My friend Andrew North came up with a brilliant idea to do some ski exploration in the
Tatoosh Range just south of Mount Rainier, in the Mt Rainier National Park.


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We cowboy-camped near the Visitor Centre and woke up to a beautiful view of the mountain.
For those who've never seen this, this is Mount Rainier, the highest peak in the Cascade Range at
14,410 ft. More on the mountain HERE or HERE .
That's Andrew North in the orange belay jacket.


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Andrew and Mark Carpenter having a bite of breakfast.


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I love these maps inside all of the National parks I've ever been in. I bet there's an entire class
in geology school on how to make mountain models in papier-mache. The front part of the map
is where we were focused - Paradise Park and the Tatoosh range. We wound up just east of Pinnacle Peak.


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We saw a few of these guys in the morning.


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You can almost see the peak here.


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From the visitor center, I took a shot of the Castle, the double peak in the centre-left here. This
is where we wound up skiing.


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Mark and Andrew getting ready for a day on the slopes. I might add that I had my Beyond Fleece
shell before Mark bought his. And my pockets are cooler. And my dad could kick his dad's butt.


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It turned out that we skied a short slope and then wound up on the Steven's Canyon road (closed)
for a mile before getting to the Reflection Lakes, where we headed up the snow.


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Fog, fog, fog. I thought we'd just sort out where we're going based on what we could see. Not the
best idea Magellan. Thankfully, there was a very helful experienced crew ahead of us and we took
advantage of the skin track.


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The skin track makers from Seattle. Don't worry, we also put time in making track, but on the
other side of the ridge.


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First tracks on snow! This is why we earn our turns.


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If you look closely, you can see Andrew tele-ing a little out of control and Mark fighting the
heavy snow. Of course, if I had actually asked, I would have found out that it was only Mark's
9th time skiing ever. Yeah, nice job big dog. In his words though, "I can ski groomers my whole
life and never learn how to ski this. The way to learn is to do it." Good call!


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We made it atop the Castle saddle and then dropped the other side 1000 feet or so heading towards the
Butter Creek drainage. Visibility was not spectacular, but it afforded a decent view where we broke
for lunch.


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Andrew and Mark making their way down the slopes.


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Andrew, looking a little bit dainty.


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Andrew North.


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Mark Carpenter looking like he's got something not quite out.


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We almost had a view of Rainier from the saddle again, but then it fogged out again.
Here's Mark just before we dropped back towards the mountain to the north.


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A really sweet grade near the basin of Castle. Too bad the snow was really wet.


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Mark and Andrew survival skiing the ~ 40 deg grade.

Mark and Andrew telling us how their day was - VIDEO


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And as it turns out, my skis like my face. Nice shiner buddy! Good thing I was wearing a helmet.


It turns out that I actually had both a topo and a semi-guide book on the area. I added the route
we took to ski. Man, I need to look in my book shelf more often.


A sketch of the view from the Reflection Lakes, including our skin track.

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