Spring skiing at Mt Rainier

FasterSkierMay 15, 2004

Mt Rainier has been the training ground for the first American ascents of
Everest and K2. Skiing Mt Rainier usually brings to mind heavy alpine
touring or telemark gear. On April 25th having dispaired at low quality of
the snow at lower elevations, two of us Seattle skiers have gone to explore
how far 4 cm wide racing boards would take us. The answer: to about 7000 ft,
or 2000 feet up from Paradise Inn. We arrived to 145 inch base with about a
foot of new snow. The mountain is located 3 hours away from Seattle, so an
early start is mandated in order to finish before the hot sun melts the
crust. It is quite possible to combine skating with alpine or telemark in
one trip; one can ski XC until the snow gets too soft for this gear, then
switch to more substantial skis, hike up to Camp Muir at 10,000 ft and rip a
5000 ft descent before dinner.


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