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Biff Tannen

Mount Rainier NP

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First, is it possible the search on Surly is even worse than the one on the Shag?  I could have sworn we talked about this already.  Maybe the thread didn't make the jump. 

Anyway, headed to Rainier for just a single day in two weeks.  It will be a Wednesday, so hopefully less crowded than normal, though it is the week before July 4.

 

Planning on doing a hike or two in the Carbon River area, as that seems to be the closest to Seattle driving-wise.  Should I forget that and go to Sunrise or Paradise instead?

I know there's an 8 mile gravel road driving to Mowich Lake, which gives me pause, as that may take a while and blow my timing anyway.

 

Thoughts?

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Paradise is awesome on a clear day. That's the tricky part. You just never know. You can do a nice hike to the Muir snowfield and turn around or to panorama point. Might be all the same loop melted out.  

If it's a dreary day,  do the comet falls hike.  Start at Christine falls parking area. Just ask rangers if the log bridge is in place toward the end. 

 

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Good advice from Butch.

If it's a nice day, go to Paradise for the views and some easy hikes, or just keep going up to Muir.  If you get high enough (heh), you can turn around and see St. Helens, Adams, and Hood to the south.  Pinnacle Peak is a steep hike with nice views, starting from Reflection Lake.

I like Paradise more than Sunrise; your pictures will turn out better because the sun is behind you at Paradise.

If it's bad weather, do one of the lower, foresty hikes, like Comet Falls.

 

And on your way back to civilization, stop at the Copper Creek Inn for blackberry milkshakes or pie.  If you ask nicely, they will put a piece of blackberry pie in a blender with ice cream, and make that a milkshake.

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So google claims both Paradise and Sunrise are roughly 30 min longer drive from Seattle than Mowich Lake.  Worth it?  I'm guessing so.  Spray Falls and Tolmie Peak Fire Lookout were my original plans for Carbon River.

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I did Paradise and “The Grove of the Patriarchs” two years ago. Had the older part of the family with me so it was a very light outside day. Weather was wet and cloudy but doable. I am planning on going back to do the Northern Loop Trail and Natural Bridge 

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What Mig wrote.   Don't skip the blackberry milkshake at Copper Creek Inn.   You'll go out the western side when you're done to get there.   Keep in mind that you'll do 20-30 MPH in the park.   There are some really pretty sections of road that can be a little white knuckle, especially if you go through Stevens Canyon.   If you do leave through the west side, that's where Copper Creek is.   You'd take WA7 back to I-5 in Tacoma.   When you get to Tacoma, you'd be right near downtown and could hit the Harmon Brewery or gown down Shuster Parkway and go to Duke's.  If you go out the north side, there's not a lot.    The Naches Tavern is pretty close to the park exit and it's ok.  You could take 410 all the way to Puyallup and go to Powerhouse Brewpub.  

If you go to the Sunrise side, get there early.  And I mean as close to sunrise (time not location) as you can.  That parking lot is a lot smaller than the Paradise side and it fills up.   The Paradise side has a lot more parking but some of it is a ways from the trail heads.   Granted, you're fixing to do about 1500-2000 feet of elevation change during your hike so what's another 1/4 mile from the car to the trail head, right?  Personally, I prefer being on trail right at sunrise.  Watching the sun come up and reflect off the Mountain is a sight unto itself. 

Paradise side has the main lodge with a snack bar/lunch grab and go plus a full dining room.   The Sunrise side has a grill.  And yes, they sell Rainier beer at the grill. 

With only one day and assuming it's clear do either of these.

Paradise side - Panorama Point.  The view can not be beaten.  You can sort of do this as a loop going up along the glacier side and down along the Golden Gate trail. 

Sunrise side - Mt. Fremont Lookout.  It's an out and back hike to an old fire service lookout.  If it's clear, you can see downtown Seattle, Vancouver Island, Mt. Baker and Glacier Peak.  The hike itself it pretty much looking at the Mountain for the first half or so.   But once you get on the spur to the lookout, you start to get glimpses off to the N/NW.   The end of the trail is amazing.   The view from Panorama Point might be better but Mt. Fremont has a special place in my heart.   It's where my ashes will be spread.

If it's cloudy, then do Comet Falls.  But definitely call the Ranger station and check on the bridge.   If it's out, you're not going to get to the falls.   The parking area is REALLY small.   Maybe 12-15 spaces.   If you don't get there early, you're out of luck.  The latest I've ever gotten there and found a spot was maybe 7:45.   If you're adventurous, you can take the switchbacks up to Van Trump Park.   You get above the Falls and can see the Mountain if the clouds break.  

Suggestion....   Hydrate and more than you think.   It might seem like you don't but even when it's 70 degrees (or cooler) you're going to need a lot of liquid.   Worst hike of my life was getting up to Van Trump after going to Comet Falls.   Right as I got back to the switchback area, my calves crapped up big time.   I had about 10 ounces of water left.    The trip down and then along the creek was miserable.   Took at least twice as long as it should have. 

Edited by Macanudo

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What's the logistics of tacking this on to our next trip to Seattle? Wife goes to Seattle for work occasionally and we keep talking about going there on a long weekend. Would a weekend be enough time there to get most of it in?

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If you want a little longer hike and want to try your nerves, go hike up to the Tahoma creek suspension bridge. If it is rainy or windy it will scare the shit out of you. If you like that stuff.

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1 hour ago, mdmost said:

What's the logistics of tacking this on to our next trip to Seattle? Wife goes to Seattle for work occasionally and we keep talking about going there on a long weekend. Would a weekend be enough time there to get most of it in?

It all depends on what you want to do.   I suggest looking into a cabin.   Cooper Creek has some nice ones but usually require a two night stay.   Crystal Mountain has some rooms that you might be able to get for one night.   Even just one full day on the Mountain is worth it.   2 full days gives you plenty.   The big key is weather.   We were there last July on the Sunrise side in the morning and it was almost freezing and cloudy.  It got above 45 by noon.   The Paradise side was partly cloudy and 60-65 around 4:00.  

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23 hours ago, Butch Had Not said:

If you want a little longer hike and want to try your nerves, go hike up to the Tahoma creek suspension bridge. If it is rainy or windy it will scare the shit out of you. If you like that stuff.

How are the views?

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Just now, Biff Tannen said:

How are the views?

It's one of those cloudy day hikes. You spend most of the time in the forest and on the creek dodging boulders but when you get to the bridge you can see up to the mountain and several hundred feet down to the bottom on the creek. It's pretty cool experience. 

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On 6/14/2018 at 8:11 AM, miguelito said:

Good advice from Butch.

If it's a nice day, go to Paradise for the views and some easy hikes, or just keep going up to Muir.  If you get high enough (heh), you can turn around and see St. Helens, Adams, and Hood to the south.  Pinnacle Peak is a steep hike with nice views, starting from Reflection Lake.

I like Paradise more than Sunrise; your pictures will turn out better because the sun is behind you at Paradise.

If it's bad weather, do one of the lower, foresty hikes, like Comet Falls.

 

And on your way back to civilization, stop at the Copper Creek Inn for blackberry milkshakes or pie.  If you ask nicely, they will put a piece of blackberry pie in a blender with ice cream, and make that a milkshake.

Am I seeing correctly that the road from Longmire to Paradise doesn't open until 9am?  Is it possible to get to Paradise earlier than that without staying the night before?

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Having tried to climb Rainier twice without success, be sure you have your Wheaties before heading up to Muir and know how to get up and more importantly how to get down.  The real danger on Rainier is above Muir but if you get off the slog up to Muir and make a wrong turn it can be trouble.  It isn't like you can see the trail all the way from Paradise to Muir.  I guess I really didn't look around much I just followed the boots in front of me until we got close.  The first time I tried the climb, we had snow pack from the bottom all the way.  The second time the snow started about after an hour climb.  The weather changes real quickly so be prepared.  Have fun

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14 hours ago, Biff Tannen said:

Am I seeing correctly that the road from Longmire to Paradise doesn't open until 9am?  Is it possible to get to Paradise earlier than that without staying the night before?

That's normally just during winter.  check the Ranger phone line (360.569.2211)for road conditions.   I've never been up there in June or july and had the road closed .

N ow....  Sunrise, that's a different story. 

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3 hours ago, Litig8r said:

Having tried to climb Rainier twice without success, be sure you have your Wheaties before heading up to Muir and know how to get up and more importantly how to get down.  The real danger on Rainier is above Muir but if you get off the slog up to Muir and make a wrong turn it can be trouble.  It isn't like you can see the trail all the way from Paradise to Muir.  I guess I really didn't look around much I just followed the boots in front of me until we got close.  The first time I tried the climb, we had snow pack from the bottom all the way.  The second time the snow started about after an hour climb.  The weather changes real quickly so be prepared.  Have fun

We tried the disappointment clever route,  had to stop right at the ingraham glacier ( i think that's the one) due to severe avalanche conditions. 

https://www.mountainguides.com/wordpress/2010/06/08/img-news/avalanche-on-mt-rainier-june-5th-2010/

 

I was here three days later. 

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I tried the clever both times.  First time I got spooked stumbling around at the clever.  Second time we had 70 mph winds at the clever.    First time was RMI, second time IMG.  I liked IMG and their plan much better.  One thing I can vouch for is the chicks who guide are some the fittest women on the planet.  Mt. Rainier is a real moutain.  Wish I had gotten into climbing earlier.  Guess that bastard will whip me

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We went with RMI. Since I was coming from Arizona and had planned the trip out for months,  canceling wasn't an option and rmi wasn't refunding but they would allow a fee free reschedule if you didn't summit.  That's great for someone living in Bellevue but not realistic for me. 

I was in great shape though and would have been fine as I had climbed some decent mountains getting ready for it.  It was a shame.  Now I'm a middle aged father who is 35 lbs heavier. 

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On 6/14/2018 at 7:11 AM, miguelito said:

Good advice from Butch.

If it's a nice day, go to Paradise for the views and some easy hikes, or just keep going up to Muir.  If you get high enough (heh), you can turn around and see St. Helens, Adams, and Hood to the south.  Pinnacle Peak is a steep hike with nice views, starting from Reflection Lake.

I like Paradise more than Sunrise; your pictures will turn out better because the sun is behind you at Paradise.

If it's bad weather, do one of the lower, foresty hikes, like Comet Falls.

 

And on your way back to civilization, stop at the Copper Creek Inn for blackberry milkshakes or pie.  If you ask nicely, they will put a piece of blackberry pie in a blender with ice cream, and make that a milkshake.

Going early tomorrow morning.  Forecast says mostly sunny, high of 52.  Hoping for smaller crowds since it is Wednesday.  Hoping to do Skyline Trail in the morning and then Reflection Lake after lunch.  Definitely hitting Copper Creek Inn on the way out.

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Good luck, we're all counting on you.

Actually let us know how it is.  I'll be there next week if the weather is ok. We'll probably just walk around Paradise and maybe some of the Comet Falls trail.

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On 6/26/2018 at 12:24 PM, Biff Tannen said:

Going early tomorrow morning.  Forecast says mostly sunny, high of 52.  Hoping for smaller crowds since it is Wednesday.  Hoping to do Skyline Trail in the morning and then Reflection Lake after lunch.  Definitely hitting Copper Creek Inn on the way out.

How was the trip?

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How was the trip?


Still out here. Tapa won't let me upload photos. Luckily the weather cooperated and we got clear views at Paradise. Still pretty snowy.

Hiked up to Panaorama Point through the snow. Took quite a while, but well worth it.

Copper Creek Inn was a great way to end the day too.

I'm back home on Tuesday so I'll try and post pics then.

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Awesome.  Hopefully you were able to see St. Helens, Adams, and Hood from Panorama Point. 

How bad was the snow?  I'll probably be at Paradise on Thursday.

 

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Awesome.  Hopefully you were able to see St. Helens, Adams, and Hood from Panorama Point. 
How bad was the snow?  I'll probably be at Paradise on Thursday.
 


Nothing too bad. Made it fine without microspikes. Just a couple of slips. It's probably going to be way more melted out by the time you get there.

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Damn, just saw your pics, Biff.  Nice job! 

I have pics from 7/5/18.  They are the same as yours, but not as good. 

With mother-in-law, we just walked the Alta Vista trail a little ways in, over to Myrtle Falls.  Still lots of snow on the trails, but easy to walk over with decent shoes. 

Had a late lunch at Copper Creek, and a blackberry pie milkshake.   I didn't have Elysian, though; I went with Alaskan Amber.

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All this quarantine life with the wife and kid around 24/7 has got me itching for a solo Wonderland Trail trip. Been watching videos on YouTube of the trail and it looks like an amazing solitary experience. 

Has anyone done partial or full trail?

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19 hours ago, Butch Had Not said:

All this quarantine life with the wife and kid around 24/7 has got me itching for a solo Wonderland Trail trip. Been watching videos on YouTube of the trail and it looks like an amazing solitary experience. 

Has anyone done partial or full trail?

Just a small part as an "out and back" from Mowich lake... Totally worth going (particularly as a "quarantine buster")

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19 hours ago, Butch Had Not said:

All this quarantine life with the wife and kid around 24/7 has got me itching for a solo Wonderland Trail trip. Been watching videos on YouTube of the trail and it looks like an amazing solitary experience. 

Has anyone done partial or full trail?

My buddy runs this site.  Should be helpful.

https://www.cleverhiker.com/blog/wonderland-trail-backpacking-quick-guide

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8 hours ago, Butch Had Not said:

That was a nice site. Lot of info. Has he done all those trips?

I believe he has.  Lately he's had a few guest bloggers, but the older ones are all him.

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2 hours ago, Biff Tannen said:

I believe he has.  Lately he's had a few guest bloggers, but the older ones are all him.

I need to rethink my life and this stupid desk job. People like your friend,  I envy and wish I could have possibly gone on a different path.  

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3 minutes ago, Butch Had Not said:

I need to rethink my life and this stupid desk job. People like your friend,  I envy and wish I could have possibly gone on a different path.  

It's never too late.  I was slated to hike the PCT this spring before the virus (and a couple of other life issues) made me bail.  It's still on my list, in sections, if not all in one season.  Even if you just want to get out for a week or two to the wilderness, or wherever, it's just about taking the plunge.  

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