A view of the gentle slope of the Muir Snowfield from near Panorama Point.

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

Trip Report
Mount Rainier National Park

 

June 19, 2005

 




 

 

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With the Summer Solstice only hours away, it seemed like a perfect day for a summer ski trip. Driving to Mount Rainier there was not a cloud in the sky. The morning was warm, and there was only a very slight breeze.

There were a few skiers, mostly randonee but there were a couple of telemarkers in addition to us. Lots of RMI climbers, private party climbers, and hikers too. Sunscreen, as always was the order of the day.

Visibility is essential for this trip up the Muir Snowfield. Tragically, three lives were lost in this area in the last few weeks. Two on the Muir Snowfield, and one climber somewhere above the Nisqually Ledges. We must always be willing to turn back if the weather deteriorates.

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 10,800 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 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 fun. And the views! Woohoo!

Doerte skinning up above Pebble Creek. Part of the Tatoosh Range and Mount Saint Helens in the background.  I booted up. Doerte used less energy with the skins.

That is Mount Saint Helens on the horizon.

We were on mostly trail until Pebble Creek! Above Pebble Creek Doerte put on her skins. Mike and another guy continued to boot. Mike Beck says skinning is 30% more efficient. Doerte worked a lot less hard than I did to get to Camp Muir.  The snow was packed and firm and there was an excellent boot track all the way to Camp Muir.

Lunch time at Camp Muir. There was plenty of new snow.

There was no wind, blue skies, and warm temperatures.

The Park Service is remodeling the Muir Hut. Now it only sleeps 20 vs 30 before the remodel!

Doerte set a blistering pace right from Paradise so we were able to pass most everyone and arrived at Camp Muir with just a few people there! There were only three climbers tents and a couple of groups in the newly remodeled Muir Hut. The Park Service moved the bunks to the North wall, redid the roof, and added a couple of ski lights. The only drawback that I could see is that the capacity is much less that before. The Camp Muir Hut was built in 1916 as a climbers shelter and named to commemorate the recently deceased naturalist and Sierra Club founder, John Muir.

On August 15, 1888 Major E. S. Ingraham led a party of nine to the summit. In this group was P. E. Van Trump, who was again making another visit to the top of Rainier, and John Muir, the famous naturalist for whom Camp Muir was named. It was on the sheltered pumice slope where the government cabins now stand that the party spent the night on their way to the summit, and the name Camp Muir was given to this placed by Ingraham on that day in honor of tine famous naturalist and writer. Major Ingraham later became President of the Washington Alpine Club and served for many years for the Club.

We saw many descending climbers beaming with delight at their successful summit. There was a good route in place across the Cowlitz Glacier. 

Doerte and Mike at Camp Muir

There was plenty of recent snow, with the consistency of a heavy whip cream. We were able to ski fresh tracks all the way to Pebble Creek. It was a great run! I can't wait to do it again!

Mike having fun.

If I had to give a definition of fun, I would have to say, "Skiing from Camp Muir!"

An absolutely beautiful day! We could see all the way to Mount Jefferson in Oregon, and the air was crystal clear. There was no better place to be!

Doerte having fun and making some very nice turns!

 

At Pebble Creek we again put our skis on our backs and hiked out.

Doerte just below Pebble Creek.

There were fantastic views of the Tatoosh Range. Have you ever done the Tatoosh Traverse?

4,600' of June skiing! 6.5 hours round trip, 8.2 miles, 4,600'  elevation gain.

What next? Mount Adams on the 4th of July weekend!


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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