4/25-26 Mt. Rainier Fuhrer Finger
Mt. Rainier has some really great ski lines on all sides of the mountain. The only thing stopping people from skiing them is the prerequisite mountaineering skills required, as well as the motivation it takes to climb for 2 days to reach the top of the mountain.
We started at the Paradise parking lot at 3 pm and made our way across the scorching hot Nisqually glacier. We roped up for glacier travel and made our way slowly to our bivy at 8,500 ft. We had an awesome campsite, with a great view of the Kautz ice cliff and the Wilson glacier.
Brad here was a part of the Olympia Mountaineers, I think they would be proud of him.We left our bivy at 4 am and headed up, first roped up on the glacier, then unroped for the climb up the coulior. The snow was not quite consolidated enough for easy climbing, many energy consuming postholes took up lots of time.
At the top of the 2,000 foot coulior known as the Fuhrer Finger, Ryan started to get some acute mountain sickness. he huddled down in a bivy sack under some seracs at 13,000 feet while Brad and I continued towards the top.
We were about 200 vertical feet from the summit when we saw the lenticular cloud forming. Violent 70 mph gusts were trying to sweep us off the mountain. Every time we saw a gust coming all we could do was hunker down in self arrest position, laying flat on the snow so we didn't get blown off the mountain.
We got ready to ski as quick as possible, the threat of whiteout was great. The top of rainier is not a place you want to be in those conditions. We skied down from 14,000 feet on wind buffed snow. It reminded me of my time living in Mammoth and the eastern sierra, and riding Dave's Run.
Once we made it in the coulior proper, the snow softened to a nice corn consistency. We made many awesome, steep exposed turns above rocks and cliffs all the way down to the Wilson glacier.
The ride down the glacier was great. Fully satisfied with the day and the 9,000 vertical foot run we just got, we ascended out of the Nisqually basin and rode back to the Paradise parking lot.