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Author Topic: Jan 1, 2011, Mt Rainier, Muir: Warm, Sunny & Calm  (Read 4522 times)
Amar Andalkar
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Jan 1, 2011, Mt Rainier, Muir: Warm, Sunny & Calm
« on: 01/01/11, 09:19 PM »

The Rainier forecast looked too good to pass up: sunny, not as cold as the last few days, and very light winds. My last-minute, early AM decision to drive down there and head up to Camp Muir, turned out to be exceptional. It felt like a once-in-a-lifetime experience: skinning up to Camp Muir on NEW YEARS DAY in warm sunshine, with temps in the mid-20s, and almost no wind at all.



The weather was SO NICE, the snow conditions almost didn't matter -- but they were fairly good, certainly much better than typical winter above-treeline nastiness. Wind-packed powder, mostly smooth with minimal sastrugi, no sun crust yet. A bit of breakable wind crust in some areas and small pockets, which provided the worst (most-challenging) turns of the day, while much larger sections had smooth medium-density powder which offered the best turns. Sure, I had skied much lighter and nicer powder above Source Lake near Alpental on New Years Eve yesterday, but that's fine -- today was about enjoying the sunshine and scenery, as high up as you can get right now in the Northwest in an easy day.


Jet contrail and its visible shadow, with Mount Adams and Goat Rocks (left) in the distance.


Looking up Cowlitz Cleaver towards the summit dome from Camp Muir.

I reached Camp Muir just after 2pm, and took a long break basking in the sunshine and stillness. The buildings at Muir are heavily rimed (including the solidly-frozen NWAC wind gauges), but the Public Shelter is in great shape with easy access via the entire door (not just the upper half) and almost no snow inside. The Snowfield was fairly deserted, only a handful of skiers up there today (a few still skinning up at 3pm), plus another handful of snowshoers. The emptiness up high was in sharp contrast to the absolute mob scene at Paradise when I skied back down to the car around 3:30pm, with sleds and tubes and kids everywhere.



A pair of climbers had attempted to summit via Gib Ledges in the early morning, but they turned around below 12K (before starting across the Ledges) due to avy concerns. I saw three large avalanches fall from Nisqually Icefall and Ice Cliff between noon and 2pm, a clear product of sunshine and warming.


Avalanche from Nisqually Ice Cliff just after noon.

However, snow stability appeared to be excellent along the entire route from Paradise to Muir though, with no signs of anything sliding (or even looking risky) on Pan Face and the steep rolls above Pan Point. No one had yet dared to ski Nisqually Chute, there were no tracks visible in there.



A great start to 2011!  Happy New Year!!


Sunset glow on Point Success and Kautz Glacier.


By the way, the road to Paradise opened at 8am (although I got there about 90 minutes later), and the drive up was no problem, luckily I didn't get stuck behind any slowpokes. The entire 18 miles of park road was compact snow, but not icy and with good traction. Chains were required on all vehicles, except AWD/4WD, and rangers were checking at Longmire if those with AWD/4WD had chains in the vehicle.


MOUNT RAINIER RECREATIONAL FORECAST
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SEATTLE WA
400 AM PST SAT JAN 1 2011
 
SYNOPSIS...A STRONG UPPER LEVEL RIDGE OVER THE REGION COUPLED WITH OFFSHORE LOW LEVEL FLOW WILL KEEP WESTERN WASHINGTON MOSTLY CLEAR AND DRY INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK...WITH CONTINUED COLD WEATHER THROUGH MONDAY. THE UPPER RIDGE WILL GRADUALLY BREAK DOWN...WITH A WEAK WEATHER SYSTEM POSSIBLY REACHING WESTERN WASHINGTON AROUND WEDNESDAY.
 
SATURDAY...SUNNY. FREEZING LEVEL 2000 FEET.
SATURDAY NIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. FREEZING LEVEL 3500 FEET.
SUNDAY...MOSTLY SUNNY. FREEZING LEVEL 2500 FEET.
SUNDAY NIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. FREEZING LEVEL 1500 FEET.
MONDAY...MOSTLY SUNNY. FREEZING LEVEL 500 FEET.
MONDAY NIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. FREEZING LEVEL 1000 FEET.
TUESDAY AND TUESDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLOUDY. FREEZING LEVEL 1500 FEET.
WEDNESDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW AND RAIN. SNOW LEVEL 500 FEET.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND THURSDAY...SNOW AND RAIN LIKELY. SNOW LEVEL 3000 FEET.
THURSDAY NIGHT...SHOWERS LIKELY. SNOW LEVEL 3000 FEET.
FRIDAY...SNOW SHOWERS LIKELY.

TEMPERATURE AND WIND FORECASTS FOR SELECTED LOCATIONS.

                       SAT    SAT    SUN    SUN    MON 
                            NIGHT         NIGHT       

SUMMIT   (14411 FT)      3      2      5      6      6
                     NW  7  NW 16  NE 18   N 19  NW 23

CAMP MUIR(10188 FT)     18     17     20     23     21
                     NW  8  NW 13   N  7   N 11  NW 17

PARADISE  (5420 FT)     25     24     27     14     32
                      E  4   N  1  NE  4  NE  6  NE  2

LONGMIRE  (2700 FT)     29     22     31     21     34
                      E  6  NE  3  NE  4  NE  7  NE  3



Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center                                     Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center
Paradise, Mt Rainier National Park, Washington                             Camp Muir, Mt Rainier National Park, Washington
                                                                           Data also courtesy Mt Rainier National Park

                                                                           Wind sensors unheated and may rime

MM/DD  Hour  Temp    RH  Wind  Wind  Wind  Hour Total 24 Hr Total Solar    MM/DD   Hour   Temp     RH   Wind   Wind   Wind   Wind  Solar
        PST     F     %   Avg   Max   Dir Prec. Prec.  Snow  Snow  W/m2             PST      F      %    Min    Avg    Max    Dir   W/m2
            5550' 5550' 5500' 5500' 5500' 5550' 5550' 5550' 5550' 5500'                 10100' 10100' 10100' 10100' 10100' 10100' 10100'
-----------------------------------------------------------------------    -------------------------------------------------------------
  1 1     0    15    93     5     9    67     0     0     1    98     0      1 1      0     12     93      0      0      0    253      0
  1 1   100    18    93     5     9    61     0     0     1    98     0      1 1    100     12     93      0      0      0    253      0
  1 1   200    21    94     3     6    39     0     0     1    98     0      1 1    200     10     92      0      0      0    253      0
  1 1   300    20    94     4     6    59     0     0     1    98     0      1 1    300     11     92      0      0      0    253      0
  1 1   400    20    94     4     8    51     0     0     1    98     0      1 1    400     11     92      0      0      0    253      0
  1 1   500    20    94     3     6    40     0     0     1    97     0      1 1    500     10     92      0      0      0    253      0
  1 1   600    21    94     3     5    37     0     0     1    98     0      1 1    600     11     92      0      0      0    253      0
  1 1   700    22    94     4     6    41     0     0     0    97     0      1 1    700     11     92      0      0      0    253      0
  1 1   800    21    94     4     5    45     0     0     1    98     2      1 1    800     11     92      0      0      0    253      6
  1 1   900    24    94     2     4     6     0     0     0    97    59      1 1    900     13     92      0      0      0    253     63
  1 1  1000    26    94     0     1    13     0     0     0    97   195      1 1   1000     17     92      0      0      0    253    197
  1 1  1100    27    94     1     3   284     0     0     0    97   318      1 1   1100     20     92      0      0      0    256    254
  1 1  1200    29    95     1     4   257     0     0     0    97   383      1 1   1200     26     91      0      0      0    283    284
  1 1  1300    32   100     1     3   260     0     0     0    96   392      1 1   1300     26     93      0      0      0    246    285
  1 1  1400    37    96     0     0   239     0     0     0    96   346      1 1   1400     25     93      0      0      0    235    266
  1 1  1500    37    96     0     1   275     0     0    -0    95   259      1 1   1500     23     94      0      0      0    235    344
  1 1  1600    31   100     0     2   275     0     0     0    95   129      1 1   1600     19     94      0      0      0    243    141
  1 1  1700    26   100     0     0    41     0     0     0    96    19      1 1   1700     15     94      0      0      0    234     31
  1 1  1800    25   100     0     0     7     0     0     0    96     0      1 1   1800     13     93      0      0      0    226      1
  1 1  1900    25   100     0     0    64     0     0     1    96     0      1 1   1900     13     93      0      0      0    226      0
  1 1  2000    25   100     0     0   345     0     0     0    96     0      1 1   2000     12     93      0      0      0    226      0
  1 1  2100    26   100     0     0   325     0     0     1    96     0      1 1   2100     13     92      0      0      0    226      0
  1 1  2200    26   100     0     0   307     0     0     0    95     0      1 1   2200     12     93      0      0      0    226      0
  1 1  2300    27   100     0     2   304     0     0     0    95     0      1 1   2300     12     92      0      0      0    226      0


(Edited Jan2 to add NWAC telemetry.)
« Last Edit: 01/02/11, 10:06 AM by Amar Andalkar » Logged

glenn_b
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Re: Jan 1, 2011, Mt Rainier, Muir: Warm, Sunny & Calm
« Reply #1 on: 01/01/11, 09:34 PM »

Living vicariously.  Thanks, Amar.  Happy New Year, you all!
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shaman
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Re: Jan 1, 2011, Mt Rainier, Muir: Warm, Sunny & Calm
« Reply #2 on: 01/02/11, 08:36 AM »

Absolutely beautiful.  Great way to start off 2011.
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gregL
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Re: Jan 1, 2011, Mt Rainier, Muir: Warm, Sunny & Calm
« Reply #3 on: 01/02/11, 09:58 AM »

Mid 20's? Good call, Amar!

We were jogging across Snow Lake at about the same time, about 5 degrees in the shade with a 40mph tailwind . . .
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Jim Oker
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Re: Jan 1, 2011, Mt Rainier, Muir: Warm, Sunny & Calm
« Reply #4 on: 01/02/11, 10:08 AM »

-3 at the Smith Brook TH at 9AM. It felt colder at the shaded end of Lichtenwasser Lake around noon. What a contrast.
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