a little above 9000 feet around 11 (I AM getting older and slower!). The easy ski down the Russel to about 7700' was on perfect corn and smooth as a baby's bottom. Traversed just under Observation Rock to the less steep section of the Flett to ski another 1500' of excellent corn with minor suncups and runnels. Back to camp by 1 pm. Napped, stared at the mountain, walked, stared at the mountain, ate, stared at the mountain...

Enjoyed another night on the flanks of the mountain just because I could. Casual breakfast, quick walk to the lake and a walk/hitch (the road had opened!) back to the car by 2 pm on 7/2/04.

I recommend this trip as a solo or novice trip as it offers easy skiing, simple route finding, incredible views, gorgeous camping, and relatively easy access (especially now that the road is open). Do NOT follow the route description in Bergdorfer's first edition guide book this late in the season. When there is no snow at Mowich, take the trail by all means. Very light gear would suffice. I found myself missing my old leather doubles and 3-pins as I carried all of my cool new fat, heavy gear. It was great to be back out on skis for a multiday tour. I haven't done that since the late 80's when my leather doubles WERE the cool, new, fat, heavy gear!

This trip was dedicated to my buddy, Dave (Idaho) Hammond, who was having a lot less fun than I while getting his chemo in Boise.
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