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Paradise Glacier Ski Tour

Mt Rainier National Park

August 26, 2013

Working three great jobs is a lot of fun, but it doesn't leave much time in the way of outdoor free time. So I took advantage of an open morning and good weather and got my monthly turns on the Paradise Glacier with my friend Ryan Thurston. I had skied this glacier for the first time nearly a year ago so it was still an adventure for me and Ryan!

We had tickets to the Seattle Sounders FC / Portland Timbers match so we left Seattle at 5am to make sure that we would make it back to Seattle in time for the game!

Safeway in South Hill Puyallup was our only stop before the park. It was free admission day so we didn't get to use our passes. :( We were glad that the weather was holding steady for us because a new weather front was forecast to move in the afternoon.

We arrived at the Paradise parking lot a little before 8am and quickly packed up and headed up the trail towards Alta Vista.

With tennis shoes on our feet and skis and boots on our backs, we cruised up the trail and passed many hikers that gave us stange looks. One couple asked us if we had food and water in our small packs. I almost said, "If you count scotch and GU then YES!" We actually had Gatorade, deli sandwiches and apples but we have images to uphold.

We made good time up to Pebble Creek then took a short break to eat some food on the rocks. Ryan broke his leg in a marathon race earlier this summer so it was pretty impressive that he was skiing less than three months later! Even more amazing is that this was his 20th straight month skiing and he didn't miss June or July either! You are and Animal, Ryan!

After a 15 minute rest we got back onto the snowfield and continued up. Lenticular clouds had been forming and blowing off the summit for the past houe but when one stuck around and then started creeping down the mountain we decided to make a bee line east for the Paradise Glacier and forego the extra 500 feet we would have gotten by continuing up to Anvil Rock and then cutting over.

The winds had picked up a bit so we found shelter behind a rock and ate our sandwhiches and drank some water. The glacier looked much smoother than it had last September and definitely smoother than the Muir Snowfield. I did notice a larg bergschrund that had opened near the top of the glacier, below Anvil Rock.

We added some layers, switched to our boots then headed off down the glacier, enjoying the soft summer snow! The crevasses had opened up considerably more this year than last year, so we had to back track up about 50 feet to pick our way through the holes. But we saw some other tracks and then I saw the face that I got sketched out on last year with my splitboard. With skis, it was no problem and Ryan got some nice shots of me in my Oswaldo Alonso Seattle Sounders jersey!

Thanks Ryan for a great day skiing and thanks for keeping me awake on the drive home!