Interglacier, MRNP, June 21, 2006
With Kevin acting as intermediary, I had arranged to hook up with a couple of his fellow fire fighters for a day trip up the Interglacier. Don was a climber/skier/biker I had heard about for years but had never skied with, while the other turned out to be Eric Lindahl, an old ski friend from way back in the day.
We did a two-part rendezvous in Four Corners and Enumclaw, piled into Don's Cherokee, and headed for the White River Campground. I was hoping for the best on the meteorological front, as earlier in the morning I had noticed heavy fog lower down but clear weather on the Paradise webcam at 5,500 ft, and lo and behold the skies started showing blue as we packed up the gear.
Based on Allyson and Kam's reports from three days before, we decided to go light and fast and leave the glacier gear in the car - our group was pretty well matched from a fitness standpoint, and we made good time up to the start of fairly continuous snow. One brief de-ski to cross a log bridge, and we entered the vast bowl below the Interglacier, which was heavily runnelled and pockmarked.
Once on the snow we started seeing droves of climbers coming down from the Emmons Glacier route - one group had at least 12 people, another roughly 8. Camp Schurman and Emmons Flats were packed as well with people either coming or going, and we watched two Canadian skiers descend from approximately 200 ft. below the summit.
We hit Steamboat Prow at just before 2:00 PM, then ate and drank a bit and took a nap in the warm sun - it doesn't get much better than that!
After chatting with one of the two other sliders up on the Interglacier, we buckled up and got ready for the descent, which turned out to be perfectly softened corn for the first two long pitches. With four strong skiers making their marks, the tracks looked sweet. Lower down, as we dropped below the glacier proper, the surface turned a bit mushy and the runnels a bit choppy (but fortunately soft). We were able to traverse far skier's left in the lower bowl, coming out on the trail and skipping the log bridge on the way down.
We didn't forget to pick up Don's beer that he had submerged in the icy creek, and had no problem simultaneously drinking and walking the last few hundred yards to the car. Skiing on the Solstice . . . cold Budweisers . . . simple pleasures rule the summer!