Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Tag: Mount Rainier


Amazing Mount Rainier photo

The website is running an awe-inspiring photo depicting the shadow cast as the sun rises behind Mount Rainier. It was taken on the last day of 2012 by Redditor PCloadletter26.

See it here.

I love one of the comments: “Wouldn’t this be sunSET though? I only ask because I thought Tacoma was EAST of Mt. Rainier which would mean this photo is looking WEST (to the setting sun).”

Fortunately, several commenters (some local) set the geographically challenged person straight. I liked this response from SirenTheGeologist: “You probably visited last before the early 80s. After Mt St Helens

Read more »


Little crystals, big bangs: A step toward lahar warnings

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Predicting volcanic eruptions is of more than academic interest in this part of the country.

The Cascade Range contains a string of giant powder kegs – Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier and Mount Baker among them – that can explode with the force of nuclear weapons. Eruptions would be less of a worry if we had some advance warning, but Mother Earth tends to play her cards close to the vest.

Volcanologists may be teasing out some of her secrets, though. An article in last week’s issue of Science magazine described a newly discovered link between underground crystals and the surges of magma that turn snow-covered peaks into steaming, fulminating killers.

Mount St. Helens was the researchers’ test subject. Studying its rocks, a team based at the University of Bristol in England found patterns closely correlated to the volcano’s fits of anger. Their electron microscopes revealed that the tiny “orthopyroxene” crystals were reliable indicators of what the underground magma was up to during their formation.

The chemistry of the crystals reportedly reflected the properties of nearby molten rock, including pressures, vapor content and movement. The scientists matched these profiles with eruptions that occurred between 1980 and 1986. It turned out that crystals formed when the mountain was getting ready to blow up had distinct chemical fingerprints marked by high levels of iron or magnesium.
Read more »


Rescuers deserve more help from lost adventurers

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

This winter has been a killer in Washington’s Cascade Mountains – literally.

In Mount Rainier National Park, a snowshoer died in December and four other people went missing in mid-January and are presumed dead. On Sunday, a snowboarder and three veteran skiers died in backcountry avalanches.

In some of the cases, it’s possible that technology might have been a life-saver – had it been used. The most remarkable survival story is that of professional skier Elyse Saugstad, who credits her specialty air bag with keeping her on top of the avalanche Sunday at Stevens Pass that killed three companions.
Read more »


Access to Rainier’s northwest corner still vital

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Every once in a while, Mount Rainier reminds those living in her shadow that wilderness has its own rules.

So it was in November 2006 when a Pineapple Express dumped 18 inches of rain in 36 hours, forcing a months-long closure of the national park.

The park’s most popular entrance at Nisqually reopened in 2007, but another entrance important to South Puget Sound residents – Carbon River Road – has remained off limits to all but bikers and hikers.

The National Park Service is proposing to leave it that way. Last week, the park service backed a proposal to reopen the road 1.2 miles past the park entrance and convert the rest of the 4.8-mile road to a hiking and biking trail.

Read more »