Mount Rainier’s never ending winter

It’s almost time to turn the calendar page to May (if like you actually have one of those printed calendars) but apparently the mountains of the Northwest missed the memo. Tonight’s forecast alone is calling for another foot of snow on the upper slopes of Rainier and Helens with another system on the way just shortly behind it as well. Crazy!

Mount Rainier covered in snow, April 2017

Amazing as the endless snowfall is, it has also made this winter challenging and at times simply frustrating. After all, without many breaks it’s been hard to truly enjoy the mountains either up high thanks to the plentiful and avalanche-prone snowpack or even at lower points where rain has inundated trails.

Snow Views from Mount Rainier

However, on those rare days where the weather has cleared the results have been absolutely spectacular; it’s really beyond words out there. Today was the first time I really got to explore Mount Rainier this season where the snowpack currently sits around 125% of average and is night and day from just a few years ago in the 2014-2015 season without (much of) a winter.

Snow Views from Mount Rainier

Hiking just a few thousand feet up the mountain towards Camp Muir it was stunning to see the impact as snow has filled in much of the massive glaciers, covered every inch of the steep trails many times over, and brought renewed life to the forest and streams lower in the park. Best of all, the snowpack does not just extend out of the parking lot, it remains thousands of feet below it!

Upper Christine Falls in Spring

While I know many people are looking forward to the snow free days of summer to hit the dirt trail there’s really nothing like the view of a snowcapped mountain. Winter will eventually relent and allow for Spring days that are sure to be something else. I can’t wait to get back out there!

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