Mowich Face and Emmons Glacier on Mount Rainier.
So…for the past few weeks I’ve been planning a ski trip to Mount Rainer for later this week, with potential ski days being Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The plan was to leave Jackson late on Wednesday and arrive at Rainier on Thursday in time to get permits to climb. Thoughts of potential climbing/ski routes have included the Fuhrer Finger, Kautz Cleaver, Emmons Glacier and the steep Mowich face, which I heard was skied last week car-to-car in one long push. I figured we could hopefully get in two routes if the weather was good, hammering one out in a one day push and maybe camping for another route which might have a longer approach. Unfortunately, the weather forecast is looking iffy for the area and I’m contemplating bailing on the trip altogether.
Now, I often try to live by the mantra “you don’t know, if you don’t go”, but in a place known as the Pacific NorthWET, it’s hard to get fired up for probably a less than 50% chance of sunny skies. I’ve been shut down on Rainier before (prior to even getting on the trail) due to weather, so it would totally bite to get denied again considering it’s a 13-14 hour drive from Jackson. But also considering that I’ve already got the time off from work, it sure would be nice to get out of town and get in some skiing under the sun.
Clouds teasing Mount Rainier. Photo: Ashley Yakeley.
I’ve been weighting my options, trying to come to a decision. One option is to head to Rainier anyway with the hopes of the long term forecast being wrong. Unsettled, spotty weather would most likely lure us into camping for a few days (instead of hammering out some routes in a day) and praying for a good timed weather window to allow for a shot at the summit. Full glacier kits or GPS navigation would be on hand and travel would most likely come to a snails pace in the event of a whiteout on the glacier…which I heard can happen sometimes up there. Fun stuff aye?
I’ve been hammering the weather forecasts for mountain ranges throughout the west trying to put together a Plan B, but most are calling for unsettle weather this weekend. My options seem to be limited and I’m thinking about staying local and heading into the Winds for more familiar terrain, or staying home and breaking in a big new couch that is arriving on Wednesday. Decisions, decisions…what would you do? Local Rainier weather knowledge appreciated.