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Ski Descent of Rainer


Original Post
Hayden Brown · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

Hello Pacific Northwesterners, 

I am looking at doing a ski descent of Mount Rainer. I've seen that skiing down from Camp Muir is doable. Is skiing from the summit a feasible thing? has anyone done this? Any beta would be greatly appreciated. 

Thanks, 

A kook from montana. 

Ross D · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 0

Skied from abut 13600' on the Ingraham glacier in May of 2016. Should have been a day earlier. There was a very large crevasse to navigate around (we didn't). We skied all the way to the parking lot except for Cathedral gap was too rocky so we downclimbed.

Fuhrer finger is the common ski line, but the entrance had melted out before we tried. Lots of people (whole families) climb up to Camp Muir and ski down just as a day ski tour.

Skiing the Edmonds/Winthrop glaciers is doable to ski from the summit.

The new Rainier guide by Mike Gauthier has good info on ski descents. I have a copy, and I live in Bozeman.

BrokenChairs BrettC · · Sultan, WA · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 235
Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 175
Hayden Brown · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0
Kyle Tarry wrote:

Skiing on Rainier is very common.  There are many routes: 

http://www.skimountaineer.com/CascadeSki/CascadeSki.php?name=Rainier

http://www.alpenglow.org/ski-history/topos/mt-rainier.html

I saw that second link of the ski history, I am wondering if thats the only lines that have been skied, and if so then it should be easy to put up a first decent right? 


Matthew Tangeman · · Bellingham, WA · Joined May 2015 · Points: 130
Hayden Brown wrote:

I saw that second link of the ski history, I am wondering if thats the only lines that have been skied, and if so then it should be easy to put up a first decent right? 


While it may not be completely comprehensive it's pretty close. Maybe we're looking at the photos with different eyes but... how many "easy" unskied lines are you seeing in those photos? You can't just ski a slightly different line down the same glacier and call it a first descent.

Hayden Brown · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

Matt, 

The lines I was seeing were lines that would involved raps, the reason I said easy was because of the amount of lines, not because of the skiing was easy. Let me draw a line down a certain aspect and you tell me if you think it 'counts' or not. 

Hayden Brown · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

 Matt here is an example of what Im saying in green. Not saying it is what I would do, but would this be considered a new line


Matthew Tangeman · · Bellingham, WA · Joined May 2015 · Points: 130
Hayden Brown wrote:

 Matt here is an example of what Im saying in green. Not saying it is what I would do, but would this be considered a new line


Ah, gotcha, sorry if I sounded a little harsh. I noticed that one as well. I suppose it would be. I haven't been on that part of Rainier before but if I'm imagining the scale right that could even be more than one rap over that cliff band and then there's the possible schrund. But that face does look nice!

Hayden Brown · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0
Matthew Tangeman wrote:

Ah, gotcha, sorry if I sounded a little harsh. I noticed that one as well. I suppose it would be. I haven't been on that part of Rainier before but if I'm imagining the scale right that could even be more than one rap over that cliff band and then there's the possible schrund. But that face does look nice!

Oh im not saying it wouldn't be slide for life, butt puckering fun, but it seems as if it could be done!

ChuckSchick · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 0

The Finger is the king line for the everyman. No raps or tech tools necessary and only a short section of no-fall. If you catch it in condition it's mind bending fun. From the summit to the entrance at about 13k is teeth rattling skimo but once you hit the corn fields it's just dreamy turns forever. Bonus points for skiing to the bridge and thumbing it back to Paradise. Gives you about 10k of vertical. Start early because that side of the mountain heats up fast and you'll be water skiing most of the lower section. 

Cor · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 1,460

Super fun 10k ski descent done early May on a good snow year. (Last year...)

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,146
Hayden Brown wrote:

I saw that second link of the ski history, I am wondering if thats the only lines that have been skied, and if so then it should be easy to put up a first decent right? 


FWIW Lowell's page is quite update (Though the page date is not).

Hayden Brown · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0
Cor wrote:

Super fun 10k ski descent done early May on a good snow year. (Last year...

Think she’ll go this year? 


Erroneous Publicus · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 5

Ha!  Talk is cheap, especially on this site.  Why don't you see if you can actually summit this rig before you start spraying about skiing The Willis Wall.  You'd be lucky to pull of the Emmons on your first attempt.  And the FF is not the best route for a first timer (notwithstanding that many first timers make it their choice).  It's got serious rockfall and complex crevasse negotiation challenges.  Just a few years ago an "expert skier" from Utah was on that route, unroped, and got way ahead of his team.  Decided to take of his skis to wait for them to catch up.  First step was straight though a thin bridge, to his death. The Emmons in June or early July is your best bet for success.  Good luck!

Cor · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 1,460

I don’t live there to say what the pack is like, but I think it’s a deep year again.

Yeah, be careful on all Rainier.  I fell in to my arms.  The Finger might be good for everyone, but it’s still a big enough deal that you could get messed up on..

Jordan W · · NC · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 30

 I was going to jokingly put up a picture of Thermogenesis... 

 You should be pretty familiar with the mountain/route before thinking about skiing off it. The last time I was at Rainier in July of last year, two people died within a week or two of each other... One died on the Emmons around 13k feet and the other punched through Pebble Creek on the Snowfield. It can be very hard to see crevasses on the Emmons, even when they're wide open.

Seriously though, we trekked out to the toe of Lib Ridge on the Carbon, and the Willis Wall is one of the scariest things I've ever seen.That shit is as serious as it gets. The guys who play over there are badasses.

Hayden Brown · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

after some more research of the Willis wall, all I have to say is FUCK. That side of the mountain looks burley as hell 

Jason Killgore · · boulder, co · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 165
Hayden Brown wrote:

 Matt here is an example of what Im saying in green. Not saying it is what I would do, but would this be considered a new line


There was a track on your green line last memorial day while we were skiing Lib Ridge (one of the red lines). I think that would be considered more of a minor variation to liberty ridge and would be chosen more because of conditions on the other side of thumb rock versus any pursuit of first descent glory. In general, Rainier has been quite heavily explored on skis. Many of the classic mountaineering routes have seen ptex. I think there are a few noteworthy options on the North Side, but they require a thick snow pack and will have a lot of objective danger.

Jplotz · · Wenatchee, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 1,170

Also no harm in just repeating routes, like Liberty Ridge or Edmonds Headwall. 

Do a repeat of this monster day on Rainier: 

http://kristoffererickson.com/blog/2009/9/20/mt-rainier-and-adams-link-ups.html

Jason Killgore · · boulder, co · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 165
Jplotz wrote:

Also no harm in just repeating routes, like Liberty Ridge or Edmonds Headwall. 

Do a repeat of this monster day on Rainier: 

http://kristoffererickson.com/blog/2009/9/20/mt-rainier-and-adams-link-ups.html

Absolutely. I thought LR was the finest ski descent I've been on. I cant imagine a better run in the Lower 48.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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