Muir Snowfield splitboarding - February 2002

I met Scott, Alison and Ryan at the Houghton (Kirkland) Park 'N Ride and together we set off for Mt. Rainier. Upon reaching Paradise, a stiff 40mph wind was blowing. We were not to be deterred and headed for Panorama Point, myself on skins (first time w/ split) and Scott, Alison and Ryan on snowshoes. The wind was fiercest at the top of Panorama Point and the slope quickly turned to wind-blown ice. Traversing the slope with the wide splitboard skis was becoming impossible and I had to borrow Scott's crampons at the most inopportune moment. I eventually reached the Muir Snowfield and put the skis back on. We gained about another thousand feet before the wind stopped blowing. Ryan, was way ahead of us at this point.

We continued on for some distance before Scott, Alison and I stopped at around 9,000 ft; it was nearing 4:00pm and the remaining 1,400 ft to Camp Muir appeared to be more ice than powder. Ryan pressed on and we decided to wait for him to return before starting our descent. The ride down involved mostly 3 - 4 inches of dry powder over wind-blown crust...with the occasional hidden band of ice strategicaly located so as to inflict maximum pain. Soon we were back in the wind-zone, and the powder gave way to glistening slopes of ice. We traversed carefully back over to Panorama Point and made a few nice turns in the wind-deposited powder in the lower bowl. All in all, the splitboard performed quite well and I was impressed with the way it rode.



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