Telemarkers with the Nisqually Glacier behind them (to the left)

Camp Muir / Muir Snowfield Backcountry Ski 10,188'

Mount Rainier National Park


September 19, 2004

"It was beautiful.  Foggy and drizzly to about 7000' but sunny and still all the way to camp.  Snow was stiff whipped cream." Bill DeYoung



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We got a late start. Doerte and I left the Paradise parking lot at 10:30 am. The parking lot was as empty as I have ever seen it. It was cold and wet, with new snow overnight.

We started up the Skyline Trail, carrying our skis. Everyone we met was optimistic that the weather would improve during the course of the day. At Pebble Creek we took a short break, and then got out the sunglasses, and put on some sunscreen. It was beginning to look like the sun might stay out.

Pebble Creek!

Lots of new snow. Most people turned around here.

Above Pebble Creek we were able to put on the skins. Mike Beck says it is easier and faster with the skins than hiking.

It became extremely hot with the sun out. We stripped down to t-shirts and trudged on. We saw a few parties of skiers come by, Telemarkers, randonee and some alpine. We became concerned about having enough water in the heat. We added snow to our water bottles and ate snow to cool off.

Almost to Camp Muir! 

There was about two feet of heavy new snow.


We had Camp Muir almost to ourselves. There were a couple of guys working on the Ranger Hut, and a couple more sitting in the RMI Hut relaxing, but no one else. There was no route in place across the Cowlitz Glacier. It looked like the climbing season is over. It was still warm out.

The Park Service is doing some remodeling of he Muir Hut and it was closed.

As Doerte and I left Camp Muir, the sun went away, and the clouds moved in. The good visibility that the skiers had earlier disappeared. We skied into the fog! The snow was heavy mashed potatoes and rather difficult to ski, especially in the fog. We did get in a few good turns as we made our way down. Lots of fun!

Doerte and Mike, almost ready to head down from Camp Muir as the clouds move in!

3000' of September skiing on new snow! 6 hours round trip, 8.2 miles, 4,600'  elevation gain.

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