Ascent of Steamboat Prow on 2006-07-02

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Glenn Morrison
Date:Sunday, July 2, 2006
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Steamboat Prow
    Elevation:9720 ft / 2962 m

Ascent Trip Report

Glenn and I met in Enumclaw at about 5:35-5:40 AM, and after transfer of gear and getting breakfast in the Safeway, I drove us to the White River Campground by 7 AM. We lashed our skis to our daypacks and we were hiking up through the forest by 7:20 AM or so. I had my ski boots inside my pack and hiked in sneakers, while Glenn opted to hike in his telemark boots on the dry trail.

We made good time to Glacier Basin, seeing alomst no one on the trail. After climbing a dusty moraine we hit the snow and started toiling up the "Wedge" to the steep snowfields at the base of the Inter Glacier. We found good staircases in the snow made by the hordes that routinely climbed to Rainier's summit via the Emmons Glacier route.

Glenn was in shape from doing Liberty Ridge the previous weekend, and I kept up pretty well. We took our first big rest at about 8200 feet, where I changed into my ski boots to help in step-kicking. From there it was about another hour to the top of Steamboat Prow, an awesome viewpoint at 9700 feet. Rainier and the Emmons with its yawning chasms were in our face, and we could see the ant-like climbers going up and down the Emmons. The tents of Camp Schurman were 200 feet below.

It was cloudy over the summit of Rainier, and sometimes over us, and we rested for an hour and ate lunch on the rocks. Views were expansive and it was a pleasant spot to relax. The snow of the Inter Glacier began just below, so when it was time to go we packed up and soon had our skis on.

We took off down the slightly slushy snow at about 1:25 PM and it took us about 30 minutes to ski down 3500 vertical feet, almost all of it fall line. There were some areas of incipient crevasses we skimmed over, and lines of climbers slogging up to Camp Schurman to avoid, but other than that it was a blast to ski the moderately steep semi-corn.

We avoided the dusty moraine by staying on the snow on the south side of the Inter Fork, but when the snow ran out at about 6200 feet we had to cross the raging torrent by leaping across it at a point where it was a bit braided. A couple of other skiers were just ahead of us and they found the best crossing point.

We put our skis on our packs (and I my boots, too) and then we hiked the easy 1 1/2 hours downhill from Glacier Basin to our car. There were tons of people on the trail now, several amused or interested in the sight of haggard skiers hiking down a trail in the July heat.

Glenn and I were back at White River Campground by about 3:30 PM, Enumclaw by 4:30 or so, and I was home by 6. It had been a great day of summer skiing--3500 vertical feet of velvety fall-line snow in a spectacular setting.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:5420 ft / 1652 m
    Route:Inter Glacier
    Trailhead:White River Campground  4300 ft / 1310 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Skis, Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
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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