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brian_m

[TR] Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge 5/26/2006

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Climb: Rainier-Ptarmigan Ridge

 

Date of Climb: 5/26/2006

 

Trip Report:

The Plan: dbconlin and I would meet at Paradise to leave a shuttle vehicle, get permits, drive around mountain to Mowich Lake Road, hike in to Ptarmigan Ridge, climb, and descend DC.

The TR: dropped off car at Paradise, got permits, drove to Mowich Lake Road and started hiking at 1:30 pm friday afternoon. The road is clear of snow for the first 1 1/2 miles and had fair amounts of snow up to Mowich Lake. The rain was falling steadily during the hike and we got a bit wet by the time we reached the lake at 3:15pm. The trail to Spray Park was mixed dirt (trail) and large snow drifts through the forest sections with a few creek crossings that caused no problems. We broke trail to ascend up into Spray Park, traversed the lower slopes toward the ridge in white out conditions and snow falling, navigating by map and compass. During the ascent above Spray Park we encountered ~1 foot of newer snow which slowed the climbing with shin to knee deep post-holes. We made camp part way up a ridge at ~7500 feet at 8pm. Overnight the snow continued with about 12-18 inches of new accumulation by morning. With visibility still zero and the snow still falling, we made the decision that snow conditions were not favorable for an ascent and that the avalanche conditions were primed on the north side of the mountain with the newer snow on top of older. The descent brought knee to thigh deep snow back to Spray Park. It was uneventful but a bit demoralizing having to drive all the way back to Paradise to pick up the shuttle car. Bad weekend for Rainier.

Sorry, no pics, nothing to see.

 

Gear Notes:

Needed: rain gear, snowshoes, bottle of tequila, helicopter.

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What really sucked, in addition to everything Brian mentioned, was being on the ridge and knowing that this awesome mountain was looming above us, but not even being able to see 3 feet in front of you, let alone "the mountain"!!! confused.gif

 

...and the wanker in the USFS uniform, who had unlocked the gate across the access road, to drive his personal subaru up as far as he could before his little hike, whom we encountered on our way out, walking down the dirt road...fucker! madgo_ron.gifhellno3d.gifcry.gif

Edited by dbconlin

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Nice effort getting out there with such a crappy forecast.

So from what I can gather, the road was gated at the Paul Peak TH and snow free for a mile or two? How much snow at the lake? Could you have made a shortcut on snow to the pass above the lake then down into Spray Park? Just curious.

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lots of snow at the lake. road closed at gate, i guess it is the paul peak th, but I did not notice that. not sure what you mean by the shortcut but with whiteout conditions we just followed the trail.

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I feel you pain, man. We spent the last 3 days postholing 6000 vertical of 1-2 ft deep snow on the west side of Rainier.

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I was on the north side going for Lib ridge the 22nd-25th. Same conditions. It took 2 days to get from 1700 ft. - 8000ish. only got to see the mountain once when the clouds broke for about 5mins. waited a day to see if the weather would turn then decended. came all the way from the east coast too. oh well, just another reason to come back next year.

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