Ascent to Mount Rainier-Lower Wilson Glacier on 2005-12-10

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Kenji K.
Jiri R.
Bill T.
Wendell C.
Laura S.
Dick L.
Date:Saturday, December 10, 2005
Ascent Type:No Summit Goal
Point Reached:Mount Rainier - Lower Wilson Glacier
    Elevation:7340 ft / 2237 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was a backcountry ski trip run by the Mountaineers. We parked at the Nisqually Bridge on the road to Paradise, and started off bushwhacking through heavy brush along the edge of the former glacier trough. Shortly Kenji led us steeply uphill into thick forest--we had to give our kick-turns a good work-out as we crossed logs and rocks. Most of us took off our skis and hiked briefly. Great fun! Laura had a ski that delaminated and almost broke entirely in half.

After a nice view of rarely-seen Tato Falls the slope became less steep and we could skin uphill easily among the old-growth trees. Another steep stretch brought us into more open meadows. After lunch at 1 PM the going was nice, easy, steady uphill as we left trees behind us. The snow was very sticky and those of us without "glopstopper" skin wax found huge masses of snow stuck to our ski bases. This was a very fit group and I lagged a bit as we passed 7000'.

We stopped at about 7200' and decided to try to get a bit higher to our right. Wendell and I, both tired and lagging, stopped at about 7340', below the others at about 7400'. We all put on our skis and found the skiing pretty good by any backcountry standard. The unusually warm day left the snow high up almost corn-like, and down a bit it was heavier but still fun to turn in. Even Laura, with only 1 1/2 skis, was keeping up well.

Back in the treeline area we traversed right a bit and then had to negotiate a wide, steep slope full of avalanche debris and "death cookies". By now the snow was real "Cascade concrete". We next skiied down through the trees, fun as long as they were widely spaced. We picked up our upward tracks, roller-coasted though the forest, and came to a boulder field area.

Kenji led us down another way to avoid the steep trees we hit on the way up. It got dark by 4:30 or so, and soon the terrain was steep, forested, and over logs, rocks, and small cliffs protuding from the sparse snow. We all broke out our headlamps and 6 of us elected to put our skis on our pack and hike out--Kenji and Dick somehow got down to the road wearing the skis! We did avoid the bushwhack along the Nisqually and were all back at the cars by 5:10 PM.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3427 ft / 1044 m
    Trailhead:Nisqually Bridge  3913 ft / 1192 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Bushwhack, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Headlamp, Skis, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Clear
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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