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Rainier climbing and Longmire gate


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Rainier park rangers close the gate at Longmire at 5 pm. If a climbing party is late from the summit, it will be automatically strangled in the park for extra-night. If a person is injured or needs to be home urgently, he will find no exit from this situation. I find it counterintuitive and unwise.


I am wondering if anyone has a solution/experience with this issue. Thanks!

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The staff at the desk of the longmire hotel normally has the key to the gate.


A friend got to the gate, and found it locked. After talking to somebody at the hotel or in some official capacity they got the gate unlocked. Basically count on 1/2-hour to find somebody with a key.

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I was up there this last weekend and talked to a ranger. They said it was because they don't have enough money to keep it open later and to discourage inexperienced, unprepared hikers from getting caught out too late. They did mention that they plan on fining anyone who is stuck in and needs to get out after 5pm $50. Apparently this past Sunday they had around 50 cars that needed the gate opened.

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The park is, and has been for a decade now or more, run by fucking idiots.


Last night we got to the gate at 5:04 PM. In front of us was a line of 20 cars. An LE was lecturing every driver about the gate closure time. It took more than 20 minutes for us to get to our turn where I was also told they were trying to reduce overtime. Really? By paying an LE overtime to stand there and lecture a line of 50+ cars?


They have not considered (or just don't fucking care) the inevitable outcome of this policy, which is people rushing down the mountain, from the summit, from Muir, and on the road to avoid getting a lecture, their time wasted, and/or a ticket. And that is going to lead to more injuries that suck up their precious OT budget. In our case, we could easily have made it down four minutes faster, if I had passed the three slow-moving cars in front of me on a double-yellow.


Speaking of budget, I have, in the past, looked at their budget. They have plenty of money to extend gate hours on nice days. They just make poor choices on how they spend it. They have been using the lame-ass budget excuse to restrict public access (the guide services are unfettered) for many years now, including the infamous closures a couple years ago. Again, all bullshit posturing.


Park management have entirely forgotten why they are employed, which is to provide access to the park to its the owners (the general public) while protecting its natural resources. Forcing a long line of cars to idle for 20, 30, 40 minutes so the drivers can be lectured after enjoying the park does neither.


I'm fed up with being treated like shit by them.

Edited by CascadeClimber
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Please read. If you want to have this be different, take 10 minutes and make a phone call...


On the gate issue: I just spent over an hour on the phone with the deputy super, Tracy Swartout. And it was the most positive, engaging interaction I've had with any of the staff down there in 10 years or more. NOTABLY: She said she could recall just a handful of times that people have written or called about how they were (poorly) treated by park staff. So I strongly encourage anyone who got read the riot act at the gate or bull-horned in the Paradise lot in recent weeks to call and share. 360-569-6503.

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I did talk to a person on a phone. In a thick South American accent, he explained to me that one can "probably" find a key at the office up until 5:30 pm, and after that "he doesn't know". It felt like the National park rangers are winter-hibernating. A mellow-land... Go figure.

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