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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    52

    TR: Mt Rainier, Summit to Bridge via Fuhrer Finger

    Mt Rainier

    Fuhrer Finger

    1-17 and 1-18-09

    After a cycle of storms caused widespread flooding on the west slope of the Cascades, closed Stevenís Pass, Snoqualmie Pass, and White Pass, a high pressure system settled over the Pacific Northwest during the following week. This resulted in the typical low gray cloud cover Seattle often experiences and temperatures ranging from the low 30s to 50 degrees. From Seattle, this seemed to be a normal weather pattern. However, the high pressure system was accompanied by a strong inversion that pushed the freezing level to 13,000 feet and provided multiple days of sun at higher elevations; conditions that were ideal for spring-like ski conditions on south facing slopes.

    Mt Rainier's big, steep, sunny south face gets loads of snow (Paradise held the record annual snowfall record before Mt Baker) and has pretty good access, so it seemed like a good choice for the weather window. Amar and I left the Paradise Visitors Center (5,420 ft) mid-day Saturday, skinned toward Pan Point, then traversed the Nisqually Glacier to the base of Wapowety Cleaver where we sat up camp.


    Amar near Paradise with the route in the background.



    Skinning across the Nisqually to the confluence of the Wilson (left) and Nisqually (right) Glaciers where we sat up camp for the evening. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    Amar capturing the sunset over the South Cascades.



    Sunset over the Mt Adams, Mt Hood, Mt Jefferson (tiny distant mound just to the right of Hood), and Mt St Helens. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    Sunrise the next morning was just as amazing as sunset with the moon as an added bonus. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    We noticed the sun seemed to be having trouble starting the day; Amar said it's called a fata morgana. This phenomena is caused by warm air over cold dense air which creates a refracting lens that can make distant objects to appear to hover, elongate, or flatten (as was the cause this morning). It's nice to have a(nother) climbing partner with a PHD in physics. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    Styrofoam snow provided perfect conditions for most of the ascent. Every couple of minutes a few pea sized rocks would fly down the finger, which was enough to keep our eyes cautioned for bigger threats. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    The lowest rock band in the finger was covered with snow for a width of about 20 feet allowing easy passage.



    Continuing up the finger. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    Approaching the top of the Fuhrer Finger, where it joins the Nisqually Icefall. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    The top of the Fuhrer Finger with Nisqually Icefall seracs visible.



    Amar at the top of the finger with Adams, Hood, and St Helens in the background.



    Just above the top of the finger, we were able to traverse to the center of the upper Nisqually with no difficulties. Amar is shown in the above photo at the most challenging part of the Nisqually.



    Climbing the upper Nisqually Icefall amid buried ice towers. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    Amar demonstrates some artistic flair in the above photo of me nearing the summit. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    Crossing the summit crater with the North and Central Cascades in the background. Glacier Peak is on the far left and Mt Stuart is right of center.



    Amar and me on the summit. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    Conditions off the summit were nice wind packed powder and provided some enjoyable turns. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    Wind-buffed powder on the upper Nisqually. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    Quality turns high on the mountain. Photo by Amar Andalkar.


    Amar carving down the upper Nisqually.



    A couple turns later with Adams in the background.



    The turns keep comin'. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    Amar's pretty stoked; we already skied 3,200 feet and haven't even entered the finger yet.



    Amar enjoys the first corn harvest of the year on the day's feature attraction.



    Opening it up in the lower section of the finger with the constriction below. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    Full throttle down the Wilson Glacier; I couldn't have been happier. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    That's me in the middle of multiple levels of avi debris from last weeks storm cycle. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    Amar enjoying every turn down the lower Nisqually Glacier with the ever present Mt Adams watching.



    Five tele-boarders hooked us up with beer and great company for the final stretch down to the Nisqually River Bridge. Photo by Amar Andalkar.



    Amar with a stunning backdrop as the sun stretches the landscape.



    Amar admiring nature's work after a job well done.



    10,600 vertical feet later our run ended. Photo by Amar Andalkar.

    Thanks for the great trip Amar!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    2,548
    Quote Originally Posted by 4btn View Post

    Amar at the top of the finger with Adams, Hood, and St Helens in the background.
    Great TR - I even learned something from it! I especially like this pic. Stuff like this makes me really want to get up there in the Spring (or I guess January in this case) and hit some of the Casacade peaks. Awesome.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    10,721
    Boner. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    30,870
    beauty!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbound Train View Post
    And there will come a day when our ancestors look back...........

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    3,611
    Great TR. Way to get after it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    summit county
    Posts
    500
    nice work, thanks for sharing...


    good trip and amazing photos
    is this thing on?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    423
    That route was high on my to do list before. Now it's higher. Thanks for the great photo sequence.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Just outside the bubble
    Posts
    1,748
    I got a little movement from that awesome TR!
    Have fun or get hurt bad. "MFT" A.K.A. Dr. Doom

    There are but three true sports--bullfighting, mountain climbing, and motor-racing. The rest are merely games. "Ernest Hemingway"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    tahoe
    Posts
    2,946
    winner winner chicken dinner. that looked lkke 10,000' of pure fun. thanx for sharing

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,794
    nice work! There's some awesome photos in there.
    Ride Fast, Live slow.

    We're mountain people. This is what we do, this is how we live. -D.C.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    3,177
    Wow. That looks like what I should have been doing this past week instead of skiing moguls and groomers. Very Nice ski mountaineering accomplishment!
    "The skis just popped me up out of the snow and I went screaming down the hill on a high better than any heroin junkie." She Ra

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    2,724
    Awesome awesome awesome.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    113
    Wow, that is the best TR I have seen in a while. Absolutely beautiful. Nice work.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    cordova,AK
    Posts
    2,819
    Nice job skiing off the top. Like UCL mentioned, looks like July.
    off your knees Louie

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    SF
    Posts
    869
    Glad you had a good descent, Dave.

    PSA for those who think Fuhrer Finger looks like that in July: by that time Fuhrer Finger looks like a commode that won't flush! Anybody who aspires to do Fuhrer Finger, go earlier than that.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Keep Tacoma Feared
    Posts
    678
    Should have kept going all the way to Longmire.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    52
    Quote Originally Posted by altasnob View Post
    Should have kept going all the way to Longmire.

    We considered continuing, but flat with river crossings and/or side trips into the woods wasn't very appealing. Summit to bridge is a very asthetic line; tramping through the woods kinda didn't fit the character. All the goods got skied, don't worry.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    north of north
    Posts
    716
    Nicely done! This one is VERY high on my to-do list hopefully in early May
    Sunday ends with her head in a pillow, ass in the air with me pounding her from behind. Life is good.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    South Lake Taco
    Posts
    983
    That is amazing. That is definitely one of the largest verts in the US. Can anybody think of anything bigger? To match that in California you'd have to ski from Shasta's summit to the town of Shasta City. Wow.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    SF
    Posts
    869
    You can do bigger on Rainier, but nothing else in the lower 48 is close. But to get it all in good condition is quite the coup. Good job, fellaz.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Alpy/Stevens
    Posts
    1,310
    Niiiice.
    eating and sleeping is serious business

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    SF
    Posts
    116
    you don't see many of these in january. cheers man, great effort.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Bellingham
    Posts
    483
    Wow what an amazing TR. I'm from the area and here people talking about climbing rainier, but thats later on in the year. I guess with the weather you gotta do what you gotta do.

    How was climbing around the top? I've heard air gets a little thin up there

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    52
    Quote Originally Posted by hitmanbob View Post
    How was climbing around the top? I've heard air gets a little thin up there
    The top affects different people differently. I've had friends coughing blood, and others just slow down a little. So it's really hard to know without going there yourself. Some people seem to be predisposed to adapt to altitude well, and others not so well. Being in really good cardio shape is an obvious plus, but is far from a guarantee.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    lake level
    Posts
    1,265
    Kick ass! Makes me feel like a wuss for only getting in about 1100 vert today. Don't know for sure, but I think Telescope Peak in CA near Death Valley gets you about that much vert, though not in shape too often.

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