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| |-+  Trip Reports - May 2002
| | |-+  May 27, 2002, Goat Island Mountain, Mt. Rainier NP
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Author Topic: May 27, 2002, Goat Island Mountain, Mt. Rainier NP  (Read 2069 times)
Charles
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May 27, 2002, Goat Island Mountain, Mt. Rainier NP
« on: 09/09/02, 06:28 PM »

Continuous snow up the trail to Summerland (2-3' at trailhead), very crunchy, dirty and bumpy at first, so I hiked it. A pair of fresh tele boot tracks left the usual route after about a mile and climbed right alongside a melted out stream, a route I had been thinking of trying, so I followed. About half a mile later here come the pair back down, having giving up in despair of being able to cross the creek, aiming to regain the standard route. I couldn't convince them that crossing would be easy farther along, so I kept climbing alongside the creek by myself, beginning to wonder if I would be proven wrong. But at about 4800' snow filled the creekbed, and crossing led to glades and a beautiful snow-filled draw leading right up to a little ridge where I had hoped, about 100' above the trail. Put on skis and picked up the trail just before it breaks out into the open near the footbridge over Fryingpan Creek. The creek was totally melted out, the footbridge bare, but I managed to ski across it anyway (good thing I didn't have my fat skis).

Skiing up the gentle open slope above the bridge was great, with only 1-2" of soft on a very solid base - perfect snow for my Catamount waxless skis. 20-minute rain shower #1 arrived at about 5800', so I kicked a snowbench under a sheltering stand of trees and had lunch. The sun came back out and I skied up more steeply, gaining the west end of the Goat Island Mountain ridge at about 6400', and began skiing NE up the ridge; the snow was still well consolidated, helped by dust blown from melted out areas of the ridgetop. Suddenly I came across a very fresh set of boot tracks, going the opposite way; some crazy hiker had somehow climbed to the top of the E end of the Goat Island Mountain ridge (above the White River bridge), traversed the whole ridge, and then headed down the way I came up. I never saw or heard the hiker, but judging from our tracks, we must have missed each other by about 1 minute. As I skied up the ridge, 20-minute rain shower #2 arrived, so I found shelter in krumholtz at about 7000', then the sun came back out and I skied out to the central "summit", with a view down into the nice looking north-facing bowl bounded on the W by Baker Point.

The fabled Rainier rainshadow seemed to be focused on me, as Panhandle Gap, Sunrise, and Burroughs Mountain all seemed to be getting mostly rain and low clouds, but I was getting a lot of sunshine. The ski back down the ridge was fun, with lots of little groups of turns; only above 7000' were there some deposits of more recent, clean snow which was a little mushy. The ski back down into the Fryingpan Creek drainage was similarly good on the fast snow. Once across the footbridge, I followed the trail and was able to ski back to the car. Lots of fast gliding down through the beautiful forest, with only a few spots of nasty snow where turns were required. It started sprinkling as I reached the car, and rained for the entire drive back to Seattle.

Charles
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