Mount Rainier climbing season is in full swing. We are witnessing an incredible snowpack below 8000 feet including more snow than I have ever seen in July at Paradise. While the lower mountain is way above average for snowpack, the upper mountain is actually a little behind normal.

Last week I met up with Mountain Shop’s long time friend Glenn Kessler (owner of Mountain Savvy avalanche courses and Mount Rainier Climbing Ranger) at Camp Schurman on Mount Rainier. I was able to tag along on a couple of his patrol days. On the Interglacier we were able to assist a climber with an abdominal hernia get back out to the White River Campground. Day two was spent checking in on the 6 or 7 parties we passed heading up the Kautz Glacier Route. We also collected quite a few blue bags (human waste) that climbers carelessly left behind between the Nisqually Glacier and the bottom of the Turtle Snowfield. On the way back down we spent some time maintaining the wanded snow route from Paradise to Pan Point. Mount Rainier National Park’s hiking trails and climbing routes are high traffic areas, so keeping the human impact to a minimum is an important part of the climbing and backcountry rangers job.

While I didn’t get a summit, great weather, 10,000 feet of climbing in two days, and talking to people having a good time (including a Mazamas party with a successful Emmons Glacier climb) made for a great couple of days.

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