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Rainier officials warn of hazardous conditions on Muir Snowfield

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on Aug. 25, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
August 25, 2009 4:01 pm

Mount Rainier National Park officials are warning hikers and climbers that the Muir Snowfield has melted out early this season adding additional challenges to the route to Camp Muir.

According to a statement released by the park today there is exposed bare glacier ice and crevasses above 8,200 feet on the route. The steep slope – 25-30 degrees in some areas could make the route slippery and hazardous.

According to the park’s statement, “There have been numerous cases this year of slips that have caused fairly severe abrasions. Also this year, the exposed ice from 9,500 feet to 10,100 feet has opened up crevasses that require skill and care in safely picking out circuitous routes which avoid the open cracks in the ice. Over the years, people have found themselves injured by falling in the crevasses or left dangling above them.”

If you are planning to hike to Camp Muir, park officials recommend doing the following:

- Get the latest route conditions at the Climbing Information Center in Paradise (360-569-6009) or the Wilderness Information Center in Longmire (360-569-HIKE, 360-569-4453).

- Carry and use crampons and an ice axe.

- Cover all skin with durable full-length pants and long-sleeve shirts.

- Download the Muir Route Bearing Sheet.

- Carry a map, GPS, and compass, and know how to use them. Track your route on the way up, trackback on the descent.

- Travel to Camp Muir with someone.

- The only anchors that work in the glacier ice are ice screws, should you choose to belay over the crevasses with a short section of rope.

- Get up-to-date forecasts and prepare for cold, wet weather.

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