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| | |-+  July 4, 2014, Van Trump Rainier
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Author Topic: July 4, 2014, Van Trump Rainier  (Read 2320 times)

Posts: 634

July 4, 2014, Van Trump Rainier
« on: 07/06/14, 02:22 AM »

There are tours on the various compass points of Rainier that I do pretty much every year (Russell/Flett, Frypan, Ruth/Inter, PG) but Van Trump is sort of a 'bonus' tour because it's harder to time when it will be good. Also it takes a little more will power to start at 3600' and A frame the skis up 90 minutes of bare trail when just up the road it's ski from the bumper at 4th Crossing.

I think I got the snowline timing pretty good this year. Patchy snow started just when switchbacks past the Comet Falls bottom go 'round the corner and enter the small drainage that eventually leads to the heart of the Park. Kept booting until put skins on right at the 'end of official trail' sign (buried). Good skinning conditions here on up. Maybe half dozen older tracks to be seen on the snow but nothing recent (definitely no skintrack, and the downtracks were already partly raised.)

About when I reached the height of the first major moraine, the cloud wisps that had occasionally appeared and dissipated previously started getting more organized, and unionized into clouds and fog, just a bit below me. This phenomenon was almost literally nipping at my heels all through the remaining couple hours it took to reach my high point (rollover where the VTP snowfields join up with the Turtle, and meets the Wilson approach). Turtle itself looked better snow surface wise than some previous trips I've gazed upon it, but unfortunately I had neither time nor steam left to trample on the Turtle today. Point 'em down.

This is kinda mindbender perspective, cuz is looking DOWN my skintrack to view the cloud deck below

Ski down superb at the top. Smooth, less than an inch softening, big grains, VERY minimal dirt on surface (wind-transported  grit is often the bane of skiing the Van Trump area.) Fall-lined directly past the big wind scoop in lookers right lobe of the main snowfield, which is a very interesting mountain feature I've noticed on previous trips here. The thing has like 40 foot vertical ice/neve walls that wrap 180 degrees around a rock tower, end result being much like a bad-ass moat around a tilted choss castle.

DAMN was this part ever nice

Main snowfield, cool wind scoop (couple of em actually) visible on right

Around 8K things started getting a bit stickier unfortunately. Perhaps a combo of that dust/grit lurking in the snow and the sauna steaming from the fog. Plus attempts to time windows in the fog eventually failed and had to do some milkbottle navigation for a bit. Improvements then in stickiness once reaching the approach gully and upper reaches of VTP. And the fog vanishing now as looking back up the Mountain, might've made sense to hang out 15 min. and wait it out, o well.

VTP slopes skiable (and pretty decently so) save for 50yds of meltout on a forested rib that required skis off-skis on. Purely to jack the JOM, kept skis (mostly) on for another 300vf below the lip of the Park, with final clipout nearly at that point where you can see Comet Falls again after leaving the little drainage. Final JOM 75%?

No other skiers seen all day and only other humans glimpsed was a climber camp tent half way up Turtle. Saw more goats than people (and more goat tracks than people tracks) above treeline. A most satisfying Don't Tread On Me libertarian outing, happy birthday 'Merica.

Cloud lighting curiosity observed from midway down VTP. Best guess is this was a layer of altocirrus, with an unseen contrail above it, and the sun casting the shadow of the contrail down onto the cloud 'screen' thus causing the dark line
« Last Edit: 07/06/14, 02:28 AM by wolfs » Logged

Posts: 2304

Re: July 4, 2014, Van Trump Rainier
« Reply #1 on: 07/06/14, 07:58 AM »

It is a great TR and photos.  Wink

Posts: 155

Re: July 4, 2014, Van Trump Rainier
« Reply #2 on: 07/06/14, 08:43 AM »

Nice report and pics.  Van Trump is a great place to go "hiking with skis".

Posts: 78

Re: July 4, 2014, Van Trump Rainier
« Reply #3 on: 07/06/14, 05:12 PM »

I found the Inter fairly slushy this same day, even at midmorning.  What time did you top out?
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