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Trip Report    

Mount Rainier/Fuhrer Finger

Successful summit via this early season route.

  • Sat, May 4, 2019 — Sun, May 5, 2019
  • Mount Rainier/Fuhrer Finger
  • Climbing
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Ascent.  Followed a good boot track from camp across the Wilson Glacier.  Initially missed the turn up to the Fuhrer Finger entrance but corrected by switchbacking upslope.  Followed mostly good steps up the couloir proper. 

    Sun-up as we gained the edge of the upper Nisqually Glacier.  There was one more steep section that required negotiating some crevasses.  Snow got progressively softer as the day progressed.  The rest of the way to the summit crater was just a slog.  First team at the summit around noon. IMG_3080.jpg Very windy and cold at the summit.  Tried to get out of the wind.  Some of the team started to get cold so we did not stay long at the crater.

    Descent.  From the SE crater rim we headed down toward Camp Muir, eventually picking up the Ingraham Direct route, which was well-wanded and provided an established bootpath.  Soft snow down both the ID and Muir Snowfield.

    Time: 6h20m Paradise to camp.  9h20m camp to summit.  5h30m summit to Paradise.

General Activity Notes:

Paradise ranger station open at 7:00am on weekends.  We were able to get a walk-up camping permit.  Party of four, making two rope teams of 2.

Approach conditions:

Followed the Skyline Trail to Glacier Vista and then down to the Nisqually Glacier.  Crossed the glacier between the rock band and the ice fall, following a good boot track.  Initially, firm snow conditions made good boottracking but as we approached the Wilson Glacier warming temperatures increased the degree of postholing.  Climbing the edge of the Wilson Glacier up to the ridgeline we abandoned the ski/boot track and kicked our own steps directly up to the ridge.  A group of Seattle Mountaineers passed us on the way up to the ridgeline.  Snow conditions on the ridge were better.  Made the bivy site at 9200 feet (“the Castle”) around 3:00pm.  Several other parties camped here. Seattle group moved up to camp a little higher.IMG_3068.jpg

Permits required?

MRNP entrance fee.  Individual climbing permit.  Group climbing permit. Wilderness camping permit.

Driving / parking notes:

Parked in Paradise overnight lot.

Equipment notes: 

Carried and used ropes (2-30m), ice axe, crampons. avy beacons, poles. Carried but did not use pickets.  Elected to not carry snowshoes, ice screws or second ice tool.  Snowshoes would have been beneficial in the afternoon of day 1, and the descent from Pan Point on day 2 but were not otherwise needed on day 2 – we correctly assessed that we would have had to carry them over the summit.  Second tool was not needed on FF route.  May be of some benefit earlier in the season with harder snow conditions.  Had problems with one of our two stoves, surprisingly the liquid fuel stove was problematic while the canister stove worked fine.

Required Skills:

Snow & glacier climbing skills.  Route-finding.

Weather Notes: 

Day 1: mostly sunny and clear.  Unseasonably warm (55F at Camp Muir).  Night temp just above freezing at camp.

Day 2:  mostly sunny; windy on the summit.  Unseasonably warm (57F at Camp Muir).