Day 2 of (1, 2, 3, 4):
After a day at Mt. Baker, Greg, Marc, and I headed to Mt. Rainier, the
second snowiest place on earth, with an 1130" season on record.

When we got there the parking lot was filled with SUV's and lots of people
in fancy gear and big packs frantically putting on clothes and packing as
if there was some prize for getting on the trail first. I later realized
that they had all been waiting for the road to open (which, lucky for us,
had been not too long before we got there). When they cleared out, we were
still packing. It was kind of lonely all of a sudden.

Eventually we had our gear ready to go.

There wasn't much of a trail, but more of a track of footprint in the snow
to follow.

As we hiked, the snow let up and we got occasional glimpses of the
impressive peak of Rainier.

To the right, we saw a nice ridge that looked skiable. As we got closer we
saw that some people had set off in that direction, with flags marking
their way. They were carrying a sled with lots of gear.

Putting these pictures together.

We stayed on the trail and went left of the ridge. Eventually we met up
with a large group of skiers who were ascending and skiing this nice slope.

We decided to follow them, and we started hiking up the slope. Looking
back at Greg, as we make our way up the steep part.

Marc and Greg hiking above the steep part.

Marc and Greg hiking, panning over to Rainier.
(AVI, MPEG movie)

We wanted to find a nice place to put on our ski gear, so we headed toward
these rocks for some shelter from the howling wind.

Looking down from the rocks at some ridges in the snow.

Marc, with Rainier in the background.

There wasn't too much shelter from the wind here after all. We were all
starting to get cold. I'm glad I wore my snowboard boots hiking. Changing
into ski boots didn't look like fun.
(AVI, MPEG movie)

A nice cairn gave a small amount of shelter.

Some day we'll come back and climb up to the top.

Some interesting wind-blown snow formations on the rocks.

Time to get back to Paradise.

More intesting snow formations.

Coming back down was a bit interesting. The fog rolled in and we could
hardly see where we were going most of the time. When it cleared up we
went down as far as we could before it fogged up again. After a few of
these iterations we saw people and flags. We had traversed to where the
group with the sled had climbed up. Here's the view looking back up as
Greg works his way through the snow.
(AVI, MPEG movie)

Back at Paradise.

The snow was pretty deep.

More deep snow.

As we descended farther, the snow got thinner and the sky bluer.

Some nice snow-covered trees.

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