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Author Topic: February 1, 2011, Mt Rainier, More Muir Sunshine  (Read 7329 times)
Amar Andalkar
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February 1, 2011, Mt Rainier, More Muir Sunshine
« on: 02/01/11, 09:45 PM »

Just another typically beautiful, sunny, mid-winter day up on the Mountain. Left the parking lot a little after 10am, passed a half-dozen skiers and maybe a dozen snowshoers on the way up. Had to break trail from 7500 ft onward, as winds overnight had erased the previous skin track and ski tracks completely (a party of 3 skiers had made it to 9000 ft yesterday, above the cloud deck). There is about 6-8" of recent still-powdery snow extending from Paradise up to about 8800 ft, then solidly windpacked and mostly firm above that elevation. A lenticular cloud was forming and dissipating, sending out wispy tendrils in several directions, looking at times like a malevolent white crab squatting on the summit.



There were a few icy spots above 9500 ft, sort of clear water ice, but they were easy to avoid, and ski crampons weren't needed to reach Camp Muir. A gentle SW breeze of 5-10 mph kept things cool up there with temps in the 20s F, interspersed with occasional strong northerly gusts of 30-40 mph, which formed snow devils swirling and whirling far down the Snowfield. Lonely up there despite the stellar weather, with only a pair of climbers who had stayed in the shelter overnight, now practicing crevasse rescue rigs. Eventually another skier joined me around 2pm, just as I was getting ready to ski -- I stayed and chatted for a while before skiing down.



Nothing too great to say about the firm windpack up high, but it was very skiable, a supportive wind crust and not breakable. Snow conditions improved rapidly below 8800 ft, with nice turns in medium-density powder. I had planned to ski down Paradise Glacier instead of the lower Muir Snowfield, but after taking a look down there from Anvil Rock, oddly enough it looked more wind-hammered and rough than the Snowfield, so I didn't bother heading that way. Some other skiers who did ski the Paradise said it was a bit rough from 9000 to 8000 ft, and nice below that.



Several more skiers were still heading up the Snowfield even as 3pm neared. The snow stayed quite nice past Pebble Creek and Pan Point and even all the way down to the parking lot, despite the full sun and warming temps. But there will probably be a suncrust of some type on most southerly aspects below 7000 ft tomorrow morning.

A huge avalanche had ripped down the Nisqually Glacier at some point in the last few days, it looks like it started near 12000 ft and ran a couple of miles down to about 6000 ft, leaving a multi-lobed deposit. Plus there was a fresh pair of nice tracks down Nisqually Chute by mid-afternoon.



Another massive slide ran down the Kautz Glacier, with a possible crown near 13000 ft (or is that a schrund?) and debris down to below 9000 ft.





MOUNT RAINIER RECREATIONAL FORECAST
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SEATTLE WA
351 AM PST TUE FEB 1 2011

SYNOPSIS...AN UPPER LEVEL RIDGE JUST OFFSHORE COMBINED WITH HIGH PRESSURE OVER EASTERN WASHINGTON WILL GIVE DRY CONDITIONS TO THE AREA THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT. A FRONTAL SYSTEM WILL MOVE INTO WESTERN WASHINGTON THURSDAY AND STALL OVER THE AREA THROUGH THE WEEKEND...GIVING CLOUDS AND PERIODS OF RAIN OR SNOW.

TUESDAY...SUNNY. FREEZING LEVEL 1500 FEET.
TUESDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. FREEZING LEVEL 3000 FEET.
WEDNESDAY...SUNNY. FREEZING LEVEL 5000 FEET.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. FREEZING LEVEL 7000 FEET.
THURSDAY...INCREASING CLOUDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN AND SNOW. SNOW LEVEL 5000 FEET.
THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT...CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF RAIN AND SNOW. SNOW LEVEL 6000 FEET.
SATURDAY...CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW AND RAIN. SNOW LEVEL 4500 FEET.

TEMPERATURE AND WIND FORECASTS FOR SELECTED LOCATIONS.

                       TUE    TUE    WED    WED    THU 
                            NIGHT         NIGHT       

SUMMIT   (14411 FT)      8     11     10     12     14
                      N 36   N 19  NW 22  NW 44  NW 61

CAMP MUIR(10188 FT)     23     26     28     27     26
                      N 12   N 14  NW 19  NW 30  NW 44

PARADISE  (5420 FT)     29     16     37     27     42
                      E  8  NE  9  SE  3   N  1   W  3

LONGMIRE  (2700 FT)     32     14     38     26     42
                      E  8   E  9  SE  3  SE  2   S  2


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ryanl
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Re: February 1, 2011, Mt Rainier, More Muir Sunshine
« Reply #1 on: 02/02/11, 08:16 AM »

good to hear from you Amar. Great pictures!
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cchapin
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Posts: 315


Re: February 1, 2011, Mt Rainier, More Muir Sunshine
« Reply #2 on: 02/02/11, 05:55 PM »

Dang, I know someone that intended on climbing the Kautz either yesterday or today.

I hope they are ok.
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FreeBird
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Posts: 393


Re: February 1, 2011, Mt Rainier, More Muir Sunshine
« Reply #3 on: 02/02/11, 06:35 PM »

The Nisqually skied well.  A little wind affected on the top.  What a great day to be out Cool

Some video...

http://contour.com/stories/lowernisqually-020111

http://contour.com/stories/nisquallychute-020111

And a few pics...

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=60930&id=100000218445455&l=857c4d7399
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kath
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Posts: 192


Re: February 1, 2011, Mt Rainier, More Muir Sunshine
« Reply #4 on: 02/03/11, 07:39 AM »

up at paradise too with some friends .. but just one of the groups of snowshoers you prob passed .. honestly though .. i wondered if i'd see you blowing past us .. then when i saw some turns on the nisqually i wondered again .. and then when we some skiers coming off what looked like a fuhrers finger descent i wondered again lol .. l8r they popped up fm the glacier and confirmed they had done it but that conditions sucked .. being icy at the top

anyhow it was a stellar day on the mountain .. although i kept wishing i was skiing instead .. perfect conditions for us newbies down around paradise .. hopefully we can get out next week for a little practice on our own

nice tr and great pix as always

ok .. stupid me .. i just noticed that you were there the day b4 .. still Wink 
« Last Edit: 02/03/11, 07:54 AM by kath » Logged
eskinmo
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Re: February 1, 2011, Mt Rainier, More Muir Sunshine
« Reply #5 on: 02/06/11, 07:12 AM »

Hey freebird.....I'm skiing the cycle down here in Silverton....18 new @ 4% yesterday  9 back on thursday......Its been a great.........K I R ...cu guys soon james
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Amar Andalkar
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Re: February 1, 2011, Mt Rainier, More Muir Sunshine
« Reply #6 on: 02/06/11, 01:05 PM »

Just another typically beautiful, sunny, mid-winter day up on the Mountain.
Well, it turned out not to have been just another typically beautiful, sunny, mid-winter day.

It's still hard for me to comprehend and come to terms with what happened on this day -- as I was enjoying the sunshine alone at Muir that afternoon, my friend Monika was doing the same alone atop Red Mountain, just 50 miles to the north -- until the snow beneath her feet gave way, the summit cornice collapsed, and she fell tragically down the northeast face of that peak, her pack and skis and helmet still left behind at the summit.


(link to main thread: Monika Johnson missing near alpental....)

I had last spoken with her only a few days earlier, when she called me, looking for a partner to go skiing at Rainier. Sadly, I had another commitment the next day and could not ski with her, but I set her up with another friend of ours who was looking to ski, and they enjoyed a nice run down Nisqually Chute to the bridge.

Monika, I wish that I had called you this time, the night before February 1st, and perhaps we could have skied together in the sunshine on Rainier that day instead. You were a great ski partner and friend, and I enjoyed instructing with you for so many years in the glacier skiing course. I'll fondly remember every trip with you in the mountains, and I'm especially thankful that we skied together more often during the past couple of years -- although even those trips turned out to be far too few in number. I'll always miss you and continue to be inspired by you.


Monika at the summit crater of Rainier, carrying two pairs of skis and Kitty -- on our way to skiing the Kautz Glacier, May 2008:


Monika looking stylish in my OR rain hat, while instructing for the glacier skiing course, April 2009:


Monika enjoying the powder, Crystal Mountain, Nov 2010:



(Edited to update the link to Monika's thread, which had changed.)
« Last Edit: 02/08/11, 11:55 PM by Amar Andalkar » Logged

~Link~
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Re: February 1, 2011, Mt Rainier, More Muir Sunshine
« Reply #7 on: 02/06/11, 08:12 PM »

I never met Monika, but I imagine that she was an amazing person.  It's such a tragic accident to have happened.  I really feel for those who knew her...
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