May 06, 2012
- Type of Outing
- Snowshoe/XC Ski
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Camp Muir
- Region: Mt. Rainier -- SE - Longmire / Paradise
- Agency: Longmire Wilderness Information Center
- Avg Rating: 4.06
- Be Aware Of
- Snow on trail
- Avalanche danger
Just before we headed up here for some backcountry ski conditioning ahead of more ambitious trips to come, snow had fallen as low as Longmire. Paradise had clearly gotten more than a dusting, and the snowfield? Well, the slightly flatter area just below the final pitch to Camp Muir has filled in so much that you can't see the camp until you're within 100-200 vertical feet of it. I've never seen it mounded up this high.
Despite the late snow, avvy conditions seemed pretty stable, with one notable exception: east-facing slopes. They're still prone to wet slides, some significant in size.
Footing to the camp isn't bad, mostly because there's so much traffic up here. The entire route was teeming with people. Step off the beaten path, though, and you're knee deep in wet, heavy snow. In fact, it's more like a snow cone than a snow field, so watch your step or bring the snowshoes.
Many people on the trail reported a shortage of oxygen. The effect was localized and mostly occurred within 1,000' of Camp Muir itself.