took advantage of the sunny clear conditions to pop my rainier cherry. headed up to muir with some friends from out of town (despite "it sucks!", the dire warning of a ranger who claimed to have been turned back by wind & ice). the wind was certainly howling as we negotiated ice and frozen snowshoe tracks up an ascent that had me donning ski crampons for the first time this season. however, the wind died to almost nothing as we climbed, and we enjoyed a pleasant lunch at muir, met a couple of venerable locals and headed down to the nisqually chute. the upper thousand feet of the snowfield was pretty solid, with patches of windbuff nestled sastrugi. the entrance to the chute was a little icy but soon gave way to a crust that even the skiers had fun breaking. traversed across some wet slide debris on the way out but it was still soft.