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#865738 - 02/04/09 06:31 PM [TR] Mt. Rainier - Fuhrer Finger ski 2/3/2009
danhelmstadter Offline
addicted to

Registered: 08/22/07
Posts: 409
TRs: 88 Photos: 22
Loc: pnw
Trip: Mt. Rainier - Fuhrer Finger ski

Date: 2/3/2009

Trip Report:
Drew, Hannah, and I skiied Rainier from Columbia Crest to Nisqually Bridge yesterday.
We left Paradise around midnight (after a 4 hour sleepless attempt at sleeping - due in part to one of the notorious paradise foxes harrasing me in my fitful sleep attempt, they apparently left Drew and Hannah alone.) Skinning up to Pan Point - the snow had a interesting zipper-crust like quality but the zipper crust was actually 2cm+ thick - this overlayed a m/f-ish crust layer which overlayed a thickish layer of dry snow - we found this snow quality up to about 7k - and we suspected it to turn to mank with sunshine - however it never morphed into mank, and instead became a corn-like ski surface in the afternoon...
We found hardish styrofoam or dragon-skin as Drew described it - in the Finger. At around 11k (towrds the top of the narrow part of the Finger) dawn began to light the east:

Drew and Hannah at a col like feature around 11k in the finger area

The wind also began to magnify the cold cold air, and we were looking for a rest area to refuel for an hour or so out of the wind which was cruely numbing us. We futilely tried several areas, then Drew scoped a rocky "cave" type feature which turned out to be money.

As we continued up, we found more and more soft snow, so donning the skins was an obvious choice to negotiate the upper Nisqually Glacier (which is usually heavily crevassed) where we found mostly wind packed pow - intersperesed with the occasional difficult skinning knar.

The wind grew as we ascended, and we were being knocked around as the crater came into view. We skinned funky rimed windpack / windboard / and rime ice to the crater in HIGH winds.

Standing on Columbia Crest without being blown off was a difficult feat. Thankfully it was relitevely warm and sunny - 20dgish - otherwise - we would have needed warmer wear...

Skiing down was an deeply enjoyable change from skiing up - even though the first 1000' or so was sustrugified/rimed mank. The Upper Nisqually was mostly ripper wind packed pow, then firmer corneskish/windboard snow nearing and through the finger - all of wich was very smooth and easy turning.

Surpriseingly we found good to great snow on the Wilson Glacier:

Amar Andalkar had seen us earlier in the day from the Muir snowfield, and he decided to ski the Nisqually Chute (which looked like ripper corn) to try and catch us as we skiied down the lower Nisqually towrd the bridge. He successfully and unexpectedly intercepted us around the base of the Nisqually Chute, and we all enjoyed slightly sloppy-wet-snow turns down to the bridge. Where after a not-too-long-wait Hannah and Amar scored a ride up to their cars, and in no time we were off to much needed greasy food and beer.

Thanks Hannah, Drew, and Amar!

Edited by danhelmstadter (02/05/09 07:08 PM)

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#865746 - 02/04/09 07:08 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier - Fuhrer Finger ski 2/3/2009 [Re: danhelmstadter]
jon Offline
kipping pull-up specialist

Registered: 10/04/00
Posts: 5901
TRs: 4 Photos: 14
Loc: Plabville
There can only be three Stuntaz.

#865767 - 02/04/09 08:57 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier - Fuhrer Finger ski 2/3/2009 [Re: jon]
shortstow Offline

Registered: 12/09/06
Posts: 125
TRs: 0 Photos: 3
Loc: PDX or some grid cord
congats on getting out there
see you on the snow

#865798 - 02/05/09 02:33 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier - Fuhrer Finger ski 2/3/2009 [Re: shortstow]
powdherb Offline

Registered: 04/05/08
Posts: 58
TRs: 26 Photos: 0
Good ski. Some fall line in there.

#865803 - 02/05/09 06:45 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier - Fuhrer Finger ski 2/3/2009 [Re: powdherb]
stinkyclimber Offline

Registered: 12/14/01
Posts: 329
TRs: 1 Photos: 0
Loc: Just above the belay, farting
Nice. You guys are the Washington State version of Inuit - you seem to have about 100 words for different types of snow. "windboardish" "dragon-skin" "corneskish" "difficult skinning gnar." I like.

#865808 - 02/05/09 07:55 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier - Fuhrer Finger ski 2/3/2009 [Re: danhelmstadter]
Amar_Andalkar Offline

Registered: 02/25/05
Posts: 24
TRs: 2 Photos: 0
Loc: Seattle, WA
Great job, summiting in 60-70mph winds with skis is no small feat. And congrats on a real winter ascent in wintry conditions, not the summer-like winter ascents we were having a couple weeks ago. It was fun to track your climb all morning from below via the magic of a 560mm image-stabilized zoom lens (Canon SX10IS, a great camera). And then fantastic to join you for the ski out to the bridge!

Since you don't have a group summit shot, here's one I took down on the Nisqually Glacier, and another at the bridge:

All smiles on the Nisqually Glacier, with the Fuhrer Finger looming directly above the happy trio.

The Nisqually Bridge, over 10500 vertical feet down from the summit.

The new year is barely a month old, and 5 people have already skied from the summit to Nisqually Bridge, looks like we're headed for a record year! In case people here are interested, here's a link to our trip from a couple weeks ago, I posted a TR on TAY and Dave Brown wrote one on TGR. I was planning to cross-post a full TR here earlier, but never got around to converting the TAY version:

Juneuary 17-18, 2009, Mt Rainier, Summit to Bridge via Fuhrer Finger

#865868 - 02/05/09 11:53 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier - Fuhrer Finger ski 2/3/2009 [Re: Amar_Andalkar]
AllYouCanEat Offline
addicted to

Registered: 01/09/01
Posts: 587
TRs: 0 Photos: 0
Loc: Tacoma, WA, US
Knowing you guys were up there climbing was brutal. I had a great view from my office window! I really want to ski fuhrer thumb! Nice group pic. Its great you have a new camera, too, dan.

Edited by AllYouCanEat (02/05/09 11:55 AM)

#865908 - 02/05/09 02:14 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier - Fuhrer Finger ski 2/3/2009 [Re: stinkyclimber]
slogon Offline

Registered: 11/30/03
Posts: 69
TRs: 0 Photos: 0
Loc: In the tent, OR
Originally Posted By: stinkyclimber
Nice. You guys are the Washington State version of Inuit - you seem to have about 100 words for different types of snow. "windboardish" "dragon-skin" "corneskish" "difficult skinning gnar." I like.

2nd that. I particularly liked: "sustrugified/rimed mank".
...packing my bags for the Misty Mountains...

#865935 - 02/05/09 04:20 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier - Fuhrer Finger ski 2/3/2009 [Re: slogon]
To_The_Top Offline


Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1609
TRs: 1 Photos: 40
Loc: Seattle
Say no to slide alder

#866065 - 02/06/09 11:27 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier - Fuhrer Finger ski 2/3/2009 [Re: To_The_Top]
spicoli11 Offline
old hand

Registered: 04/01/05
Posts: 722
TRs: 0 Photos: 9
Loc: Locked in
Nice work...would have loved to have the days off. Jealous.

#866234 - 02/07/09 07:04 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier - Fuhrer Finger ski 2/3/2009 [Re: spicoli11]
musky333 Offline

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 77
TRs: 0 Photos: 0
Loc: wisconsin
Amar, great pics and TR on your links.Enjoyed your pics from your July 2008 Rainier climb, too. Keep them coming.


#866631 - 02/10/09 07:39 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier - Fuhrer Finger ski 2/3/2009 [Re: musky333]
grenalds Offline

Registered: 07/15/08
Posts: 31
TRs: 0 Photos: 0
Loc: Wasangeles
Sounds like a great day out. I hope to make it up to the park next month! Nice TR.
carries his courage in his rucksack...

#866672 - 02/10/09 09:48 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier - Fuhrer Finger ski 2/3/2009 [Re: grenalds]
thelawgoddess Offline

Registered: 04/06/01
Posts: 6215
TRs: 2 Photos: 47
Loc: huntsville, al
Oh, sweetness! Fantastic photos. I am so envious - you guys are doing what I wish I was doing. Good on y'all for gettin' after it. :-)

Edited by thelawgoddess (02/10/09 09:53 AM)
"life without passion is life without depth."~j.hollis


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