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] Camp Muir Conditions Report - Wind Slab Release - 2/24/2016

Recommended Posts

Trip: Camp Muir Conditions Report - Wind Slab Release -

 

Date: 2/24/2016

 

Trip Report:

 

AlinRainierPhoto.jpg

Photo by Alin Flaidar

 

  • Gate opened late, 10:05 AM. Frustrating as weather was good the previous day/night and it had been light out for 3 hours by 9am. The winter gate opening at Rainier is always tricky as there's no way to plan for it, and any delays cut into the already short winter days. Plus the transparency around "why" isn't great. People drive 5-6 hours round-trip and may take vacation days, so it's a gamble.
  • The plan was to go to the base of the ID, but with the late gate opening that plan wasn't looking good. The original plan of a summit was squashed late due to climbing partner personal conflict. Unfortunate as conditions were prime on the upper mountain we later learned.
  • It was Daniil's first time going up to Muir, so I carried the group gear and his snowboard for training weight.
  • Four hours later we were at Camp Muir - pretty good time from Daniil for his first visit to 10k feet.
  • Winds were a bit higher than forecast, maybe 20-25mph vs. 15mph at Muir.
  • All routes up from Muir looked like they were in great shape. I talked to ranger Peter Ellis who had dug a pit earlier and found a 2ft, super hard slab that they could not get to slide. So snow was stable up here.
  • We took the winter ridge route on the way up. It was super icy in places, but not as bad as a week ago as wind blown snow covered a lot of the rock hard stuff. On the way down we took the Pebble Creek summer route and avoided most of the ice (thanks Peter for the heads up).
  • Snow was carve-able wind blown stuff the whole way down. We observed a large-ish wind slab avalanche skier's right at the top of Pan Face (7k ft). I estimated a 1-2ft crown, this was confirmed after reading NWAC's report from Peter's shot (he skied a few min ahead of us near this spot). They estimated that it released earlier that day, or even just shortly before we arrived around 5pm. Natural release from solar exposure, the slab was built up the day before from E winds (this was a W aspect).
  • Descending Pan Face was the descent highlight as usual due to steepness and even snow. The snow down lower hadn't received a ton of sun exposure due to cloud cover, so it actually was pretty great all the way to the parking lot.
  • Alin had some ski equipment troubles. That coupled with a fall on the ice producing a gash above his eye caused a late arrival to the parking lot.
  • Park police were waiting for us at the Longmire gate. I was expecting min some basic cordial empathy, especially given Alin's injury. What I got instead was immediate cold interrogation, asking to see my license, registration, proof of insurance. I was thinking WTF? Then they went as far as asking us if we had chains in the car, as if that mattered at this point? We did but the question was so stupid given the context I wondered if the woman knew how to apply common sense to ambiguous situations. The officer ended up writing me a $100 ticket (plus $25 processing fee) for being late to the gate. I thought that was a real dick move. She also spent 20+ minutes writing the ticket and I assume verifying I didn't steal my car? I felt like I was a suspect in a major crime for driving up to the gate after some unforseen circumstances caused us to be late. It was ridiculous. I didn't even know you could get a ticket for that. I thought we might have to stay the night up there or try and get the key from the Inn. Anyway, a pretty shitty way to end an otherwise fun day.

 

[video:youtube]

Some clips from my cell phone which I rigged up to my whippet (too cheap to get a Go Pro) during the sunset descent.

Avalanche debri can be seen from 1:21 - 1:47.

 

MuirDaniil-100.jpg

MuirDaniil-101.jpg

Daniil just about to reach 10k ft for the first time in his life. Nice work!

 

MuirDaniil-102.jpg

Descent via Pebble Creek (avoids icy ridge).

 

MuirDaniil-103.jpg

MuirDaniil-104.jpg

MuirDaniil-105.jpg

Avy debris from a naturally (solar) triggered, wind slab around 7k ft, W aspect, 1-2ft crown. Triggered a little earlier that day.

 

MuirMap1.jpg

MuirMap2.jpg

Ticket.JPG

 

 

Luke

Edited by lukeh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great pics. FYI, for a basic ticket, detaining you over 20 minutes is considered unreasonable and you can get it dismissed if you go to court. Hard to justify it for $100 but just sayin. >5 years law enforcement experience talking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We shall expect "no quarter" if late at the gate...

 

d

Edited by dougd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Organize a mass group protest, but only with news media alerted/ready. Doesn't Dane have some ancillary connection to SEA media? Anyone willing to get footage of their kid crying while powertrip ranger grills and agitates?

 

Think one 6pm segment on the news would probably be particularly effective in this popcorn culture. Don't waste your time writing a letter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been a pretty off the radar of law enforcement my entire life, much of this having to do with skin color and age. The exception to this has been in the national parks, but even there the treatment like you received happened but it was the exception and was the action of a few power tripping individuals. I was fortunate to have many climbing partners who worked in the parks and were great folk. At some point a rigid law enforcement mentality took over. Rangers in the mold of Ed Abbey were replaced by well-armed Kevlar vested police and somehow the back country folks became the enemy. This winter a retired friend who happen to be an avid Nordic skier could not sleep and headed out for a moonlight ski at a local park, at 4AM. When he got back to his car a squad was waiting and threatened to impound his car because the park did not open until 5. Not sure of the answer but it is a sad state of affairs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been a pretty off the radar of law enforcement my entire life, much of this having to do with skin color and age. The exception to this has been in the national parks, but even there the treatment like you received happened but it was the exception and was the action of a few power tripping individuals. I was fortunate to have many climbing partners who worked in the parks and were great folk. At some point a rigid law enforcement mentality took over. Rangers in the mold of Ed Abbey were replaced by well-armed Kevlar vested police and somehow the back country folks became the enemy. This winter a retired friend who happen to be an avid Nordic skier could not sleep and headed out for a moonlight ski at a local park, at 4AM. When he got back to his car a squad was waiting and threatened to impound his car because the park did not open until 5. Not sure of the answer but it is a sad state of affairs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry your day ended that way. Local protests and/or media coverage won't help as MNRP is the feds.

 

My wife got a ticket in Seattle at a relatively new traffic camera on 24th S of Montlake. It's supposedly a school zone w speed limit to 20 during dropoff. Camera system says she was doing 26 in a 20 MPH zone. Ticket cost? $234!!! Crazy. Ticket says the camera trap is within 300 feet of a school or crosswalk. Google says the school (one long block away) is 430 feet. I plan to go and see if there are any crosswalks within the stated 300 feet. I suspect not. And if so, I'll challenge the ticket and the camera, hopefully forcing the city to remove it entirely and refund EVERYONE who got fined by it. I'm not convinced this speed trap is making kids safer until I see some evidence that supports that.

 

The problem is one of overzealous optimization. Not everyone can afford such a ticket, and this can lead to a nasty spiral. Don't have $234? Wait a few weeks and the amount goes up. Then you're in default and a warrant goes out for your arrest. Then you get arrested. Can't afford bail? Spend time in jail. Lose job while in jail. Lose housing now that your don't have a job. And before you know it you're unemployed and homeless living on the street. Good luck finding a job with a criminal record. Why? So the city can increase its revenues. Don't think this is true? Go look at the patterns of law enforcement and citation revenue increase mandates in Ferguson....Michael Brown was only one victim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome report and super stoked to see conditions like that. Huge bummer on the ticket however, what a downer and for the worst reason (basically encourages you to "call in" a minor fall to avoid a ticket!)

 

What are the implications of simply staying up for the night (even bringing a tent / gear and planning it out) during the limited road access season?

Edited by Ted S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I was kind of wondering, what if I just turned around and said f-it, I'm staying up here tonight? People summit and camp in the winter up there. Would she still have been able to give me a ticket? There was never the conversation of "you only get the ticket once you ask me to open the gate". Even trying to break it down is annoying to think about. Police that don't use common sense and who don't have a general "I'm here in service of you the patron/taxpayer" mentality vs. "I have authority and I'm going to pair it with my ego or personal problems and abuse it" shouldn't be in that job. Especially at a NP where you're hoping to try and get away from dealing with BS like that.

Edited by lukeh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

White comedian born in Africa (thus technically African-American?) joked about that ("You stopped me 'cause I'm African-American, right?" "No, because you were driving on the sidewalk...""Touche`")

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More NP fascism. Is anyone going to actually defend it this time here on cc.com?

 

Power tripping rudeness has no defense......but who knows, maybe the officer's mom died the day before.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Total bullshit. I had it out with one of them at the gate after we summited last February. We were 10 minutes late and she fucking read me the riot act and played the intimidation game- making a big show of writing down my license plate.

 

I suggest that you call down there and tell Tracy Swartout that you object, as a park GUEST, to being treated like this. I also encourage you to dispute the ticket: Make them go to court. 360-569-2211

 

The management down there seems to have entirely forgotten why they are employed. Their (often arbitrary) rules are not the freaking customers, we are. So, so completely disgusted with most of the NPS right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing I don't understand is that the park has staff based in Longmire 24/7 (or am I wrong here?). Why not close the gate a couple hours after dark and have anyone who gets locked in to grab someone from the front desk of the hotel? That would solve 90% of the issues, foster good will among recreationalists, and reduce the flak that the officers get on a weekly basis.

 

Loren- have you tried to reason with the higher ups in your contacts with them (I would assume so)? What was their response?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Install one of these puppies so folks can get out after hours. Problem solved.

 

Traffic-Spikes~~element311.png

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lame-o. I one spent shall we say, too much time on a route I started way too late in Eldo years back in the middle of winter. Getting back to our car frazzled and tired at 9p, I started my car and started driving to the gate to find it...closed. I lowered my head in defeat, and was blown away when the gate started to open. Then again, if they installed such a system they wouldn't be able to fill the coffers as easily.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the tire spike idea! Really easy to pop those up after a certain time, swing the uphill side of the gate closed and go home for the night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FYI I emailed the park superintendent and deputy superintendent about my incident and general gate closure issues. Was thinking about this, it would be useful to have better communication channels between people who use the park a lot in winter (like people on this site) and the park staff. No formal channel really exists now, at least that I'm aware of. It feels more like a one-way thing, with not a lot of transparency.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd love to hear if you get a response as I agree about communications. My only experience was 6 or 7 years ago coming down after a January climb. We had crappy ski conditions and made it down 45 mins late or so. We walked to the hotel and they recorded our names and gave us the code to get out, no problems. It sucks that it has changed so much.

 

Olympic National Park for example (at least several years ago) used to just close half the gate to Hurricane Ridge. You couldn't drive up but you could drive down (although they did ticket me once up top for overnight parking in the wrong place, my fault).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Install one of these puppies so folks can get out after hours. Problem solved.

 

Traffic-Spikes~~element311.png

 

[video:youtube]6Qnnxx-uHG4

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  

×