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| | |-+  Feb 7-9, 2016, Fuhrer Finger Mt. Rainier
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Author Topic: Feb 7-9, 2016, Fuhrer Finger Mt. Rainier  (Read 4050 times)
fbarker89
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Feb 7-9, 2016, Fuhrer Finger Mt. Rainier
« on: 02/10/16, 12:05 PM »

With summer visiting in February Alexi and I decided to try our luck out on skiing the Fuhrer Finger. Being the first real big warming of the year, large snow storm Thursday & Friday and then huge winds Friday night I was a bit concerned about avalanche conditions so the plan was to go up and watch the snow Sunday & Monday and if it was seemed good head up the Finger Monday night/Tuesday morning.
The way up on sunday we saw a large slide on the fan (lee slope from friday's windstorm) crown looked about 5' thick. A bit later a good chunk of ice came off lookers left of Gibralter. We ran into the party that posted about their adventure exploring the Wilson glacier they had some great turns. We choose to head up through the Nisqually rather than following their skin track up the SE facing aspect as it was pretty late in the day and things had certainly warmed up a bit.



We got to camp at the highest rock on lookers left side of the Wilson glacier around 6:00pm after a very lazy ascent and some sunset meandering.





In the AM Alexi and I had a great ski back to Paradise to meet up with our third team member, but the comfort of bed and necessity of sleep got the better of him and we remained a party of two. At 10:30 we decided we needed to stop waiting and went back up the mountain after talking with a few people in the parking lot (thanks for the Skin wax Amar I was glad to have it). We went back up our skin track from Sunday and were surprised at how much the ice in had moved in the Nisqually, seeing this made us pick up the pace a bit and move through the few sections with ice fall danger quickly. We were back at camp around 3:00 and surprised to find out we had acquired three neighbors, Ben, Stephan, and Bryce who were also planning on heading up the Finger.
Now more or less a team of 5 we left our camp a bit after 3:30am crossed the Wilson and headed up the finger. The snow was great for cramponing up the steeps but every once in a while the crust gave way to 4"-8" of penetration. As was the case last time I skied this route the right side had a constant stream of ping pong to basketball sized ice chunks coming down, I took a nice softball to the shoulder and a few golf balls to the helmet.



We exited the chute just in time for one of the most spectacular sunrises I have seen.



As we made our way onto the upper Nisqually the softer sun crusted snow gave way to an epically crusty wind blown death trap. So we moved over to a cool ice feature and decided to kill some time while waiting for the snow in the finger to warm up.



At 10:00 we made a few turns but the upper Nisqually crusty conditions did not make life easy and on one choppy turn an ice tool came loose fell down into the lower nisqually where we could not find it Sad . One of our group members felt that the skiing was a bit too technical for him and the consequences of a fall on the steep section of the upper nisqually can be huge. After a group meeting and some brainstorming we came up with a very effective way of getting our partner down quickly and safely. We set a snow picket anchor and ran the full length of the 60m rope from that anchor, our friend then repelled the full 60m rope length. At the bottom of the rap we set a new picket and tied the rope into that, at this point the rope was removed from the upper picket and another full 60m rappel was preformed from the lower picket. By the time the guy rappelling reached the end of the rope we had skied down with up upper picket and set that as a anchor.



Alexi and I made sure that this system was working well and everyone was comfortable with it. After 3 successful 60m raps we set off down the chute to start breaking down camp. Snow in the chute was AWESOME and worth all the effort! back at camp all five of us regrouped, cleaned up and enjoyed the rest of our trip down the the nisqually bridge.

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Stoney_Mountain
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Re: Feb 7-9, 2016, Fuhrer Finger Mt. Rainier
« Reply #1 on: 02/10/16, 12:13 PM »

Awesome to meet you guys! Thanks for the good times and help with our friend in the chute, what a day!
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kamtron
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Posts: 559


Re: Feb 7-9, 2016, Fuhrer Finger Mt. Rainier
« Reply #2 on: 02/10/16, 12:22 PM »

Nice work, I'm glad you got good snow in the Finger. Summit or no?
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fbarker89
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Re: Feb 7-9, 2016, Fuhrer Finger Mt. Rainier
« Reply #3 on: 02/10/16, 12:25 PM »

Nice work, I'm glad you got good snow in the Finger. Summit or no?

No summit, we were moving a bit too slow and the snow on the upper nisqually really wasn't worth the effort
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natefred
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Re: Feb 7-9, 2016, Fuhrer Finger Mt. Rainier
« Reply #4 on: 02/10/16, 01:09 PM »

Nice adventure & cooperative spirit!
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ajjenkin
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Re: Feb 7-9, 2016, Fuhrer Finger Mt. Rainier
« Reply #5 on: 02/11/16, 12:04 AM »

The Upper Nisqually can be sooo good.  Here is a photo from early June, 2009.  Nice carvable snow at that time.  It was a good couple of snow years during the 2009 - 2010 era, but give it some time to cook and head back!


* 4719_85369152277_424528_n.jpg (56.58 KB, 604x453 - viewed 1822 times.)
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Stoney_Mountain
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Re: Feb 7-9, 2016, Fuhrer Finger Mt. Rainier
« Reply #6 on: 02/17/16, 02:03 PM »

If anyone would like to see a couple more photos, I finally got around to getting a post up! 

http://www.glaciergospel.com/?p=51

Cheers,
Ben
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fbarker89
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Re: Feb 7-9, 2016, Fuhrer Finger Mt. Rainier
« Reply #7 on: 02/18/16, 09:52 AM »

Thanks Ben, great photos and writing! Looking forward to some more spring turns with you. The north side of Shuksan needs to be slain!
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Chamois
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Posts: 189


Re: Feb 7-9, 2016, Fuhrer Finger Mt. Rainier
« Reply #8 on: 02/19/16, 09:12 AM »

I like it!  Nice job figuring out a safe way to get all members down the steeper section.
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