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Alex Stoll

[TR] Mt. Rainier - Emmons Glacier 5/6/2016

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Trip: Mt. Rainier - Emmons Glacier

 

Date: 5/6/2016

 

Trip Report:

With the weather looking good, and the White River road probably plowed most of the way up (since it’s scheduled to open May 16), we figured it would be a good idea to bike the 6 miles from 410 to the White River Campground for an early season ski of the Emmons. And with Mother’s Day on Sunday we figured it would be a short trip back to Yakima so I could spend the day with my mom.

 

We started biking around 5:30 am, not bothering to set up a ski rig on our bikes, which we payed for later with our lower backs - and butts. The road is about 6 miles long and 1000 ft. of steady gain, so by the end of the road I was ready to be on my feet.

 

We hiked the trail to about a mile from Glacier Basin and then transitioned to skins, skinned up the Interglacier, and reached Camp Sherman about 2:30 pm. We had the camp to ourselves until two climbers tromped in around 8:30 pm to our surprise.

 

Started the next morning around 4 am and enjoyed mindless glacier travel to the top of the Corridor, at which time we saw the sunrise and observed the other two climbers leaving camp. From there the next 1500 ft when smoothly, traversing right toward the Wilson Glacier, encountering minimal route finding difficulties and enjoying a mix of windblown chalk and firn. We followed the fall line from the Wilson basically to the top, crossing 3-4 thick snow bridges within the last 2000 ft, some of which will probably only last for the next few weeks.

 

The first 3000 ft. we covered in 3 hours, but the altitude hit me hard about 1500 ft. from the summit with nausea, a headache, and shortness of breath, so we didn’t reach the summit until 10:30 am. We put skis on at the summit and enjoyed edgeable hardback and a few inches of chalk in some spots, transitioning to immature corn in the last 1000 ft above camp. We hurriedly packed up camp but were still destined to ski 5000 ft of fairly deep slush down the Interglacier. We were able to ski about a mile down the GB trail, and passed 2-3 groups walking the road while we enjoyed a 5 mile pedal-free bike descent, feeling smug on our wheels.

 

We appeared to be the first group to climb the Emmons, at least recently. The other climbers we had seen on the route turned around after blazing up the first half of the upper mountain. We later passed them on the road as they were walking out, immediately understanding why they were so tired on summit day after hiking an extra 6 miles the day before and booting the late afternoon slush.

 

CONDITIONS SUMMARY-

 

Road totally clear for biking. Trail about 70% dry. Emmons in great early season condition, with the direct final 1,500’ in good shape likely for a few more weeks, and skiing great considering the elevation. Go do it before the masses arrive with the opening of the road.

 

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Anyone can see anything under this topic? Just want to know the conditions.

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