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| | |-+  February 7, 2016, Mt. Rainier, Camp Muir
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Author Topic: February 7, 2016, Mt. Rainier, Camp Muir  (Read 1661 times)
lukehumphrey
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February 7, 2016, Mt. Rainier, Camp Muir
« on: 02/08/16, 12:56 AM »

Quick conditions report for Muir on Superbowl Sunday (bad cell phone pics).

Left Issaquah at 6:50AM, arrived at Longmire at 8:30AM. I think that's a record for me. I sped a lot before the park.
I wish I would've been on the mountain with a good camera to take advantage of this dramatic sky.


I had a mind to get up to Muir, then down as quickly as possible. I got as-ready-as-possible at Longmire while waiting for the gate. This involved driving in my boots. Gate opened around 8:45-8:50 AM.


I was off and skinning past the sledding area at 9:15 AM. Snow was super soft and nice, no crust. Stayed this way to Pan Face. No one was ahead of me or behind me for a while. After 10-15 minutes of skinning, I saw a group people who must have camped overnight.


Pan face felt very wind loaded, to the point where I got a little nervous and b-lined it for the trees climber's right. It was a PITA to climb up through these trees, but I was alone and didn't want to take extra chances, especially after hearing about the wind slab releasing in the Crystal BC on Sat. I forget how large Pan Face is - I feel like a slide would carry such a massive volume of snow you'd be f'd if caught.


On the longer, flat ridge above Pan Face it got pretty icy (7000-7300ft). Rock solid type ice. Thank god it  softened on the way down. This huge forecasted temp increase didn't waste much time heating up the mountain.



After my skins finally failed on the ice, I awkwardly put on my ski crampons on a steeper section, my whippet pick keeping me from launching 50 feet back down the ridge. These next 3 pics should give you an idea of just how icy it was. I was fully weighting my splitboard here.
These skins are new, and actually held up really well for a while on this ridiculously slippery ice.




7300-10,100ft had this nice, carve-able wind slab. It built up on my skins a bit at first, so I switched to the icier ridge climber's right around 7500ft. After that it was pretty smooth.
Muir was iced over, but you had the powdery wind blow stuff right below it. I transitioned and was the first of the day to start down.


A closer look at the ledges, which I have my eye on repeating this year. I'm a little concerned about possible wind loading on the entrance slope, and the steep exit slope.


About to push off from Muir. I'd only seen 2 other people so far. Once I started heading down I saw the crowds heading up. Kindred spirits who don't care about the Super Bowl and would always rather be outside?
Snow was pretty good, carve-able wind blown stuff that had big steps here and there, but you could carve around almost all of them, which was kind of fun. I felt pretty comfortable keeping speed up here. When I reached the rock-hard icy section at 7300ft it had softened creating this perfect, carve-able shallow layer.


Pic above Pan face just to illustrate what the Kautz, Finger, etc. look like.


Larger version of this pic here.

With how warm it was getting, I was a little worried about wet slides on Pan Face. Once on the face I noticed the snow had become really wet and heavy. I kept speed and rode in the skin or boot track on and off the rest of the way to avoid getting too bogged down in the heaviness. The last few hundred feet to the car were actually pretty fun. Heavier snow, but a ton of untouched stuff. It was kind of like carving some fresh powder lines, just slower.



My GPS tracks illustrating by escape to the trees/ridge on the way up.


Made it from Muir to the car in 20 minutes.
« Last Edit: 02/11/16, 01:40 AM by lukehumphrey » Logged
Zap
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Re: February 7, 2016, Mt. Rainier, Camp Muir
« Reply #1 on: 02/08/16, 08:11 AM »

It was great to read your report and the photos. Plus, 1hr40min Issaquah to Longmire with your boots on is a record.  Wink
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lukehumphrey
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Re: February 7, 2016, Mt. Rainier, Camp Muir
« Reply #2 on: 02/08/16, 08:32 AM »

It was great to read your report and the photos. Plus, 1hr40min Issaquah to Longmire with your boots on is a record.  Wink

Boots actually went just for the short Longmire > Paradise drive Smiley.
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biker
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Re: February 7, 2016, Mt. Rainier, Camp Muir
« Reply #3 on: 02/08/16, 08:35 AM »

We were up there but a little slower on the climb.  The below ~6500 feet was really wet by the time we we skiing out at 230-245 and quite grabby.  More sun the next couple days should make for spring like snow pack there.

We also observed a large naturally trigger slanb avalanche on an east facing slope on the other side of the nisqually glacier.
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