Rainier's Chinook Pass Opens Earliest in 23 Years

Rainier's Chinook Pass Opens Earliest in 23 Years

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 6th, 2004, 9:01 pm #1

Chinook Pass, near the entrance to Mount Rainier, was scheduled to reopen at noon today, the earliest opening in 23 years.
A combination of warm weather, a below normal snow pack and new snow removal equipment led to the early opening.
The pass has been closed since December 17 near the Mount Rainier National Park boundary.
The state Department of Transportation used global position station (GPS) technology to make it faster to find the exact spot to begin the snow removal process, speeding up the opening of the pass this year.
Today is the earliest opening since 1981. The earliest opening was April 5, 1973; the latest was just a year later, July 12, 1974.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/l ... ass06.html
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 14th, 2004, 1:04 am #2

EXPERIENCED HIKERS have long had a fascination with the abandoned Boundary Trail just inside the Carbon River entrance of Mount Rainier National Park.
This is a lush and beautiful trail -- The scenery is majestic yet peaceful, with ancient conifers, moss, salal and forest flowers. There are no "big" views, but the forest is so luxuriant that a hike without views seems a small price to pay for the privilege of being there.
It is an interesting and challenging hike for strong, experienced hikers seeking solitude. It also is a strenuous hike, with a total elevation gain of 3,900 feet.
The trail was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and ran south from the Carbon River entrance to the Mowich River. The park has not maintained the trail since the 1970s and the route does not show on Green Trail maps, although it does appear on the USGS Golden Lakes Quadrangle.
The trail originally was intended to be used for patrolling the park boundary, but today most of it is on Forest Service land between Tolmie Creek and the Carbon River entrance to the park.
The flow of the trail has been interrupted by natural and man-made events. Some sections are missing because they have been logged over. According to trail reports, a section north of August Peak is rough, steep, brushy and hard to follow. The trail is not suitable for beginning hikers or hikers without route-finding skills.
In winter, this is the route that climbers use to access Florence Peak, a favorite winter scramble of The Mountaineers club. Having been to Florence Peak in winter, I always had wanted to return to see what the trail was like in summer and wondered how far it could be followed. Companions Kathy Kelleher and Jim Cavin also had been on the trail in the past but hadn't gone beyond Alki Crest due to brush and blow-downs.
If you go
GETTING THERE: Everyone has a favorite route to reach the Carbon River entrance of Mount Rainier National Park. Here is mine: From Seattle, take Interstate 5 south, then Interstate 405 (north) toward Renton. Take the state Route 167 exit; continue south to state Route 410 in Sumner and continue east to Buckley, then go south on state Route 165 through Wilkeson and Carbonado. Three miles south of Carbonado, the road forks. Turn left onto the Carbon River Road and continue nine miles to the park's Carbon River entrance. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended, as the road to the Carbon River entrance is rough and full of potholes. Allow extra time for the drive.
TRAIL DATA: It is roughly eight miles round trip (our best guess) with 3,900 feet elevation gain. The map is USGS Golden Lakes, 7.5-minute series
INFORMATION: Mount Rainier National Park, 360-569-2211

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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 14th, 2004, 1:05 am #3

Chinook Pass, near the entrance to Mount Rainier, was scheduled to reopen at noon today, the earliest opening in 23 years.
A combination of warm weather, a below normal snow pack and new snow removal equipment led to the early opening.
The pass has been closed since December 17 near the Mount Rainier National Park boundary.
The state Department of Transportation used global position station (GPS) technology to make it faster to find the exact spot to begin the snow removal process, speeding up the opening of the pass this year.
Today is the earliest opening since 1981. The earliest opening was April 5, 1973; the latest was just a year later, July 12, 1974.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/l ... ass06.html

http://www.cedarcreektreehouse.com/


Cedar Creek Treehouse is an Earth-friendly, privately owned and operated mountain retreat, located one mile as the crow flies, 10 miles by car, from the Nisqually River Entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, and bordering the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. We offer unique treehouse vacation rental lodging with this "bed and breakfast" cottage 50 feet up in a 200-year old Western Red Cedar tree. And with the new addition of our Treehouse Observatory (and its "Stairway to Heaven" access) -- giving you spectacular mountain views 100 feet high in a nearby fir tree -- we are redefining the concept of a treehouse resort.
http://www.cedarcreektreehouse.com/
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Joined: November 25th, 2000, 10:31 pm

May 14th, 2004, 4:37 pm #4

Nice, but (@$250/night for 2), much too expensive.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 15th, 2004, 2:13 pm #5

Chinook Pass, near the entrance to Mount Rainier, was scheduled to reopen at noon today, the earliest opening in 23 years.
A combination of warm weather, a below normal snow pack and new snow removal equipment led to the early opening.
The pass has been closed since December 17 near the Mount Rainier National Park boundary.
The state Department of Transportation used global position station (GPS) technology to make it faster to find the exact spot to begin the snow removal process, speeding up the opening of the pass this year.
Today is the earliest opening since 1981. The earliest opening was April 5, 1973; the latest was just a year later, July 12, 1974.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/l ... ass06.html
Mount Rainier National Park's historic Paradise Inn will likely shut its doors in 2006 so it can undergo a $10.8 million renovation, park officials said.
And if funding is available, officials also hope to simultaneously begin construction of a new Jackson Visitor Center, also located in the park's Paradise area.
"We haven't disrupted it for 85 years, and now we have to do some major work," said park Superintendent David Uberuaga, who added the inn could be closed for as long as two seasons. "When you put it in context, while shutting it down is drastic, once in its lifetime isn't too bad."
The renovation will improve the building's foundation, helping it to better withstand an earthquake.
The 118-room inn, built in 1917 and slated to open for the season on Friday, is the focal point of the heavily visited Paradise area, which attracts as many as 1 million visitors a year.
The inn renovation and construction of the new $18.5 million visitor center are set to begin in 2006, if money is available. Both projects are in the National Park Service's five-year plan, but Congress must appropriate the money, Uberuaga said.
Though a final decision has not been made, closing the inn could pose some challenges, said Pam Newlun, sales manager for Mount Rainier Guest Services, the company that runs the inn.
"The places we will have open will be very, very busy," she said. "What we have to answer is: How we will accommodate the visitor and make it an experience they will remember?"
When the inn's rooms are booked, an average of 260 people spend the night, Newlun said. The restaurant, which seats 200 people, can serve an average of 300 people per meal during the busy July-August season. During those months, Guest Services could see lost lodging and dining revenue approach $2 million.
"The timing is never very good for the visitor or the concessionaire," Uberuaga acknowledged.
Access to all trails will remain open, though the convenience of parking at the inn will be eliminated, Uberuaga said. A shuttle bus system could help ease traffic congestion in the area, he said.
The inn and park will have to work hard on getting the word out when the renovation is complete, Newlun said. The National Park Inn at Longmire was closed for 13 months for renovations in 1990 and it took a while for people to realize it was open again, she said.
Once a new visitors' center is open, the current 60,000-square-foot structure, completed in 1966, will be dismantled. More than 272,000 people visited the center in 2003.
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/apl ... 20Paradise
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 18th, 2004, 7:44 pm #6

Chinook Pass, near the entrance to Mount Rainier, was scheduled to reopen at noon today, the earliest opening in 23 years.
A combination of warm weather, a below normal snow pack and new snow removal equipment led to the early opening.
The pass has been closed since December 17 near the Mount Rainier National Park boundary.
The state Department of Transportation used global position station (GPS) technology to make it faster to find the exact spot to begin the snow removal process, speeding up the opening of the pass this year.
Today is the earliest opening since 1981. The earliest opening was April 5, 1973; the latest was just a year later, July 12, 1974.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/l ... ass06.html
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 3rd, 2004, 9:20 pm #7

Chinook Pass, near the entrance to Mount Rainier, was scheduled to reopen at noon today, the earliest opening in 23 years.
A combination of warm weather, a below normal snow pack and new snow removal equipment led to the early opening.
The pass has been closed since December 17 near the Mount Rainier National Park boundary.
The state Department of Transportation used global position station (GPS) technology to make it faster to find the exact spot to begin the snow removal process, speeding up the opening of the pass this year.
Today is the earliest opening since 1981. The earliest opening was April 5, 1973; the latest was just a year later, July 12, 1974.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/l ... ass06.html
The House of Representatives yesterday approved a plan to add about 800 acres to Mount Rainier National Park.
The boundary change, approved on a voice vote, would be the largest expansion of the nearly 236,000-acre park in more than 70 years. Supporters say it would improve park access by shifting visitors away from frequently flooded roads near the Carbon River.
The plan also would allow a new camping area to be built, save federal money spent on road repairs and protect a pristine area from development, supporters said.
The land along the park's northwestern border is owned by two families and Plum Creek Timber. All have said they are willing to sell their land. The total cost is estimated at $6 million.
U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn, R-Bellevue, the bill sponsor, said land near Ipsut Creek campground often is devastated by recurring floods. "The road to the campground is the only entrance into Mount Rainier Park that leads to a temperate rain forest within the park as well as the beautiful Carbon Glacier," she said in a statement.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/l ... er02m.html
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 4th, 2004, 4:20 pm #8

Chinook Pass, near the entrance to Mount Rainier, was scheduled to reopen at noon today, the earliest opening in 23 years.
A combination of warm weather, a below normal snow pack and new snow removal equipment led to the early opening.
The pass has been closed since December 17 near the Mount Rainier National Park boundary.
The state Department of Transportation used global position station (GPS) technology to make it faster to find the exact spot to begin the snow removal process, speeding up the opening of the pass this year.
Today is the earliest opening since 1981. The earliest opening was April 5, 1973; the latest was just a year later, July 12, 1974.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/l ... ass06.html
One of two climbers stranded on Mount Rainier died Thursday before the other was plucked from the mountain by a helicopter, officials said.

Jon Cahill, a firefighter and father of four, had died by the time a party of five rangers reached the two men, who were stranded at 11,300 feet, said Mount Rainier National Park spokesman Barry Fraissinet.

Cahill's death came a little more than two weeks after a climber was fatally injured in a fall from the same ridge about 1,000 feet higher.

Cahill fell about 200 feet as the climbers tried to ascend Liberty Ridge, one of the most difficult routes up the 14,410-foot peak, Fraissinet said. It was unclear what caused the fall.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/West/06/03/r ... index.html
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 10th, 2004, 12:15 am #9

Chinook Pass, near the entrance to Mount Rainier, was scheduled to reopen at noon today, the earliest opening in 23 years.
A combination of warm weather, a below normal snow pack and new snow removal equipment led to the early opening.
The pass has been closed since December 17 near the Mount Rainier National Park boundary.
The state Department of Transportation used global position station (GPS) technology to make it faster to find the exact spot to begin the snow removal process, speeding up the opening of the pass this year.
Today is the earliest opening since 1981. The earliest opening was April 5, 1973; the latest was just a year later, July 12, 1974.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/l ... ass06.html
Intensive rescue efforts surrounding two recent climbing deaths on the slopes of Mount Rainier raise old questions about the expense and who should bear the costs.
No good reasons exists to change the current system. Charging climbers stiff fees, requiring insurance, or billing those helped invites liability problems, could complicate rescues and might not save any money.
Search-and-rescue experts need the discretion to marshal the equipment suitable to the situation. The costs are real, but they are not prohibitive.
Rainier is a natural wonder in dazzling sight of 2.5 million people drawn to its hiking trails, ski runs and climbing challenges.
Consider 2003 on Mount Rainier. In more than 2 million visits by campers, hikers, skiers, climbers, swimmers, divers, hang gliders and assorted tourists, 25 incidents were classified as full-fledged search-and-rescues.
Twelve involved hiking, two skiing, eight climbing, two mutual aid — typically helping another agency with a vehicle accident — and one listed as "other."
Of the 25 incidents, a dozen ran up costs exceeding $2,500 and qualified as an extraordinary expense paid out of the national search-and-rescue budget at National Park Service headquarters in Washington, D.C. The 12 totaled $57,047 and required 1,500 hours. Two complicated rescues accounted for $21,000.
Eleven thousand people each year try to conquer the 14,411-foot peak. A relative handful of experienced climbers are drawn to the mountain's more difficult routes, such as Liberty Ridge.
The safety and enjoyment of Rainier and other national parks will not be improved by turning the park service into insurance brokers or by complicating search-and-rescue decisions.

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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 18th, 2004, 6:04 pm #10

Chinook Pass, near the entrance to Mount Rainier, was scheduled to reopen at noon today, the earliest opening in 23 years.
A combination of warm weather, a below normal snow pack and new snow removal equipment led to the early opening.
The pass has been closed since December 17 near the Mount Rainier National Park boundary.
The state Department of Transportation used global position station (GPS) technology to make it faster to find the exact spot to begin the snow removal process, speeding up the opening of the pass this year.
Today is the earliest opening since 1981. The earliest opening was April 5, 1973; the latest was just a year later, July 12, 1974.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/l ... ass06.html
The body of an overdue climber was spotted yesterday at the 9,000-foot level of Mount Rainier and a second climber was missing, a Mount Rainier National Park ranger said. Meanwhile, two other climbers asked to be rescued yesterday on the same Liberty Ridge route.
Rangers in a helicopter saw the climber — whose death would be the third in the past month on the mountain — lying motionless and face-down in the snow on the Carbon Glacier on the 14,411-foot peak's north side, about 1 p.m., supervisory climbing ranger Mike Gauthier said last night. The body was west of Liberty Ridge on the glacier, below Liberty Wall.

Weather was treacherous on the mountain over the weekend, when the Missoula, Mont., men were climbing, with snowdrifts more than 8 feet high in some areas and winds over 50-75 mph.

The experienced climbers — one 29 and the other reportedly 23 — were due back Monday after climbing the dangerous Liberty Ridge route. Two other climbers have died in separate incidents on Liberty Ridge since May 15.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/l ... r182m.html
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