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Mike_Gauthier

It's snowing big time!

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for all those interested, it has been snowing gang busters here at mount rainier for the last 2 weeks. there's 188 inches on the ground at paradise (as of yesterday) and nearly 500 inches total the winter.

my house in longmire is slowly getting buried...

this should make for great skiing and climbing conditions this spring and summer!!!

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well, the road to paradise hasn't been open for quite some time, so i'm not really sure. my guess is that the climbers' left hand side of the falls will be in good shape... it's been cold here, but not excessively. the temps in longmire have generally been in the 20's... generally, it takes temps in the teens or lower to produce stable ice on the main narada flow.

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Great news Mike! Thanks for the post. I hope we see more before spring comes. smile.gif" border="0

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mike!

enyone summited rainier this winter?

eny stories?

hope the road open,s when the weather get,s better?

marek

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Hey Mike, or anyone else in the know, what's the deal with the large icefalls that form up on the east side of the Nisqually River maybe a quarter mile above the bridge. What you can see from the road looks tough but I've also seen a bigger, fatter, mellower flow while skiing down from the glacier? Any beta?

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there IS a bigger, mellower ice flow hidden from the road and in a ravine near the other ice falls. i'd say it goes at wi4+. i've definitely seen a few ascents too, about a handful, over the past few years.

the approach is straight forward, but watch the avalanche conditions closely. b/c to reach the falls, you have to ascend a broad open slope that DOES slide on occasion. the alternate way to reach the falls is to descend from the top and rap the route. routefinding from the road to the top of falls can be difficult.

the other consideration is temperature... i.e., is it cold enough? the falls come in every year, but usually not for too long.

by the way, the falls are in, and they look great.

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Last I was up that way about 2-3 years ago.

Mike and dberdinka, will you please give some directions? What bridge are you talking about? Is the road open to that point?

Thank you!

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RE: the ravine with the iceclimb on the cliffs near the Nisqually bridge. This would be on the right hand side looking up toward the mountain and it would be closer to the road than the obvious terrifying falls dripping out of the basalt. This ravine is barely visible from the road but becomes obvious if you hike up the valley just a short ways. Me and a guy named Mike Adams climbed this (a first ascent?) around 1978/79. It seems to me that we scrambled up on lower angle stuff and then it got quite vertical. It must have been about a full rope and a half from there. It was a very memorable experience. Mike thought he could finish the climb in one pitch from the belay. He ran out of rope way short after placing all of his screws and running it out. We were climbing, however, with a 300 ft. 9 mm double rope so he was able to hang off his tools (a couple of Lowe hummingbirds?), untie from the middle of the rope, and then tie back into one end while I pulled in the rope. It was probably my first experience on water ice and it scared the hoo-ha out of me. I don't know what the rating would be because I'm not sure there was a WI rating system back then, but it was tough, so I defer to Brother Gauthier's suggestion. And beware the approach slope! I still don't like waterfalls.

- Dwayner

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Without any further hints about the location of the "Nisqually Bridge" I looked at the map and found one spot where the river crosses the road, after Longmire and before Paradise, around Nahunta Falls. Are those the ones in question? Tato Falls?

Now there are a whole bunch of falls around that region, at up to 5000 ft of eleveation. Any info? I am tentatively planning on going and exploring but any info is appreciated, especially if it saves me 10 gallons of gas!

Thank you!

P.S. Dwayner, I saw some nice waterfalls in Hawaii...

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Dwayner, awesome! that's a great story, i've been curious about the ascent history on those falls. thanks for sharing.

rafael, your description of where the bridge is, is correct. leave your car in the parking lot on the down hill side of the bridge. cross the bridge and ascend the right hand side of the river, maybe a 1/4 to 1/2 mile. it's rather close.

the only bad news is that it's getting warm again (i.e. the ice is melting off my house.) also, the falls are west facing. there are a few other frozen falls in the immediate area, however they seem pretty stiff. sometimes they come in all the way, sometimes they remain mixed with rock. i've never heard of anyone climbing them, but have always assumed someone did.

if it gets really cold, narada falls sometimes freezes entirely. that's always a fun one. if you don't mind, let me know what happens on your expedition.

cheers

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the road has been opening all the way to paradise for a few days now. when the NPS road crew gets the road open is always a mystery to me, and even to the rangers who are now working for that matter. usually though, it's sometime between 8-11 am, depending on the recent (i.e, overnight)snowfall.

the skiing looks good, but there will be a crust. things got sunny and warm yesterday.

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Mike-

Have chains been required to get up to Paradise more this winter than previous "normal" winters (last winter was not normal) ? Also, do you know if anyone has made it up to Muir in the last month. Thanks

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Hi Mike,

same question as Msalter. Heard through a friend of a friend who was up there about 1.5 weeks ago that they were turned around because they didn't have chains. The road crew wasn't requiring them to put the chains on, just have them with them. The person's car was 4wd too. Just curious if the chains-in-car rule is being enforced so that everyone can be prepared.

thanks,

-Allen

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sorry to hear you got turned around b/c of tire chains. that happened to a lot of people...

with regard to people making it to muir, the answer is yes. a few teams definitely reached muir last week. i'm not sure if anyone summited though (i don't think so.)

now for a weather update. it's snowing big time again. at least a foot dumped here in longmire overnight and it's still coming down hard. additionally, it got rather warm last week, so i'd guess that the ice climbing conditions in the nisqually have fallen out of favor... at least temporarily.

 

[ 11-11-2002, 09:17 AM: Message edited by: Mike Gauthier ]

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Just for everyone's info. The Washington State Patrol can even turn you around at the Passes if they or the DOT deem that chains are required. Luckily the WSP generally only checks on the semi's though for compliance. I have one pair of chains for my commuter car. When I take my truck to the hills I just throw the car chains in the back. When the Ranger/WSP ask if I have chains I say, "yes." Now they may not fit my trucks tires but I do have chains so I'm not lying. If I need chains on my 4WD truck I'm turning around anyways. You can't blame the LE (law enforcement)rangers. They don't usually have any real crime to fight..so they gotta do something.

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A couple of weeks ago they were checking everyone for chains on the way up to stevens pass. It was about a 30 minute wait to get checked. Lots of 4x4's got turned around. My friend in another 4x4 truck was hoping they'd ask him "Do you have chains", in which case, he'd say yes, because he's got some at home for his wife's car. But they asked "Are you carrying chains", so he said no and had to turn around. Next time he'll carry the car chains with him.

Stupid thing is, the road conditions were fine.

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too bad it is the law in washington to carry chains in your vehicle is you expect to do any mountain driving between nov-mar

and anyways when you have 4 wheel drive all that means i you have 4 wheels spining instead of two.....cuase the real trick is stopping not going.......

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Mount Rainier is in a "Trial" or "exploratory" (not official but being exercised to some degree, some rangers more than others) procedures on their chain requirements- the SOP's going to be changed at some time in the future to require all vechicles to have chains OR YOUR VECHICLE WILL NOT GO TO PARADISE.

When they actually enact it, or if, is yet TBA.

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Suppose it was your job to pull some yuppie asshole in a SUV out of the snowbank that has never seen snow. I would require chains just as a deterent. Everyone has a 4x4 these days and it doesn't mean shit. Moreover, when the guy that doesn't know how to drive on the the snow/ice comes careening around the corner in their EXCURSION and plows into your ass you will be wishing the Rangers made them chain up too.

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quote:

Originally posted by Mike Gauthier:
yeah, a few lackeys have gotten "aggressive” over the issue of tire chains this winter. they’ll claim this is nothing new as far as winter operations are concerned, but the truth is, i've never been so hassled about chains in all of my years of living here. just 2 weeks ago in fact, one guy wearing green pants, jacket and tie (why rangers wear ties while working outside is beyond me), tried to prevent me from getting back to my house in longmire, even though i was driving a 4-wd and the road conditions were just fine... some people just LOVE a little power... anyway, the moral of this story is this, if you want to avoid any hassles from the NPS gate keepers, bring tire chains... even if you don't need them, bring them. otherwise, someone may deny you entrance to the park. i’m sorry to hear you got turned around. they did it to a lot of people...with regard to people making it to muir, the answer is yes. a few teams definitely reached muir last week. i'm not sure if anyone summited though (i don't think so.)now for a weather update. it's snowing big time again. at least a foot dumped here in longmire overnight and it's still coming down hard. additionally, it got rather warm last week, so i'd guess that the ice climbing conditions in the nisqually have fallen out of favor... at least temporarily.

Mike,

Your candid reports and opinions are refreshing! I hope you don't ever get into any trouble with the suits up there for "tellin' it like it is". It's folks like you that restore my faith in "the system" up there. Thanks for all the info you provide here.Love your book!

Any info on the Westside Road shuttle plan?

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