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Trip Report    

Mazama Ridge (Mount Rainier)

Party of 8 for a snowshoe day trip at Mazama Ridge, originally planned as overnight but reduced day trip due to forecast of rain and 30+ mph winds (near gale) Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Conditions were sunny and warm most of the day, with blue skies, still air, and clear views. The snow was firm with few inches of softer new snow on top. Full sun and warm temperatures made heat an issue, and most of the party quickly shed all but their base layers. On gaining the ridge we turned north and sauntered passed the Stevens-Van Trump Monument to a comfortable perch near Point 6252 where we enjoyed a leisurely lunch while taking in the views, which included distant Mt. Adams and St. Helens. A snow bunny was constructed to commemorate the Easter holiday. Our return route circumnavigated of northern tip of the Mazama Ridge plateau before heading back down to the TH. We were back at the cars by approx 3:30, by which time the sky had become near solid overcast with patches of darkness, signs that the forecasted storm was indeed approaching.

During the day we observed two large avalanches high on the mountain near the Nisqually and Cowlitz cleavers. Both were loud and accompanied by large debris clouds. Large cornices were observed overhanging most east-facing slopes, and evidence of recent slab avalanche releases and wet slides were also seen on several east-facing slopes. At lower elevations several large rollers were observed along E and SE facing slopes.