Over Memorial Day weekend, Louie and I skied Inter Glacier on Mountain Rainier. The road to White River Campground had just opened and we thought it would be the perfect activity for a nice sunny day. The skiing on Mount Ruth ended up being excellent.
From Ruth, we got a good view of one of the famous climbing routes up Rainier — the Emmons. Louie quickly decided that if the weather was right the following weekend, we should go for the summit.
The week went by fast. After prusiking up our deck in Seattle and other creative crevasse rescue refreshers, we found ourselves back at the White River Campground along with our friends, Skyler and Phil. Only now our packs were about 20 pounds heavier.
We left the campground late that morning. Our plan was to get to 9500 feet. After a quick two mile hike and some creek crossing shenanigans, thankfully dry, we were skinning towards Inter Glacier.
We got into Camp Curtis around 5pm, set up our tents, ate dinner, melted water and headed to bed while it was still bright and early.
Getting an alpine start, we headed out of camp at 4am with the sun rising behind us. The snow froze overnight so we threw on our ski crampons and skinned to 11500 feet. Once that high, we transitioned to crampons and booted up until about 14k.
We crossed a few crevasse openings, with solid snow bridges. There was one that really did mess with my mind — it was small enough to easily step over with skis, but looking down into it brought me the chills.
About 500 feet away from the summit, we took a long break and cooked ramen. Phil even took a nap. We summited around 1pm, with spectacular views of St. Helens, Adams, Baker and Glacier Peak, each brilliant with its own beauty.
We were so stoked for the best part — the ski descent! The weather blessed us with freezing levels to about 15k, so only the first ~500 feet was a bit icy. The rest was quite the corn harvest, in some places with mash-potato-e turns that my fatigued legs did not appreciate. But mostly a really fine ski down. We got to camp around 3pm, took a quick nap, packed up and headed back to the car.
We opted for a longer ski and a lower creek crossing, which we very soon came to regret. The river level had risen since our way up, leaving us with less then ideal crossing options. Enjoy the photo below for a good laugh!
Overall, an outstanding trip. We were all stoked to make it to summit, ski, and check Rainier off the list (first time for 3 of us). As I drove to work Monday morning and looked at Rainier from the I-90 bridge, I found it hard to believe that I can now say I’ve been on top of it.
WildSnow Girl, Julia Dubinina, is a weekend warrior chasing snow in winter and sun in summer. A lover of long tours and steep skin tracks, she explores the Pacific Northwest and beyond. When she is not out adventuring, she is working away at her corporate desk job for a software company to make her next adventure happen.