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barjor

Questions about Camp Muir-going 11/19/2004

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Camp Muir-

 

going 11/19/2004

 

questions

Hey

Going up to Muir for the first time this weekend and I have a couple silly question. Is there snow at Paradise trail head? Can I get away with a 2wd car with no chains or should I take the 4wd gas guzzler?

 

I was hoping to start pretty late, 7ish or so. Will that cause me any problems with the snow / falling rocks? Should I bring snow shoes or is crampons enough?

 

Any special dangers I should be aware of or is the standard route fairly safe this time?

Edited by To_The_Top

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dont know about snow at the TH, but the road is regularly plowed and sanded for the hordes for tourists, so I wouldnt worry overly much.

 

You WILL have to contend with winter hours for Longmire gate, however. Just be aware that you might not be able to get there at the "crack of dawn"

 

Snow, falling rocks: generally you might bring snowshoes for the travel below Panorama Point, but above that you usually dont need them.

 

The very special danger is white out conditions above treeline. If you have never been up there before and you are going with less than great weather, take a map and compass and altimiter, or a GPS unit. Once you've been there a few times you can work your way down even in low vis conditions, but highly UNRECOMMENDED even for the most experienced.

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There is some snow at the trailhead but it is patchy from there to Pebble Creek. Bring snowshoes or crampons, there was a little bit of ice this weekend on the snowfield.

 

Road to Paradise was clear (this can change quickly).

 

The gate at Longmire may not be open until 9am, call ahead to find out.

 

GPS - Wands - map and compass - bring one bring all if the weather looks bad.

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call 360.569.2211 for road and weather conditions

 

today they said snow above ~5500

 

down to possible ~3000 on thursday

 

Snowshoes might help. Crampons should be unecessary. They do close the gate in the evening. They have some maps(not good ones) with compass coordinates at the entrance.

 

I might check it out tomorrow, so check back for more info tomorrow night possibly.

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generally in the wintertime there is a ranger that stops all cars going up (usually by the nisqually bridge) and checks to see if you either have 4xd or chains. I've seen cars get turned around and sent home before cause they didn't have chains, so you might want to check on that to see if they'll be enforcing that policy this weekend.

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Beware of the wiley "bait and switch" ranger. Even if a "chains required" sign isn't posted at the Longmire gate, if you drive up to the parking lot at Paradise and the guys up there think there should have been the sign out, they'll slap you with a ticket even after you made it all the way up but get stuck in the Paradise parking lot because they haven't finished plowing it yet.

 

No, I'm not kidding either. This event wasn't that recent, but rangers can sometimes be unreasonble with authority just like volunteer ski patrollers.

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Mark your map with the compass bearings for the trip up and back ahead of time, and note the altitude where you have to change direction (to a new compass bearing) part way up the route. If you do this carefully at your well lit kitchen table you won't have to try to figure out the bearings in howling wind and snow later. I have made it up and down to Muir in a white out and it took careful compass work. The best technique is to send someone out ahead of the person with the compass (not too far, you don't want to loose them). The person with the compass yells to the advance person to move left or right until the person out ahead is right on the bearing line. Then the compass catches up and sends out the front person again. This ensures that cumulative error won't send you off track. I usually send a slower party member ahead. Instead of making them wait for me I'll jog to catch up and can maintain an acurate course without going terribly slowly this way. The tendency on the muir snowfield is to get sucked down the fall line and onto a glacier if you don't stay on your bearings. Don't count on following tracks back, they vanish in minutes. Even wands can be very hard to find on the way down.

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There is no rockfall on the normal route to Muir. You really need an altimeter to know where to turn when navigating by compass in a white out, particularly on the way back down from Muir. The later you start the more you'll have to hurry to get back by dark. I think they are closing the gates at 6 pm now.

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I skied up to Muir last week. When I took my skiis off in rocky sections I was postholing in deep snow; snowshoes are a good idea. Crampons were not needed. There were some icy patches up high, but they were not too bad. Snowshoes will give you plenty of traction.

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Went up skiing today. A lot less snow then when I went up after that late october storm. Rocks everywhere. This could help with navigation. Managed to dodge most. Skinned up from parking lot. A good soft 3" on top of a firm base from lot to just below Panorama Point. Here it got pretty wind packed. Turned around just past Pebble Creek ~7500 because of hardpacked snow and ice patches. Saw a few wands around this area. Skied to within couple hundred feet of park lot. The sun was out the skiing fun once below Pan Point. Life is good.

 

And getting better.

 

The snow report is calling for new snow. Possible four inches tomorrow, and five more by Friday. With increasingly lowering freezing levels. Possible 1000ft by Friday. That means snowshoes to Muir very good idea, not too fun without. Plus visibility might be an issue as well as the drive up pretty interesting. They are closing the gate at 6pm and if they get the snow they are predicting with the lowering freezing levels probably wont open the gate early. You won't be getting that 7ish start.

 

Might not be the best day for Muir but would be a good learning experience.

 

Might see you up there. Will most likely be going up if the forecast holds. Thinking of Mazama Ridge rather then Pan Point/Muir Snowfeild area though.

 

rockband.gif

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Made it back after an awesome day in the snow. Didn't make it all the way up to Muir because I was getting paranoid about runing out of day light. The gate opened at 9:20, the temp at the parking lot was about 24 and I thought there was lots of snow but some skiers I talked to said it wasn't enough. I mostly used snow shoes but switched to crampons once in awhile. Looked to me like folks on skies did better then snow shoers. Snow was pretty soft on lower elevations and that made it easy to follow the tracks from people ahead of me. It was foggy in the begining but it cleared up after a couple of switch backs, had my GPS tracking just in case it would get bad decending, also took some bearings. The blue colored glacier ice in the late morning sun light was spectacular. So what I want to do now is to go up and spend the night at the camp Muir stone shelter but that will have to wait until after the holliday..stupid relatives.

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Greta -

 

Not many people stay in the hut this time of year; nothing like in the summer. Partly because of the overall lack of numbers; partly because it's like a walk-in freezer in the winter. You're better off in a good tent. Only advantage is that you don't carry the weight and you melt snow and cook out of the wind. Other than that it's dark and cold. Always seems like it's colder inside than outside, IMHO.

 

If you go, heed the good advice of all the folks above who shared their advice, and have fun.

 

Dan

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