The Muir Snowfield is in excellent condition for early October. The trail stays on snow from Pebble Creek on up, and surface conditions are firm, consolidated snow. Crampons are recommended if you are traveling early or late in the day. There are no wands marking the trail at this time so be comfortable with your navigation skills.
Always check the forecast before heading to Muir and plan accordingly, but know the weather can change suddenly at any time. Be prepared for wind!
The toilets at Muir have been winterized. The solar toilets are closed and the pit toilets are open. Please make sure all the doors are securely latched when you are finished.
The public shelter is open. Please help keep this building in good condition. Remember to close and latch all doors and to not leave any food or gear behind. There is a shovel that lives outside of the shelter. It is used to dig the doors out after snow storms. Please make sure it is accessible and secure.
There is an emergency radio in the public shelter. Use this in the event of an emergency to contact the NPS.
The Muir Snowfield is in excellent shape right now. Fresh snow that has fallen above 7,000' in the past couple of weeks has made travel very nice, and the skiing is actually fairly decent at the moment!
Take any of the Paradise trails past Panorama Point and then onto Pebble Creek, where the actual Muir Snowfield starts. From here the route stays on snow the whole way to Camp Muir. There are no crevasses open on the snowfield this season.
The fresh snow does have a tendency to cover up the old tracks, so be sure to have some sort of navigation aid, like map and compass or GPS with you. Remember your sunscreen and sunglasses, even if the weather is overcast when you start hiking. Often you get above the clouds on the way to Muir.
The way to Pebble Creek is almost entirely snow free. Stop by the ranger office or visitor center for a map of the Paradise area Trails. The snowfield itself held together through August unseasonably well. There are only minor glide cracks opening up between Moon Rocks and Anvil Rock. The hard, glacial, ice patch hasn't been melting out like usual either, making crampons unnecessary when hiking during the middle of the day. Also, BE CAREFUL OF STORMY WEATHER. This time of year can be extra dangerous on the snowfield due to sudden and violent storms. Make sure your team can navigate in a white out while in the middle of the snowfield, and make sure everyone on the team has extra warm clothes.
Skiing and snowboarding can be done, but it's rough. Small and hard sun-cups have formed on the snowfield, making for horrible moguls. It's probably safest to walk down the snowfield this time of year.
Please remember to take all garbage and food down with you when leaving Camp Muir. Foxes have been around Camp Muir for the last couple of months and will eat any food and choke on any wrappers left behind.
Getting to Camp Muir now requires about as much walking on dirt (or asphalt) as it does walking on snow. The trails are almost completely melted out below Pebble Creek and the flowers are in bloom! Please be aware of where you are walking when you are in the Paradise Meadows. The plants in these areas have super short growing seasons and are very susceptible to damage from climbing boots. Help us set a good example for everyone and stay on the designated trails until you get onto the snowfield.
The snowfield itself is in incredible shape for mid to late August (see photo to right, taken from the Turtle Snowfield). No icy sections have melted out and not a single "glide crack" (crevasse) has opened up, yet. Beware that the snow itself firms up at night and makes travel without crampons extremely difficult.
Once you get to Muir and set up camp be sure to secure your food so animals won't get into it. Raven, rosy finch, mouse, and fox can all get food if it is left out in the open. Fox can get food when it is in your pack, although he hasn't broken into any tents yet.
Please remember to clean up after yourself, and if you want to be a good person, pick up some trash you didn't even leave behind!
The Snowfield still offers plenty of snow beyond Pebble Creek but the wildflowers and critters are out in droves from Paradise up to 7000 ft. As for ski conditions, massive sun cups and the need for a 5000 ft hike for a 2000 ft ski seems a little ridiculous at this point. That said, skiing the upper mountain is still a possibility so consider your vertical gain vs. descent before humping up the Skyline Trail in ski boots.
Rangers descending from Camp Muir picked up copious amounts of trash on the snowfield. Please. It is not obvious to everyone that there is no trash removal service at Camp Muir or on the Muir Snowfield. If each visitor were to leave even a 1/4 lb of garbage behind, with an average of over 200 visitors a day peak season, that's . . . yup . . . 50 lbs a day!!! Way too much for us to carry down, plus we've got our own garbage to carry. Please help us out. As the snow continues to melt please be mindful of hidden trash and pick up stuff that may not be yours. Come in and show us what you bring down and you will see some very happy ranger faces.
Camp Muir is still holding lots of snow, which has helped keep the dust down this summer. Slim Shady, the wily upper mountain Rainier Fox, has been tagging the summit regularly by following climbers and nabbing their dropped food wrappers and food left outside their tents. Please keep your site tight at Camp Muir and pick up all your trash on the route.
The snowfield has continued to melt rapidly these last couple of days. The trail to Alta Vista is almost all snow free, so are large portions of the major switchback to Pan Point, and Sections around Pebble Creek are also showing. Pebble Creek is currently the last bit of running water for climbers to access on their way to Camp Muir.
Skiers are finding the snowfield to be more and more sun-cupped. This makes for a bumpy ride, especially early in the morning. It's best to ski down between the hours of 10:30 and 12:00 on sunny days.
These nice sunny days have offered amazingly unobstructed views of the Southern Cascades. Come on up and share the view with a good friend.
Hot temperatures and lots of sun have been melting the snowfield rapidly this week. Skiers now have to click out of their bindings at least twice on the way from Camp Muir to Paradise. The meadow is beginning to melt out in patches along the trail.
The summer route up to Camp Muir is now standard. The awesome Paradise trail crew has marked the route with wands and bamboo to get you on the right track. Please help us protect the fragile landscape.
Skiers are still able to rip all the way from Camp Muir to Paradise without unclipping and walking over rock bands. Some skiers reporting 12 minute descents, while snowboarders are cruising in at a cool 14 minutes.
Panorama Point's face is still the way all climbers are taking to get to Camp Muir. Just be aware of where you're stepping when you get close to the Panorama Point toilet. The melted-out patches of meadow are extremely fragile right now.
Most parties are still choosing to take the longer "winter-route" above Panorama Point, instead of short-cutting through Pebble Creek. Bamboo wands are placed at fairly frequent intervals, but do not depend on them for navigation.
With the recent nice weather and clear atmosphere, Mount Jefferson in Oregon has been visible. Come on up and take in the view yourself!
Despite a media frenzy concerning extreme avalanche danger throughout the state, independent-minded folks braved the sunny weather and excellent conditions to enjoy beautiful conditions at Camp Muir this weekend. There were several hundred hikers and climbers on the snowfield both days and a perfect spring corn cycle made for excellent ski conditions. Rangers at Camp Muir also found excellent skiing just above Muir on the Triple A Couloir and Cadaver Gap.
On a separate note, while this Jack Russell Terrier appears to be fully prepared for high mountain glacier travel, can anyone tell me what's wrong with this picture? Yes, he is roped up with the appropriate footwear and is even practicing self-arrest on safe terrain on the Cowlitz but....that's right, he is a DOG! As stated just a few weeks ago dogs are NOT ALLOWED past the parking lot in ANY National Park!! You could buy a climbing pass for this dog and get the requisite wilderness permit and he would still NOT BE ALLOWED at Camp Muir!! Clearly, this is not the dog's fault. The owner expressed 'remembering' that dogs were not allowed only after getting halfway up the snowfield. Apparently during the two hour drive, leashing, and shodding of his dog he was incapable of remembering this rule???? Don't be stupid. If you can't remember this simple rule you clearly do not have the proper situational awareness and keen judgment necessary to be camping at Camp Muir.
On a more scientific note, the reticent but accomplished lead Climbing Ranger Stefan Lofgren can be seen here in government issue hot pink CROCs installing the new solar radiation monitor at Camp Muir. While really just doing what his wife told him to do, this will enable the public to see just how much solar penetration the upper mountain is receiving. This is helpful not only when deciding whether it is worth a 3 hour hike in the rain to achieve solar bliss at Camp Muir but also as a way for avalanche technicians around the world to see how much sun is penetrating the snowpack. This will be invaluable information with respect to last week's fatal avalanche and a great way for spring skiers to anticipate ski conditions. Look for more updates and links to the our new solar radiation monitor in the next few weeks.
The snowfield baked in the sun all day yesterday and will do the same today. Expect soft and wet conditions. Point-release slides were observed on the steep face just below Panorama Point. Wet point-releases are still possible on the steeper slopes, but with proper route selection traveling to and from Camp Muir is perfectly reasonable.
Currently, climbing rangers are staffing Muir on a fairly regular basis, schedule permitting. Several bathrooms are open and maintained by the illustrious and enigmatic Ted Cox. NPS asks all independent climbers to maintain a clean and tidy public shelter, bathrooms and snowfield. A Rainier Fox has been spotted several times at Muir sniffing around looking for scraps. Make sure that you pack ALL your trash out and if you are planning on awakening in the middle of the night to climb please keep your food inside your tent. Foxes have deprived teams of food for summit bids in the past so please keep a tidy camp!!
Come on up to Camp Muir and get your alpine on!! The skiing and climbing have been great so far!
Travel to Camp Muir has been going on under cloudy and snowy conditions for the past few days but that hasn't slowed down hardy climbers and skiers from getting out and enjoying their national park. With over a foot of new snow on the ground, snow shoes or skis are recommended to provide a little flotation to your steps. A GPS with waypoints and/or a compass and bearing sheet are also very useful things to have at the moment, for when the clouds roll in and the visibility becomes poor. The route to Muir is well wanded at the moment, but don't rely 100% on wand navigation, since they can blow away, break, or get buried by new snow.
Wintry weather aside, conditions are great for just getting out and about. Breaks in the weather have provided excellent opportunities for skiing and snowboarding and we have seen many people getting out and training for future climbs.
Conditions are excellent on the Muir Snowfield with snow from Camp Muir all the way down to the Paradise parking lot. Make sure you wax your skis and time your approaches to get the best corn conditions. Other day hikers are encouraged to either have flotation of some sort like snowshoes or be prepared to posthole at some point on their hike. Trekking poles help greatly for travel in deep snow conditions.
Several hundred people enjoyed great weather at the end of last week up at Camp Muir including an unleashed Cairn Terrier. While probably not the first terrier ascent of the snowfield dog owners are reminded of National Park Policy which requires all pets to be leashed in developed areas (ie parking lots, trailheads) and nowhere are dogs allowed on or off trail. That said, it was a pretty proud ascent for someone with four inch legs.
Travelers to Muir should anticipate low avalanche hazard providing they follow the wanded climbers route. Unless you dip into the Nisqually or the Paradise Glacier there is very little hazard on the way up the snowfield. Once at Camp Muir please use the eastside 'handicap' toilet. The westside toilet is open to guided clients only. Please B.Y.O.T.P. Unfortunately, conditions have made toilet maintenance challenging and hopefully by this coming weekend more facilities are made available. Finally, if you plan on using the public shelter you must PACK IT OUT! Climbing Rangers removed over 40 POUNDS of garbage after independent climbers assured them that they would pack it out. This is LAME and unacceptable! Your mother does not work at Camp Muir. Please respect the environment and public property and leave the shelter and the Camp Muir grounds clean and enjoyable for the next group.
There is no lack of snow between Paradise and Camp Muir. Travel to Camp Muir is best approached on skis, splitboard or snowshoes this time of year. Take care to assess avalanche danger along your journey as snow conditions can change rapidly in the early spring. During periods of questionable avalanche danger either avoid travel all-together or choose your route wisely to minimize time in avalanche terrain.
Toilets are open at Camp Muir, but be sure to B.Y.O.T.P. Climbers planning on traveling above Muir are required to self-register at the Paradise Old Station (small A-frame adjacent to the paradise parking lot) or the Longmire Museum (during open hours). Overnight parking is located in the Paradise lower lot.