Here are some pictures and video I took when Mike, Alex, Helton, James and I hiked onto the Carbon Glacier at Mt. Rainier...  This is pretty much an annual trip for us in the late February/early March season.  The snow is nice and deep, there's enough chill to keep most people away, plus we try to time it during the full moon.  Mike brings his snowboard along - and weather permitting, likes to do midnight runs under the bright moon.  This year, it's just daytime though, but he shared his board with the rest of us in order to give us a taste of what we were missing.

The hike is relatively easy, depending on where you can start.  The road from the Carbon River entrance to the park is prone to washouts, and is sometimes completely closed.  This year, it was closed starting at the Ranger Falls trailhead due to snow.  This added about 2 miles to the approach.  Also this year, the deep snow in the upper riverbed made sticking to the trail completely optional, making the approach that much easier.  Indeed, numerous avalanches on the upper trail, made that route very difficult.  This year, Helten and myself started a bit after noon, and selected a base camp on the lower glacier a little after 3:00.  The others were getting a later start, and would have to headlamp.  Mike was the first to show up, a little after 8:30, cursing the scree on the upper trail.  Alex and a completely whipped James finally made it in at around 10:00.  None of them trusted the tracks on the river trail in the dark, and stuck with what they knew - which was very difficult going.

Click this link to view a profile of the trail on a topographic map.  Click on the thumbnails in order to view the pictures full size.  The video is in Windows Media for Video (WMV), click here if you need to download the viewer...

The hike in... - This was the view for us as we rounded the trail to enter the upper Carbon river basin.  Thick avalanche scree forced us down onto the riverbed, which actually made it easier going due to a pretty deep snow pack under an afternoon sun.  But damn, we didn't have to use the cable suspension bridge, a hallmark of the trail!

Looking up the Carbon River to the glacier and Mt. Rainier...

Our base camp...I took this shot looking back at our camp on the lower glacier.  It was kind of nice to be all warm, fed, and bedded in while we watched the rest make their way up the river under headlamp.  It was actually worth digging out the three platforms.  I also took this video (4.1 meg) once our tents were set up, and we were settled in...

Looking back down the river from our base camp on the glacier...

The first morning... - After a great breakfast of blueberry pancakes (courtesy of Mike), and hot chocolate, we all built day packs and headed up the glacier for a day of trekking.  Mike took his snowboard with the goal of hiking as high on the glacier as he could, and boarding down.  I took this shot as I brought up rear as we headed out.  Looking up the trail is James, Alex and Helten.  Mike is already over a knoll.  I also took this video (1.6 meg) as everyone heads for a day of fun in the sun...

We head up for a day of trekking and snowboarding...

Snowboarding... - Let the snowboarding begin!  About 500 vertical feet up from camp, Mike chooses to do a nice easy first run to warm up.  Taking about 200 vertical feet, he makes some nice turns through the snow dunes.  I took these shots during the run.

We also caught these efforts on tape:

Mike's first run on tape (1.2 meg)...
Helten's first run (1 meg)...
My first run (2.4 meg)...
Mike's second run (1 meg)...
Mike's third run (2.3 meg), where he performs an awesome face plant for us (925K)...

 

Mike surfing the glacier...

Mike surfing the glacier...

Mike posing following a run...

On the flats... - At about the 5500 foot level, the glacier flattens out a bit, showing the expanse all the way to the base of Mt. Rainier.  I took this shot as Mike and Helten play near a series of seracs.  Before they wandered up, we did make some time to play...

Mt. Rainier from the Carbon Glacier...

More snowboarding... - We settle in at about the 5800 foot level to toss a frisbee, and to try more boarding.  I took this shot of Alex, in his first attempt at snowboarding ever, as he tries to take Mike out!  He actually did pretty good, once he threw down the ski poles!  We also caught some great video:
Helton tries again, but performs a pretty spectacular face plant of his own (1.9 meg)...
Mike tapes me as I do my last run (1.8 meg) - I stopped because I saw a camera in the snow, now where did that come from?
Mike hiked up into the lower seracs, and does a serac run that is pretty cool to watch (4.8 meg)...

 

Alex' first ever snowboard run as he tries to take out Mike...

Into the seracs... - After we were done playing, Mike and Helten hiked up into the seracs for some pictures, plus Mike was getting ready for his magnum opus, the board run from the top of the glacier.  I took these shots while they were standing around...

After about an hour of farting around in the seracs, Helten headed down, and Mike continued up.  The sun was starting to get low, and a breeze was kicking up causing it to get colder.  Finally, I was able to get Mike's decent in three scenes, the start (9.9 meg), the middle (7.8 meg), and the last part (11.3 meg)...  After doing this taping, Mike certainly owed us after that!

Once we all got back down to the camp, it was nice warm meals, and 2 hours of Pitch for Mike, Helten and myself.

Mike and Helton play in the seracs...

Closer up of Mike and Helton in the seracs...

Heading out Sunday... - On Sunday, we all slept in until around 7:30, and then began the process of packing up to head out.  During the activities, Mike taped the ritual drinking of the Murphy's (3.1 meg), whose honor it was for James to perform.  I also made some tape as we broke the camp down (2.1 meg)...

We finally started heading down at around 9, with myself and Alex taking the lead.  Mike, Helten and James stuck around for bit at the terminus for pictures, and to explore some.  We got back to the cars at around 10:30 - with everyone else showing up by 11:00.  On to Alex's for pizza and beer - woohoo!

 

Back to Tom in the mountains...

 

Home - Contact - Search - Guest Book - What's Tom Up To

All content on this page is Copyright 2004, and can not be reproduced without the expressed permission of themarxes.us.

Accumulated page views since July 18, 2002: Hit Counter