Mike Mahanay having fun coming down the Muir Snowfield!  I can think of very few things that are as much fun as skiing from Camp Muir! Photo by Mike Beck.

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

Trip Report
Mount Rainier National Park


May 14, 2006




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We try to do the annual Mothers Day trip to Camp Muir each year. This year we had fabulous weather and wonderful spring snow. There were still big walls of snow at the Paradise Parking lot, but not very many people.

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. Even with our perfect conditions we still carried emergency equipment. We must always be willing to turn back if the weather deteriorates.

Even in the best of weather it is essential to carry the appropriate gear. Wind or storms can come up quickly. In emergency situations help can be a long way off.

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 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 Mike Mahanay with the Tatoosh in the back. That is Mount Adams on the horizon.

We skinned up from the Paradise Parking lot all the way to Camp Muir. The snow was packed and firm and there was an excellent boot track all the way to Camp Muir. There was a light breeze that kept it from getting too hot.

Word on the mountain was that the routes were in very good condition, with the exception of the Ingraham Direct. Many parties summited over the weekend.

The ski down was awesome! Noted as being one of the best ski runs in America, we had softening snow on a firm base.

We have made this trip many times, and it just keeps getting better.

Doerte on the Muir Snowfield.

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.

The recently renovated Muir Hut. Looks kind of like a castle. They remodeled the inside too. It even has an exhaust fan to get the moisture out. If you stay in the hut, bring your ear plugs!

An absolutely beautiful day! We could see all the way to Mount Jefferson in Oregon, and the air was crystal clear. We watched Mount Saint Helens closely but didn't detect any new burst of steam or ash. 

Paradise Lodge.

Some years a person can ski off the top of the roof!


The historic Paradise Lodge was built in 1917, has 118 guest rooms, a dining room, lounge, and gift shop. In 1919, Hans Fraehnke, a German carpenter, designed and built much of the decorative woodwork that exists today, including a rustic piano and a 14 foot grandfather clock. My favorite part is the huge fireplaces at each end of the lobby, and the big comfortable chairs to sit in and dream of telemark turns on perfect corn snow!

The Tatoosh!


There were fantastic views of the Tatoosh Range. Nice skiing there too!

The Tatoosh Traverse is a famous but difficult trip that includes summiting 7 peaks.

4,600' of Spring skiing! 6.5 hours round trip, 8.2 miles, 4,600'  elevation gain. The Mount Adams trip is scheduled for July 02. This is an excellent warm up.

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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