April 23-24 (Mt Rainier, WA) —
Well fed from visiting Jayashree and well trained from working with John Minier, we headed off to climb and ski our next volcano: Mount Rainier.
On our first day, we made a late start on a brilliantly sunny morning and climbed from the Paradise parking lot at 5300′ to the bottom of the Muir Snowfield before the weather started changing. Although the forecast was for clear skies all day, mountains tend to make their own weather and Rainier is well known for being especially unpredictable.
Within minutes, we could see nothing but white and snow started coming down (about an inch fell that afternoon, we heard). So we headed back down in the early afternoon without reaching our objective (Camp Muir at 10,000′) and actually got some nice turns for the first half of the descent before the snow turned to mush.
Learning from our mistake, we were on the trail by 7:30 am on day two. The bootpack up Panorama Face was easier since the snow was more solid, but it was still quite a workout:
And it was hot. We saw other snowshoers and skiers wearing t-shirts and shorts. Or the attire du jour of rolled up pants, knobby knees, and gaiters. Even though we were only wearing pants and a long-sleeved baselayer, we were melting. Indeed, when we stopped for lunch, our ham and cheese sandwiches actually had melted.
It was an outstanding day already and we hadn’t even skied down.
And after descending 4700′ on corn and hero snow, we were truly grinning from ear to ear.