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Ascent to Mount Rainier-Muir West Chute on 2002-04-20

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Glenn Morrison
Date:Saturday, April 20, 2002
Ascent Type:No Summit Goal
Point Reached:Mount Rainier - Muir West Chute
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:10380 ft / 3163 m

Ascent Trip Report

Our goal was to ski over 6000 vertical feet, from above Camp Muir down to the Nisqually Bridge at 3913 feet. I meet Glenn in Ashford, and we stashed my car at the bridge before driving up to Paradise and starting the long slog up to Camp Muir. It was a nice, sunny, day, and it took us 4 1/2 hours to get up to Muir, from 9:30 AM to 2 PM. After a rest we hiked up another 300 feet up the ridge leading west from Camp Muir to the top of a chute, and got our skis ready for the descent.

The snow was pretty good--slush on top of hard ice higher up, but beatuiful corn for most of the Muir snowfield. At 8200' we took the steep chute that leads down to the Nisqually Glacier (nice snow) and then headed down the Nisqually. However, below 6200' we skied right into a very thick fog bank and could barely see anything--including ice cliffs and crevasses that suddenly appeared in front of us. We tried skiing down more, but by 5750' we realized we had to retreat back up to Glacier Vista. Using a compass course, we headed east until the we hit the familiar moraine, and then we climbed up 200' out of the fog to Glacier Vista.

We then skied the busy and familiar terrain back to Paradise. This was foggy, too, but we knew this area so well it was not an issue. Disappointed, we drove down to my car at the bridge and headed for home.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:5546 ft / 1689 m
    Elevation Loss:5546 ft / 1689 m
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Skis, Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:4960 ft / 1511 m
    Route:Muir Snowfield
    Trailhead:Paradise  5420 ft / 1652 m
    Time Up:5 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:5546 ft / 1689 m
    Extra Gain:586 ft / 178 m
    Route:Nisqually Glacier
    Trailhead:Paradise  5420 ft / 1652 m
    Time Down:3 Hours 0 Minutes



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