Trip Report 26
- Points: 1
- Trip Dates: August, 2000
- Wilderness Area: Mount Rainier
- Wilderness Size: 228,480 acres
- Location: Western Washington
- Destination: Just below Camp Muir
- Total Miles: Approximately 9
- Duration: Day Hike
Locals in Washington often refer to Mount Rainier simply as “The Mountain.” It absolutely dwarfs everything around it. It is 14,411 feet of pure mountain rising all the way up from near sea level. It contains the largest glacial system in the lower 48 states, by far. It is the largest single mountain by volume in the lower 48 states, by far.
Think of this: Mount Rainier and Rocky Mountain National Parks are about the same size. The matriarch peak of Rocky Mountain is Longs Peak which is a formidable and sizeable mountain. But, Longs and its ridges and slopes encompass maybe 5 percent of the land area of Rocky Mountain National Park. Mount Rainier’s slopes, on the other hand, covers probably 50-60 percent of the land area of Mt. Rainier National Park, as evidenced by the map below.
A friend and I set out on a day-hike to Camp Muir at 10,000 feet, which serves as the base camp for most people attempting the summit. We made it to just a couple hundred feet below the camp before turning around because my friend’s boots were soaked through from the Muir Snowfield. Rather than risk frostbite, we stuffed her feet into plastic bags and got down fast.
This hike is a tale of two worlds. The first half is a beautiful, if somewhat steep, hike from Paradise Meadows up to the terminous of the Muir Snowfield. This part is characterized by stunning views of Rainier behind fields and fields of mountain wildflowers as you climb along the well-traveled dirt path.
Then you step on the ice of the Muir Snowfield and for the next 2-3 miles are kicking footsteps in snow and listening to icefalls, like stomach growlings, on the big mountain.
On the way down we slid on shutes of snow–nature’s slides!
The photos above were found on the internet.