Saturday, July 24, 2010
Well the snow at Paradise, both the visitors center area and the SNOTEL site in Mt. Rainier NP (southeast of Paradise), is, for most areas, gone for the season and you should only encounter snow near and above 6,000 feet for July and higher in elevations now into August.
You can get some basic information about snow data and above is the graph through today (7/24/10) of the snow water equivalent (SWE), and looking at the data, you would see the amount of remaining snow today is about 4-6 inches and should be gone by tomorrow.
When I looked at both this year's and the longterm average data this May trying to determine when the peak snowpack would occur and the snowmelt will begin and then end. I predicted the snow melt would conclude (at the Paradise site) by August 31st, plus or minus a day, which would be about two weeks later than the longterm normal. It wasn't a scientific conclusion but an observational one based on the graph of the snowmelt.
This means most of the the trails should be snowfree by early August, the exception being the Sunrise area, at just over 7,000 feet, where the snowpack will persist into early-mid August and the more remote alpine and high elevations areas. The NPS or other agencies don't operate a snow site there to report the snowpack, but you can get the most recent conditions from the NPS trail conditions.
So, snow is a memory for this year and your visit. And you can see the beauty of the NP awaking from the last depths of winter snow to bloom anew. All just waiting for you. So go and enjoy it.