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Cowadise, MRNP, August 9, 2014

A few weeks previous Alex and I had set out in the general direction of Mt. Rainier's Cowlitz Glacier in the fog, hoping for the best and having the weather fail to deliver. We actually had to rely on my GPS to find our way back to the car in near zero visibility, and suffered from vertigo during the short runs we took.

With glorious weather lined up for the next few days, we headed back up on August 9th with more or less the same objective. A mile plus of hiking from the Fourth Crossing parking area got us to continuous snow, and easy skinning. Alex had borrowed my Mustagh Ata Superlights for the day, and seemed pretty stoked on their lack of weight.

With unlimited visibility, navigation was not an issue, and we booked it to the base of the Paradise Glacier. A quick look down into the Cowlitz basin convinced us the lower part of that glacier would not be skiable, but we skied in the general direction for a short 600 vertical foot run, then skinned back out. Needing more, we headed up the Paradise to the large crevasse at around 8,500 ft. and found it spanning virtually the entire width of the glacier. With no rope and seeing how bare the lower part of Anvil Rock was, we headed back down, notching about 2800 feet of nice corn turns.

All in all, an incredible day in the sun with skis on our feet and no one but goats for company. How lucky can you get?

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