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Old 02-18-2011, 12:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hiking and riding Muir Snowfield

I already posted something similar in the Location Review forum, but realized this might be a better place.

Any thougths/advice on hiking to Muir and then riding down?

I'm doing it next weekend and I'm just looking for advice/thoughts on how to make the most of it. Are there certain "runs" down that are better than others? Or is there pretty much one way down?

I'll be doing the hike with a group that has done it several times and I will be riding down with my regular snowboard buddy and we both have avy gear...I'm sure several others on the hike have the all the gear as well.

Any advice on the best resource for checking snow and weather conditions leading up to the hike?

Thanks guys!
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Old 02-18-2011, 03:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm guessing you have a splitty and skins? If not, then stick to Mazama Ridge for sure. The hike up in the middle of winter can be pretty brutal if you're just boot packing. The ridge is much more accessible for a boot pack than Camp Muir proper. I would imagine Rainier should have some fresh pow for you though, so get up there and enjoy! I love paradise and I bet you will too.
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Old 02-18-2011, 04:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm guessing you have a splitty and skins? If not, then stick to Mazama Ridge for sure. The hike up in the middle of winter can be pretty brutal if you're just boot packing. The ridge is much more accessible for a boot pack than Camp Muir proper. I would imagine Rainier should have some fresh pow for you though, so get up there and enjoy! I love paradise and I bet you will too.
Just boots with my board on my pack....I'll have collapsible poles too, but no skins or snowshoes.

I'm rolling up with a pretty big group that has done this before (some are very experienced) so I assume they are taking us up something that is doable without skins because I know several people in the group are doing the same as me.

So is Mazama ridge just a different route up, or a completely different destination? It sounds like the plan is to start at Paradise and hike to Muir, so is that going to be a brutal hike? The guy leading it told me it was totally doable in boots (that's what he's doing), but maybe they've never taking the group this time of year??? Hmmmm....now you got me wondering
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Old 02-18-2011, 04:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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No skins or snowshoes, I would stay lower. The hike itself is not terrible, but when you add in snow it can become quite the challenge. Mazama Ridge is just one of the zones in the Paradise area. If you are totally familiar and comfortable with bootpacking in the middle of winter, then go for it. However, if you don't feel like hiking for hours on end just to board down a 20-30 minute ride, I would find a nice spot at lower elevation and just play there. This is what me and my friends do when we hike up at Paradise. Muir is to far away for us since we don't have skins or snowshoes. There are plenty of cliffs and rocks and open pow fields without going all the way to Muir.
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Old 02-18-2011, 04:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Cool, thanks for the advice. I guess if the snow is deep and the hike is too tough, then I'll just have to settle for some deep snow a little lower...I'd love to settle for some deep snow.

BTW - are you the guy that I've seen post about doing Chill at the pass? I volunteered at Chill two years ago and my buddy that's doing the hike with me still helps with Chill on Tuesdays.
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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No problem on the advice, but I have no clue what Chill is. I'm just a guy in Washington that loves to ride.
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Old 02-18-2011, 06:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hmmm...I'm either imagining things, or there is someone else on this forum that mentioned it.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Snowolf - I appreciate the info. I am starting to gather my own information about this trip and definitely have some questions for the organizer before I decide I'm actually going. This is the first time I've really considered doing the hike so I didn't know anything about it until I started poking around last week. From the pictures I've seen of previous trips this group has taken, and hearing from frieds that have gone, I assumed it was a pretty basic day hike. From what I am reading it sounds like it is definitely more serious than that...espciall in the winter.

I know some of the people on this hike are pretty experienced with this stuff so I'd be suprised if they do anything stupid, but I also haven't seen anyone mention it being contigent on the weather. From the sound of it, this hike is one that you should diffinetly call of if some weather is moving in.

Again, thanks for the info. I'm going to make sure I'm educated before I join the group. However, it does make me worry that the rest of the group could get into something they aren't expecting.
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:37 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Yep - I am definitely going to make my own decision now that I realize it's more than a just a long, thigh burning day hike. I've already been checking out the turns all year site and there is some good stuff on there...thanks!
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Old 02-27-2011, 05:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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So I ended up doing the hike after talking with the leader and checking the weather. We also made sure everyone had snowshoes since there was way too much snow last week to do the hike without.

We had a great hike up...I swear the sun followed us the whole way. Although, the hike did show me how out of shape I am. We got to about 8,800 feet and decided to turn back because the weather was changing and the winds were pretty high once we got over the ridge approaching anvil rock (I think that's what its called).

The descent was fun for a little while until we got down into some clouds and heavy snow. Visibility wasn't great so we had to take it slow and took a very conservative line near all the tracks up. There was so much snow we ended up having to hike down some of the flat sections because the visibility didn't allow us to keep our speed up the whole way down.

All in all, it was a fun day (despite the dissapointing descent) and I was glad the whole group played it smart. The paradise aread looks awesome for some BC fun, but but I need to learn more about avy safety and get more experience before messing around with any of the steep stuff.

Thanks for the thoughts and advice guys.
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