2016-04-16 Skiing Cowlitz Rocks

Distance: 6.57 mi.
Elevation Gain: 2554 ft.

It was a beautiful day in Rainier National Park and we arrived just after 9 AM. We walked a bit southeast from the parking lot to the road and started skinning northeast along the side of the road. We left the road when it curved right and started climbing to the left (northeast). Soon we were in just short sleeves on this warm day, trying to remember to sunscreen both the tops and bottoms of our arms (under-arm burn from snow reflection is the worst!).

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We had a little bit of booting shenanigans over a small rock band (upper right on the above photo), but otherwise a pretty uneventful climb.

We reached the summit at 12:30 PM and had lunch and hung out for a while. The snow near the summit was pretty icy and steep so Rodrigo used his shovel to dig out a platform for putting on skis. We started skiing at 1:30 and had some nice turns in corn.

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View from the summit

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Ski down from Cowlitz Rocks

We reached a low point and had to climb again to skier’s right (west), unfortunately below some cornices. As I mentioned it was a particularly warm day and we were in the mid-afternoon, so we tried to move through this area as quickly as possible (and one at a time).

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Cornices and a small slide on the left

From here we skinned a bit and then transitioned back into ski mode and continued southwest, then southeast until we reached the trail back to the Paradise parking lot at about 3 PM.

More photos
Download GPS track

(Download the free Gaia GPS app on your phone to view tracks and then get a Gaia GPS membership if you want offline access. Discount below!)

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Gear Used:

  • Avalache beacon/shovel/probe
  • Backcountry boots/skis/skins
  • Glacier glasses
  • GPS
  • Helmet
  • Trekking poles

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