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Paradise Glacier, MRNP, May 22, 2007

The road to Paradise had been open for three weekends already and I hadn't been back, so when Kevin and I noticed a one day window of nice weather for Tuesday, we seized it and headed south to Rainier. As usual, the four hours of sleep after a Monday night late shift seemed inadequate, and several infusions of double short latte were needed to keep our program moving forward.

We arrived at Paradise around 11:30 AM, found parking across from the construction zone, and noticed the high cloud cover starting to break and spots of blue sky appearing. Several skiers were already calling it a day as we geared up and started skinning from the lot. A surprising number of people appeared on the trail as we gained elevation, but all of them were headed to Muir, so we veered off to the right toward the Paradise Glacier, topping out at about 9,500 ft.

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A couple inches of fresh snow with a decided wind-blown texture made for some challenging turns at the top, but it was all untracked and the scenery was superb. It was nice to be back on Rainier after a six-month leave of absence. We had thought about detouring into Edith Creek Basin to finish the ski, but the four or five inches of fresh snow was rapidly turning to mush in the sixty-degree sun and it was all we could manage to straightline the climber's trail to make it back to the car.

The friendly baristess at Whitaker's Bunkhouse, which consistently delivers great espresso, remembered my order from the morning - "Didn't you order a double short latte before?" - and Mr. Lou himself gave us a nod and "How's it going?" as we wandered into the cafe.

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