Doerte leading the group up below Panorama Point.

Camp Muir / Muir Snowfield  on Mount Rainier Mothers Day Telemark Backcountry Ski 10,188'

Trip Report
Mount Rainier National Park


May 13, 2007




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We try to do the annual Mothers Day trip to Camp Muir each year. This year we had had a high reassure moving in on Sunday so we were optimistic for a nice day. There were still big walls of snow at the Paradise Parking lot, but not very many people. Most everyone was over at their Mom's house, doing gardening, repairing her car, or riding bikes.

There were a few skiers, mostly telemarkers, and some boarders and alpine skiers. There were some hikers, and climbers. Sunscreen, as always was the order of the day. Although on ascent the sun is at our backs, the reflection off the snow is quite intense.

Visibility is essential for this trip up the Muir Snowfield. We had none, so Mike Mahanay, Doerte, Alyssa, and Beck opted to do a ski tour from Panorama Point over toward Mazama Ridge. Michael Balise and Magda Moss continued up to the Muir Snowfield. We all carried the normal emergency equipment.

Even in the best of weather it is essential to carry the appropriate gear. We spent the day with gloves, and gortex jackets. It was just cold enough to snow.

The climb to Camp Muir is a full day event that gives the skier a fantastic long run down the Muir snowfield after a long day of climbing. The climb to 10,188 feet is a challenging one!  This ski trip is wonderful in good weather and should only be done when visibility is reliable. A GPS or using wands will help if the weather turns bad while you are on the mountain, but a whiteout will not allow you to have that great day of turns you are looking for.

This trip is highly recommended for hikers, climbers, and skiers. If you have not been to Camp Muir, it should be very high on your short list for the summer. It is not a wilderness trip (unless the weather is bad) where you won't meet a soul, but the people are friendly, and having a good time. The views are some of the best there is! 

Mike Beck and Alyssa checking out the route.

All they could see was white!

 The snow was in excellent condition! The snow was packed and firm underneath with 4-8 inches of soft new snow on top.

Mount Rainier is probably my favorite place to ski. There is so much terrain to ski and the high elevation ensures good snow (with the possible exception of August and September)

Alyssa, Doerte, and Beck near Edith Creek at our lunch stop. 

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier is the most hazardous volcano in the Cascades in terms of its potential for magma water interaction and sector collapse, and major eruptions or debris flows even without eruption. The last eruption was about 150 years ago.

In 1857, a well documented attempt to climb Mount Rainier was made by an Army lieutenant, August Valentine Kautz. He was stationed at Fort Steilacoom and had the mountain practically in his backyard. He developed a great desire to reach it's summit and with some companions hired a Nisqually Indian as their guide and headed for the foot of the Nisqually Glacier in July. After 6 days of traveling through forest and thicket, they finally began their climb up toward the summit. By the eighth day, Wahpowety the Nisqually guide, was suffering from snow blindness. His companions gave out as well, but Kautz went forward and continued until he reached what was probably the 14,000 feet level. He was about 400 feet shy of the summit. It was a great disappointment, however he proved that legends of Indians climbing Mount Rainier could be true. Mount Rainier could be climbed.

In 1890, Fay Fuller became the first woman to climb Mount Rainier. The interest of climbing the mountain, enjoying the scenery and waters continued to grow. The culmination of this increasing interest came on 02 March 1899, when President McKinley signed the act establishment of Mount Rainier National Park, the nation's fifth national park.


Finally some turns that were not in the fog!

Doerte enjoying fresh tracks!

A well done teleturn is a beautiful thing!

In spite of the poor visibility we had the maximum fun!  Sign me up for the next one!

Beck making some perfect teleturns turns!

Oh, it feels so good!

Meanwhile, and a couple thousand feet above our fun were Michael and Magda on wonderful snow and sunny blue skies!


Michael and Magda at Camp Muir


On the Muir Snowfield.

We had six hours of touring, 6 miles, and 2,000' of skiing.
Michael and Magda had 4,600' of skiing!  8.2 miles, 4,600'  elevation gain.

The activities described in this web site are potentially dangerous. Canyoneering, rock climbing, and mountaineering involve unavoidable risks including the risk of serious bodily injury and death. All forms of wilderness recreation have a higher level of risk than most ordinary activities. The owner and publisher of this web site do not assume any responsibility or liability for your safety. Those who use this information, and those who venture onto mountainous terrain, do so at their own risk. Disclaimer

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