Ascent to Mount Rainier-Camp Muir on 2015-11-28

Climber: Greg Slayden

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, November 28, 2015
Ascent Type:No Summit Goal
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Point Reached:Mount Rainier - Camp Muir
    Elevation:10100 ft / 3078 m

Ascent Trip Report

I was hoping for a weather inversion, with warm temperatures at high elevations as the cold blanketed the lowlands, a pattern that often occurs during northwest winters. But despite clear weather, the inversion effect was pretty weak, and it was quite cold and windy at 10,000 feet at Camp Muir. The snow was mostly hard windslab with patches of bulletproof blue ice in the area of Pebble Creek--very slippery while skinning uphill with no crampons, and almost rattling my teeth out their sockets on the way down. Good thing I learned to ski on the east coast ice.

After cranking up to Muir, I hung out in the public hut for a while to warm up and eat--outside it was pretty frigid and miserable. The parties that had spent the night there had all bailed on their summit attempts. It was so icy that it was hard to even get my skis on just below the hut. But the top 2000 feet of the snowfield was OK skiing on hard windslab, with foot-high sastrugi fields the main obstacles.

Below Pebble Creek I got a bit disoriented, purposely not using a map or GPS in order to hone my navigational instincts. Turns out they did need some help. I missed the standard Panorama Point ramp and took an alternate route down some steep gullies to the Edith Creek drainage, and then did not realize that I was east of Alta Vista. I finally broke out the GPS and had to hike down a steep cliffy area to get to the closed Paradise Road and then trudge uphill 100 feet on the road back to the parking lot. I got to explore a little new terrain, anyway.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4780 ft / 1456 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4780 ft / 1456 m
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Skis, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cold, Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4680 ft / 1426 m
    Route:Muir Snowfield
    Start Trailhead:Paradise  5420 ft / 1652 m
    Time:4 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4780 ft / 1456 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 4680 ft / 1426 m; Extra: 100 ft / 30m
    Gain on way out:100 ft / 30 m
    Route:Muir Snowfield
    End Trailhead:Paradise  5420 ft / 1652 m
    Time:1 Hours 45 Minutes

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