Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
lukeh

[TR] Quick Muir Conditions Report - 11/5/2015

Recommended Posts

Trip: Quick Muir Conditions Report -

 

Date: 11/5/2015

 

Trip Report:

We went up yesterday (Wed) as it was the first sunny day forecasted after the snow storm.

 

 

  • Arrived at the Longmire gate around 830, they didn't open it until close to 10am. Bummed. Was unclear on the delay. It opened at 9am the day before/after. I somehow thought that there wouldn't be many people there on a Wed...I was wrong.
  • Was pulled over by a ranger riding a swagway from my car to the gate to see if it was open yet. I thought it would be funny to ride it in the parking lot, ranger had 0 sense of humor about it.
  • Was able to skin up 100% of the way from parking lot to the hut.
  • Conditions were sunny with almost no wind all the way up.
  • Muir itself was mostly plastered in solid ice, plus ice for about 20 feet below.
  • Conditions from about 8500-10,080ft were pretty good. Firmish, powdery snow with the occasional icy section or powdery section. I felt comfortable more-or-less bombing this section.
  • 7500-8500ft actually had some great powder sections if you could navigate to them.
  • Somewhere around 7500ft turned dipped you into a thick marine layer, so whiteout conditions.
  • This coincided with where the coverage was spotty. Lots of rocks peaking through. Pretty much everyone scraped a rock or 10.
  • Below pan face things were a little better, but you had to be on full rock alert.
  • Near the parking lot you could ride the wide trail back to the car.

 

Overall below 7500 was pretty unpleasant on the descent. No viz. Rocks that you probably could avoid much better except for the no viz. I think after this weekend coverage will be much better. Above 7500 was pretty nice compared to what we are used to from last year.

 

0.JPG

Eating breakfast while waiting for the gate to open. I actually didn't know the Longmire Inn served breakfast like this.

 

1.JPG

Paradise parking lot. Woman ranger who pulled me over wasn't amused with the little electric hoverboard being ridden on park pavement. If I ever lose my sense of humor to the point where I handle a grown man riding a kids toy with a cold, disapproving sincerity, someone please kill me.

 

 

2.JPG

On the edge of a small 10-15ft. slightly corniced drop-off on the way up (about 9000ft). You can skin up 100% of the way from parking lot to the hut at 10,100ft.

 

 

[video:youtube]

Quick/dirty cell phone video of what the riding was like from 10k ft. to around 8500ft.

 

 

4.jpg

Whiteout starts around 7500ish ft. I think. Shortly after this the rocks start peaking through.

 

3.JPG

Rocks below 7500ft. were pretty much unavoidable, especially given the thick whiteout conditions.

 

Gear Notes:

Tried a new hardboot splitboard setup, kind of like it. Board+binding+toes are just over 9 pounds. My ski setup is just under 8lbs.

 

Approach Notes:

A few polar bears.

Edited by lukeh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

National park rangers are federal employees.

I’m convinced that the federal government has a breeding program where they turn out people of a very basic and identical genetic code. When they reach a certain age they are programed with a particular skill set ( a sense of humor is never included in this ) and they are put into that position. From there they live out the rest of their lives ( somewhat like machines ) completely unable to see life from any other perspective.

So don’t feel too bad for them they really don’t have any other choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Park Rangers used to represent my favorite type of outdoor people, adventurous misfits who loved wild places and understood climber and skier types. The role model for many I knew was Ed Abbey (remember him). Some still understand, but today it is all about law enforcement and following the rules. Hope you get lots of winter this year, here in the Midwest I biked in shorts yesterday - in Minnesota, in November - disgusting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That ranger interaction is pretty funny. You can have a lot of fun with how seriously they take things- take my climbing partner's explanation on the proper use of "brown falcons" to the ranger while we were getting a permit. "I know how to deal with waste, ever heard of a brown falcon?". That was good for another 10 minutes of education on proper LNT waste disposal.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heard the issue was more about staffing than conditions, though they did receive a bit of fresh precip and road was slightly slick... don't think it needed much attention, but I've waited longer for the road in better conditions. I was also bummed, but the fresh snow more than made up for it.

 

As for your hoverboard encounter, gotta say, those things are pretty lame. Though I'm jaded since I need to duck and maneuver through countless undergrads who are using them on campus while snapchatting people taking instagram selfies with their boxed lunches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Undergrads! The nerve of those uncouth masses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The staffing issue has really cut down on the hours that the road to Paradise is open. I'm not sure what time they lock the gate but I believe is is around 5PM. This really cuts down on the day trips that are doable. How do others deal with this? Turn a day trip into a overnight, or return late and pled for them to unlock the gate?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

at least as far as Wednesday was concerned, which might not be normal winter operation yet, the gate was open well past 5... might have been because there were a larger than normal amount of people still picking their way down through the fog? LEOs were cruising around, but didn't seem to be hustling anyone along, that I saw...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...completely unable to see life from any other perspective...

..but today it is all about law enforcement and following the rules...

Guys, before you bash the rangers, you really should spend some time in their boots! First, they tend to have nice ones and second, they will have a harder time ticketing you when they're hobbling around barefoot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guys, before you bash the ranger, you really should spend some time in their boots!

...not to mention they have to deal with a lot of selfish and ignorant people every day

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are huge masses of selfish and ignorant people in all walks of life, not just in the national parks. We all deal with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a federal employee I have to humbly disagree. I've been clawing at the belly of the beast since '05. My fellow federales and I have cultivated a deep, dark sense of humor that allows to adapt quite nicely to our environment. That being said, I think you have accurately described all 10,000 of my bosses. And, while they may wish that we might perform like well oiled robots, I can assure you that the heart still beats.

National park rangers are federal employees.

I’m convinced that the federal government has a breeding program where they turn out people of a very basic and identical genetic code. When they reach a certain age they are programed with a particular skill set ( a sense of humor is never included in this ) and they are put into that position. From there they live out the rest of their lives ( somewhat like machines ) completely unable to see life from any other perspective.

So don’t feel too bad for them they really don’t have any other choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While it sounds like Ron and his monkey wrenching compadres are fighting the good fight.....For the rest whose gut reaction is to treat someone like an idiot, I think it is time to move on from ranger-ville. I have no doubt that most would succumb to a similar fate if placed in their shoes, but that doesn't mean I have to enjoy being talked down to.

 

But really I'm just hoping I'll get harassed by a ranger (off duty, of course) at an alpine club meeting like the last time I piped up about the NPS. That was a lot of fun. Seriously!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
at least as far as Wednesday was concerned, which might not be normal winter operation yet, the gate was open well past 5... might have been because there were a larger than normal amount of people still picking their way down through the fog? LEOs were cruising around, but didn't seem to be hustling anyone along, that I saw...

 

I was up there last Sunday, and they decided they needed to close the gate at 3pm for seemingly no reason, blew my plans. Hope it doesn't get even more unpredictable than it already was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to climb with some rangers in Rocky Mountain NP. Returning to the park headquarters at the end of the day the head climbing ranger was getting ready to go out on night patrol in the park. A skinny little rock climber, he was looking quite buff for a change with a Kevlar vest under his ranger shirt and he was loading a shotgun into his vehicle. Later that night my partner showed me the incident reports for the year, they looked like urban crime reports. This helped explain to me the changes I have seen. Whether you are a climber, skier or a tourist walking around Paradise in a Hawaiian shirt and you break a rule you are simply another perpetrator who just might be packing a hidden weapon. In many ways rangers too are victims of the fear and violence found in our society.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

kewlest ranger i ever met was at RMP - that said, yup, pretty much a clutch of deep-fried kawk-sawkers across the country, generally speaking...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW I've personally had 100% good experiences with climbing rangers in the park. They've done things like turn around solo permits super quick, and used common sense vs. mindless by-the-book judgments in ambiguous situations I've observed. This is just my personal experience, I could just be getting lucky. I've def. run into my share of asshole, idiot cops though. I think this woman was more on the LEO side vs. climbing ranger side (I'm actually not sure how the positions breakdown for the NPS to be honest), so maybe that kind of work brings out that kind of attitude in some.

 

But this little situation wasn't a big deal, just a humorous little foot note for our otherwise awesome day trip (ok minus the rock/whiteout part, that sucked a little).

Edited by lukeh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FWIW I've personally had 100% good experiences with climbing rangers in the park. They've done things like turn around solo permits super quick, and used common sense vs. mindless by-the-book judgments in ambiguous situations I've observed. This is just my personal experience, I could just be getting lucky. I've def. run into my share of asshole, idiot cops though. I think this woman was more on the LEO side vs. climbing ranger side (I'm actually not sure how the positions breakdown for the NPS to be honest), so maybe that kind of work brings out that kind of attitude in some.

 

But this little situation wasn't a big deal, just a humorous little foot note for our otherwise awesome day trip (ok minus the rock/whiteout part, that sucked a little).

 

+1

 

What unpleasantness I've experienced over the years in RNP was pretty easily mitigated by giving the benefit of doubt to these folks doing a tough job.

 

d

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a big difference between a climbing "ranger" and the front-country LEO types, no matter what the park. I think when you see the word "ranger" used in vain in the previous conversation, it is referring to the latter, not the former. These are separate positions.

 

Gator did a great job overhauling the program down in MRNP, although climbing rangers are typically great no matter the park.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is a big difference between a climbing "ranger" and the front-country LEO types, no matter what the park. I think when you see the word "ranger" used in vain in the previous conversation, it is referring to the latter, not the former. These are separate positions.

 

Gator did a great job overhauling the program down in MRNP, although climbing rangers are typically great no matter the park.

 

No problem Jason.

My comment was only about my own approach regarding Rainier National Park (and, I guess, all other NP) personnel in general. Easier said than done sometimes for sure...

 

The Climbing Rangers I've interacted with have been great. Every single one...

 

d

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×