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| | |-+  July 19, 2014, Flett Glacier
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Author Topic: July 19, 2014, Flett Glacier  (Read 3464 times)
Splitter
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July 19, 2014, Flett Glacier
« on: 07/20/14, 07:47 AM »

Had a nice variable weather day on Rainier yesterday. I had plans for Flett and Russell, but on top of Observation Rock with mist, gusts to 45-50, and a lot of pumice between me and the Russell, I called it a day.
I started skinning at 6K on continuous snow except for 2 feet of heather, a lot of narrow places will melt out soon. On the way back I followed the way trail and de-skinned at about 5800 after a few carries.
The Flett headwall was still a little firm to be great skiing, had some great turns just below that until the suncups started getting bigger. From Spray Park the route was mostly clear sunshine, climbed in mostly soup, skied it waiting for visibility breaks, and then when I was back at Spray Park, everything cleared out again. Hope for better timing next trip.


* Flett_Glacier_293.JPG (189.43 KB, 533x800 - viewed 797 times.)

* Flett_Glacier_251.JPG (183.09 KB, 1000x666 - viewed 812 times.)

* Flett_Glacier_192.JPG (198.13 KB, 1000x666 - viewed 793 times.)
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wolfs
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Re: July 19, 2014, Flett Glacier
« Reply #1 on: 07/20/14, 10:40 AM »

I was the skier you met at the bottom of the run where the Park gets nearly flat (hi).

From that marvelous moment of clearing on, it was never clear again for the next 4 hours, and got steadily cloudier with several cloud decks involved. Suck! I did make it onto the Russell, about 3PM. And at that moment the viz there was pretty good, because the fog sort of stopped at the Russell divide, albeit it was still under a 9K-level cloud deck that flattened the light. Could at least see glacier below headwall, across to Curtis Ridge and Grand Park etc. And could see that the Russell was lookin' pretty good at least on lower reaches.

From W Flett to E Flett the required cross involved about 25 feet of boulders. From E Flett to Russell (via the typical path along flatter areas) the only crossing that still had snow involved climbing 200 ft above, nearly to the 'Sharkfin' rock.

Snow on the (lower) Russell Glacier is in great shape. Not very cupped, nearly smooth. Occasional runnels or other laterals but avoidable. Really wished it was the right kind of day to march on up and top out one of the bumps ~9K. But it wasn't. Wind was blasting, fog events were becoming more frequent and kept penetrating further onto the Russell side. By staying in windshadow of ridge it was tolerable but clearly if you went to the center, or topped the ridge, it was going to be strong enough to scatter your gear, throw your balance, etc. So I really only skied the lower part, from about the level of Obs rock and then down, having to skin again ~500 vertical to get back out around the separating moraine.

Basically the tour was like a concert where you paid the price of admission (the approach, trek thru the park) and sure the opening acts were OK (lower Flett was in great shape, as seized in a tiny window of nonfog visibility) but you had to leave before the main act.

Big bonus: all the wind kept the notorious Spray Park Skeeters completely grounded during the journey through.
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chieftaffy
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Re: July 19, 2014, Flett Glacier
« Reply #2 on: 07/20/14, 10:54 AM »

Awesome lenticular shots!
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Alpental aspirant...
mikerolfs
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WWW
Re: July 19, 2014, Flett Glacier
« Reply #3 on: 07/20/14, 11:47 AM »

wow that second photo!  Looks like a wild horse to me.
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ps44
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Re: July 19, 2014, Flett Glacier
« Reply #4 on: 07/20/14, 07:51 PM »

Looks nice, Peter.  You had a quite a show of cloud formations.  That flowing lenticular looks awesome.
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iluka
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Re: July 19, 2014, Flett Glacier
« Reply #5 on: 07/20/14, 09:45 PM »

An update on the upper Russell Glacier from our trip today... can't say much about the approach to it as we were in pea soup until about 7K and couldn't get a good sense of the coverage below the Flett. We managed to find enough snow above 6200 to keep skis on with the exception of some short carries until getting up to Echo and Observation Rocks.

We got up to the basin below the Russell Glacier Headwall at 9400 feet. Great turns off the slopes coming down from that point with only minor runnels and an overall smooth surface. We skied down from there to 7600 feet then turned around for another lap finding good snow until about 7800 feet where it started getting grabbier. Little in the way of sun cups anywhere on the glacier.


* Russell_Glacier_July_20.jpg (115.86 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 625 times.)

* Scott_Skiing_Down_the_Russell_Glacier.jpg (101.96 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 622 times.)

* Looking_Down_Russell_Glacier_Above_the_Clouds.jpg (93.09 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 610 times.)
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Yet another trip I've skied up something I can't ski down!
Jonn-E
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Posts: 337


Re: July 19, 2014, Flett Glacier
« Reply #6 on: 07/20/14, 10:03 PM »

I skied the Flett too on Saturday, but ascended the ridge to the east. I was shoulder carrying my skis away from the wind at one point and they endo-ed right over the top! I also lost a skin bag to the wind if anyone finds it (red G3).  Those lenticulars were the gnarliest I've seen and when I dropped the Flett at ~2:30 they were capping the whole mountain in stacks down to 10k.  Between that, the howling wind up high, and the occasional white-out it was a clear GTFO signal.

The first few turns down the Flett are really steep, but it's a good surface and a ton of fun!
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Jonn-E
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Re: July 19, 2014, Flett Glacier
« Reply #7 on: 07/21/14, 08:34 AM »




The Flett:




Upper Russell and bottom of crazy lenticular:




Spray park ski routes overview (I actually ascended the ridge nearly out of frame right):

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