Friday, June 22, 2012

Late June Update

Some news from Mt. Rainier NP changing plans in late June.

The Comet Falls trails from the Christine Falls trailhead is closed due to a deep washout about a mile above the trailhead. The NPS is reporting a 30-foot section of trail is washed out and snow and ice conditions below and above the washout make the trail hazardous.

The NPS is examing the trail for repairs or a temporary route and will announce when the trailhead is open again. Hikers can use the trailhead just east Longmire to the longer Van Trump Park trail along Rampart Ridge, but expect snow and ice in places on the trail as the upper parts are still under snow.

The NPS is reporting significant snow conditions in the backcountry and hikers should be prepared and experienced for such conditions, especially with the proper navigation tools and equipment in the event of snow and ice and during worsening weather conditions. This will likely extend into July with the higher than normal snowpack and later than normal snowmelt.

The White River Road and Sunrise road will open June 22nd, but the White River campground and facilities at Sunrise are not expected to open until June 29th.

The Ashford-Longmire-Paradise shuttle will start June 29th, not June 22nd originally announced. No reason given for the delay but plan accordingly. Parking at Paradise is often full on weekends past the late morning hours. The NPS has changed the rules for parking where the upper parking has a 2-hour limit and the lower parking (old visitor's center) has no limit.

There is still about 8 feet of snow at the elevation of Paradise. The snowmelt is following a normal curve but is 2-3 week later than normal. This means the snow will clear in early August unless there is a warmer than normal month of July. This will effect the wildflower season at the mid-upper elevations (above 5,000 feet) where the lower elevation areas should be only slightly later than normal for the season.

Otherwise, everything is good.

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