Posts tagged: Mount Rainier
PUBLIC LANDS — The recent summer weather around the Pacific Northwest has melted snow and allowed for Mount Rainier National Park staff to open multiple facilities ahead of schedule.
The Sunrise Road, Sunrise Lodge and Sunrise Visitor Center all opened to the public Friday, according to Mount Rainier Superintendent Randy King.
Other openings that are ahead of schedule include Cougar Rock Campground, Narada Falls Trail and White River Campground, which also opened on Friday. Mowich Lake Road is set to open Wednesday.
The other areas in the park already open include Ohanapecosh, Paradise, Longmire and Carbon River.
MOUNTAINEERING — Two ski mountaineers have set a speed record for climbing and descending Mount Rainier from the Paradise parking lot, scorching the icy slopes in 3 hours, 57 minutes and 55 seconds.
Andy and Jason Dorais of Salt Lake City set the record on June 5, a couple of weeks after another pair of mountaineers had erased the 4:50 records in a time of 4:19.
Both of the Dorais brothers predict the record times will drop significantly as speed runners refine the routes and techniques and pick the perfect conditions.
Jason's food for the effort: 5 powergels mixed in 16oz gatorade plus 16 oz Red Bull.
NATURE — Mount Rainier National Park is one of the region’s most gorgeous places to visit and hike during wildflower season.
Named the best wildflower spot in the U.S. by “Wildflower Wonders: The 50 Best Wildflower Sites in the World,” Mount Rainier National Park offers a bouquet of flowers in nearly every color of the spectrum.
The easiest “wildflower fix” in the park is day hiking the trails around Paradise Lodge in mid-July
See a photo slide show of what's to come in this feature by South Sound magazine.
MOUNTAINEERING — The National Park Service says a climbing ranger who fell to his death during a rescue operation at Mount Rainier National Park last year was not roped for safety or equipped with an ice ax at the time of the accident.
Nick Hall, 33, was a four-year climbing ranger at the park. He fell roughly 2,400 feet while helping to rescue four injured climbers from Texas on June 21, 2012.
A review into the accident reported by the Associated Press today found a pervasive pattern of rangers being comfortable being unroped on the mountain and that they had become desensitized to the risks.
Park Superintendent Randy King says the park is establishing more stringent protocols for those who work on the mountain and improving training for its rangers.
HIKING — TONIGHT (March 18) I'll be presenting a free slide program, “Hiking Full Circle: The Pains and Pleasures of the Wonderland Trail, the Tour du Mont Blanc and other Loop Trips” for the Spokane Mountaineers — and you're invited.
The program starts at 7 p.m. at Mountain Gear Headquarters, 6021 E. Mansfield Ave. in Spokane Valley.
Remember, the critical “opening day” is near to apply for backcountry camping permits needed for hiking around Mount Rainier.
The Tour de Blanc is the classic circumnavitation trek in Europe.
And there are plenty more loop trips to consider right here in the Inland Northwest.
Rich Landers, Outdoors editor for The Spokesman-Review, has been a Spokane Mountaineers member since 1977. Landers, author of 100 Hikes in the Inland Northwest and Paddling Washington, has co—authored a new hiking guidebook, Day Hiking Eastern Washington, that will be published this spring.
The National Parks Service has approved long-awaited upgrades to Mount Rainier’s Camp Muir – one of the main stops for the thousands of people who climb the mountain.
Pacific West Region director Chris Lehnertz determined that upgrading the high camp would have no impact on the park, giving the green light to replace the camp’s nonhistoric structures.
Mount Rainier National Park superintendent Randy King said the project will cost about $700,000 and take three to five years to complete, the Tacoma News Tribune reported.
Camp Muir is the highest backcountry camp, located at an elevation of 10,080 feet.
PARKS — The Washington Transportation Department has closed two passes on the east side of Mount Rainier for the winter.
Chinook Pass on Highway 410 and nearby Cayuse Pass on Highway 123 have been closed by recent snow and avalanche danger, department officials announced today.
MOUNTAINEERING — Safely below the snowline, I was hiking in the Alps near Chamonix, France, last week when 9 climbers were killed by an avalanche on Mont Blanc, the highest peak in western Europe. It was particularly eery for me and my family, since we had just shared a train ride with a South Africa couple who had just climbed the peak — and we had shared breakfast on a previous day with a man who was headed up to climb.
The tragedy in bringing international attention to what appear to be increasing danger and unpredictibility in snow-country climbing and backcountry skiing.
Following the tragedy in the Alps as well as another on Mount McKinley, the New York Times has published this report citing veteran climbers pointing out that today’s conditions are combining to create a volatile highball of risk.
MOUNTAINEERING — Sad news from Mount Rainier National Park as a ranger attempting a rescue fell 3,000 feet to his death on Thursday.
Tacoma News-Tribune outdoor writers take a shot a answering that question from a Western Washington perspective. Read their story here.
MOUNTAINEERING — Historians have digitized a newsreel film that documents the February 1922 first winter ascent of Mount Rainier by Jean and Jacques Landry, Jacques Bergues and newsreel cameraman Charles Perryman, according to historical notes by software development specialist and climber Lowell Skoog of Seattle.
In 2003, Perryman's grandson Steve Turner contacted Lowell Skoog about this film after reading about Perryman's climb in the Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project. This led to an eight-year effort by Skoog to acquire the Perryman newsreel films from Turner for The Mountaineers based in Seattle. The project was completed in October (2011).
“This is a truly historic film,” Skoog said. “It was the first motion picture ever taken on the summit of Mount Rainier. It shows the first winter ascent of any significant peak in Washington state, and the highest no less. It is the oldest known climbing or skiing film in Washington.”
Notes about this historic ascent can be found at Alpenglow.org.
NATURE — Mount Rainier National Park ranks as “possibly the most flowery place in the world,” according to a recently published book that picks the 50 best wildflower spots in the world.
The book, “Wildflower Wonders: The 50 Best Wildflower Sites in the World,” was written by Bob Gibbons and published in November and contains 200 color photos and short write-ups on each spot.
Gibbons, a photographer and tour guide, traveled five continents and more than 20 countries, including Ireland, Turkey, South Africa, Iran and Australia to get photos for his book.
The specific site featured in the book’s photo of Mount Rainier National Park shows lupine, paintbrush and other flowers on Mazama Ridge near Paradise.
The book features sites that offer relatively easy access, a long display and a varied palette of flowers. The cover photo shows a Greek hillside covered in a rainbow of wildflowers.
In the U.S., Gibbons visits Washington, Oregon, Colorado and California. In addition to Rainier, Olympic National Park is listed among the world's top 50 wildflower havens.
If you can visit only one site in North America, make it Mount Rainier, Gibbons advises his readers, calling the park a magical place. The author also suggests nearby Chinook Pass on state Route 410.
WINTER SPORTS — Technology has made it easier than ever to monitor snow conditions for the region's mountain passes and winter sports resorts.
Click on the following links for web cam views of your favorite Washington ski area or the road to get there.
WASHINGTON Web Cams
OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY — I love this autumn photo of Mount Rainier snapped by my backcountry skiing buddy, Rick Rocheleau. Even Seattle residents tell me they can't remember seeing a hole in the clouds so perfectly poised over the state's highest peak.
NATURE — The whitebark pine is making news as a potential candidate for Endangered Species protections, and the domino impacts on species ranging from Clark's nutcrackers to grizzly bears.
The whitebark pine, a high-elevation tree, is on the decline in the West, brought down by drought, bugs and warmer temperatures, but scientists say the pines on Washington state's Mount Rainier could provide seeds for a healthier, surviving species.
Get the details in this story by Craig Welch of the Seattle Times.
NATIONAL PARKS — Mount Rainier National Park has revealed a $600,000 upgrade to the Sunrise Visitor Center for visitors to enjoy this season. Sunrise opened for the season last week.
Patti Wold, project manager, told the Tacoma News-Tribune the exhibits were developed with the help of the U.S. Geological Survey, area Indian tribes and National Park Service staff. Among the challenges were developing low-tech displays, since power at Sunrise is supplied by a generator, as well as items that can withstand the freeze-thaw cycle of life at 6,400 feet.
“One of the most interesting exhibits is an actual cutaway of the ground, a 100-inch tall column showing the layers of dirt, volcanic deposits and development of the present-day cone,” reports Jeffrey P. Mayor, the TNT's outdoor writer. “The display shows the strata of the ground going back about 8,000 years,” Wold said.
NATIONAL PARKS — Some of the biggest rock avalanches in years have been roaring off Mount Rainier the past several days, kicking up billowing clouds of dust and propelling rivers of muddy debris nearly two miles down the volcano’s flanks, according to an Associated Press report.
No one's been hurt, but climbers have had to flee certain areas.
Check out this video of a major slide this week.
Read on for details.
MOUNTAINEERING — A search for an ailing climber left high on Washington’s Mount Rainier was suspended late Tuesday due to strong winds and evidence that he likely fell 2,000 feet, the Associated Press reports.
National Park spokeswoman Lisa Lombard told The News Tribune of Tacoma that Rob Plankers, 50, of Olympia, would not have been able to survive such a fall.
An aerial search showed a 2,000-foot slide path leading down a steep ice-and-snow-covered slope from the point where Plankers was last seen, park spokeswoman Patti Wold said. The aerial search found no sign of the man, although ground searchers found some of his equipment where his companions left him, at 13,600 feet on the 14,411-foot mountain.
The operation “is now considered a body recovery,” Wold said in a statement.
Read on for details.
Dave Uberuaga (oo-buh-RAH’-guh) told park employees about the move Tuesday in an email.
The News Tribune reports Uberuaga started at Mount Rainier in 1984 and has been superintendent since 2002, except for a year-long stint in 2009 as acting superintendent at Yosemite National Park.
Mount Rainier National Park covers 235,625 arces and has a staff of about 200 people. Grand Canyon National Park covers 1.2 million acres and has 500 staffers.
NATIONAL PARKS — Mount Rainier National Park officials have given approval to convert Mount Rainier’s Carbon River Road into a 9-mile trail for hiking and biking.
The road has been closed to vehicles since it was heavily damaged in a 2006 storm. It leads to the Ipsut Creek campground, which now is only reachable by hikers or bikers.
The park service Friday also decided to convert the campground to backcountry use, according to a Tacoma News-Tribune story. When money becomes available, a new vehicle campground is planned elsewhere in the park.
Since the road was built in the 1920s, rocks and gravel from floods have raised the bed of the Carbon River by up to 31 feet, with some stretches of the road now lower than the river.