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Boobler33

Ptarmigan ridge- Rainier early season

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Hi all,

Im looking at an early season attempt of the Ptarmigan ridge on Rainier. Specifically the first week in May.

I've never been on Rainier that early and im wondering what you all are thinking about such an attempt. Any weather beta or advice for that time of year? Any advice would help.

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Hi, welcome to the forum.  The weather in May on Rainier is fickle.  I've certainly been stormed off in May.  The best weather for Rainier is typically the end of July and August.  Unfortunately this is past the season for the Curtis, Liberty and Ptarmigan routes. Too late in the season and you won't have enough snow/ice on the route.  Too early and you're wading in chest deep snow if the weather allows an attempt.  If you're traveling from out of the area, it's a huge challenge to line up conditions, partners and weather.  My suggestion is to have a solid plan B east of the Cascade Mountain crest like Mt. Stuart or something in the Stuart Range.

It's also unlikely the roads to access the Mowich Lake and White River trailheads will be open in early May to further complicate it. The park has to plow them out each year.

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We've had a good bit of fresh snow lately which could result in a wallowfest and/or avalanche hazard.

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7 hours ago, Phil K said:

We've had a good bit of fresh snow lately which could result in a wallowfest and/or avalanche hazard.

his plan is still 3 weeks out and a lot can happen condition wise in the mean time.  winds from north (rare) could scour all than new snow pretty quick.  a bit of warm and cold temps could make it in good nick shape.  But you are probably more right than wrong on the wallowfest conditions.

 

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White River Road typically does not open until Memorial Day WE, so that will add ~ 11 miles to the approach round trip. Biking that section speeds things up a bit. I would personally wait for the first good weather window after the road opens. 

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