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| | |-+  August 5, 2012 Mt. Rainier, Flett Glacier Sun Cups
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Author Topic: August 5, 2012 Mt. Rainier, Flett Glacier Sun Cups  (Read 1933 times)

Posts: 194

August 5, 2012 Mt. Rainier, Flett Glacier Sun Cups
« on: 08/06/12, 02:45 AM »

What better way to spend a hot weekend, then in the mountains hoping to escape the heat, not quite.  Determined to find an area to ski where we could almost be certain we would see no other ski tracks, left us choosing to hike and ski the Flett Glacier.  Danny and I got a late start, high noon, from the car and headed up towards Knapsack Pass.  We figured this was about 1/3 of the way to our goal of reaching the Flett Glacier Headwall.  After reaching the pass we were treated to some great views of the north and northwest side of the mountain along with views of the lake from where we started from.

For those who want to get some turns in without having to grind out the extra mileage, there are turns to be had around the Knapsack Pass area.

Once reaching the pass, we drop down a couple hundred vertical feet and make the long traverse towards the Flett Glacier.  From Spray Park to around 6,500 feet the snow is patchy, above 6,500 feet the snow is continuous to the top of the headwall. 

Climber's right of the headwall.

Snow conditions on the headwall itself.

After six hours of hiking, we finally click in our skis and enjoy the sun baked snow conditions, runnels on the mid-section of the headwall, and the soft and slushy sun cups.  We managed to ski down to Spray Park with only a few short carries.  Note the ski tracks from the three other people we skiing down.

Once we reached Spray Park, we decided to go down the Wonderland Trail and avoided retracing our steps from our hike up. 

Total Round trip of 11.7 miles in 9 hours car to car. 
Gear Notes:  Ice axe and crampons recommended on the headwall, especially the top third.

« Last Edit: 08/06/12, 02:52 AM by Donnelly_M » Logged

Posts: 72

Re: August 5, 2012 Mt. Rainier, Flett Glacier Sun Cups
« Reply #1 on: 08/12/12, 10:21 PM »

Nice TR and pic's! My buddy Dave and I were up there earlier that day ourselves, in fact I believe the tracks on the Lower Flett in your last pic may be ours. We took the summer trail in and out, and regrettably skipped the Flett Headwall because our objective was to ski the Russell, and the patchy snow conditions make it hard to do both this time of year. Tiring, but beautiful hike both in and out and several carryovers between the Flett and Russell makes me think this tour is a bit past it's prime for the season. But we're really glad we went. The scenery is stunning, and after reaching our high-point on the Russell around 9000' at 12:30, we were pleasantly surprised to find it rapidly corning-up, leading to an enjoyable ski down across a surface ranging from smooth to mild runnels and softening A-cups. Cutting back to the Lower Flett for our return, we encountered a sea of C-cups, but again they'd had time to soften and they skied really well. Glancing up at the Headwall made us eager to hit it next time we go. Glad you guys got it!
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