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Contact: Donna Rahier, 360-569-6501
Snow continues to melt slowly from the slopes of Mount Rainier as cool temperatures prevail.Many trails park-wide are still under snow.The current snowline is around 4,000 feet. The park experienced a very heavy snowfall this past winter (2010-2011) and melt-out is not expected until sometime in August.Winter-like conditions exist in the backcountry.Hikers should check the park’s webpage (www.nps.gov/mora) for current trail conditions before heading out for a trip. Some wildflowers are blooming along park roadsides as the snow recedes, but given the current snowpack, the best estimates for wildflower blooms are mid-August!
Mowich Lake Road
The Mowich Lake Road in the northwest corner of the park will open to the public on Friday, July 22.In average snow years, this road would have opened on the 4th of July weekend.Three to four feet of snow remain in the area, but the parking lot is clear and some picnic tables are melted out.
Join one of the legends of mountain climbing for two special programs at Mount Rainier National Park on August 2, 2011. Mountaineer and author of “The Challenge of Mount Rainier”, Dee Molenaar will speak at the Jackson Visitor Center at 3:45 p.m. and at the Paradise Inn at 9:00 p.m.
Dee Molenaar was a park ranger and mountain guide at Mount Rainier and has climbed peaks throughout the western U.S. and Canada, Alaska, the Alps, and the Himalayas. He participated in major expeditions to Mount St. Elias in Alaska in 1946 and in the ill-fated 1953 American expedition to K2 in the Karakoram Himalaya. His artwork and maps have appeared in books and art shows all over the world. His book “The Challenge of Mount Rainier”, considered the definitive work on the climbing history of Mount Rainier, is in its ninth printing. At age 91 he continues to work on art and map projects, and writing and lecturing about mountaineering and geology.
General park information is available at www.nps.gov/mora or by calling
Mount Rainier has been used by Native American people for thousands of years.To better document the mountain’s archaeological record, Mount Rainier National Park is working with Central Washington University’s archaeology field school.Under the direction of Dr. Patrick McCutcheon, the field school will be conducting an excavation in the Sunrise area to improve our understanding of the long-term human use of Mount Rainier’s higher elevation landscapes.
Volunteers will get a guided tour of the site and have the opportunity to shadow a field school student working on the excavation. Volunteers will join in the daily operations, assisting with sieving excavated sediments, carrying soil and measuring sediment volume.Participants will also have the opportunity to discover and learn about the artifacts and their uses.
Opportunities are available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:00 am to 11:30 am during the first three weeks in August.The number of participants is limited each day to six people ages 16 and above. Reservations may be made in person at the Sunrise Visitor Center or by calling 360-663-2425.
RAMROD BICYCLE RIDE – Thursday, July 28, 2011
On Thursday, July 28, the Redmond Cycling Club will be conducting their organized recreational bicycle ride called RAMROD (Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day). Up to 800 cyclists will begin their ride in Enumclaw, Washington traveling through Eatonville, Elbe and Ashford.After entering the park at the Nisqually Entrance, they will proceed up the Paradise Road to the junction with the Stevens Canyon Road.The route continues east on Stevens Canyon Road to State Route 123 and north on State Route 123 over Cayuse Pass.The last leg of the ride follows State Route 410 westbound for a return to Enumclaw. This is the 28th year that RAMROD has been conducted in the park.
Motorists coming to the park that day should expect some traffic delays, congestion around designated checkpoints and support areas, and long lines of bicyclists sharing the roadway.
Park roads and facilities will remain open to the general public while the one-day ride is being conducted.Drivers and pedestrians are cautioned that bicyclists in large numbers will be sharing park roadways including the road east from Nisqually Entrance, Stevens Canyon Road, SR 123 and State Route 410 throughout the day. Slow traffic along the ride route should be expected, as road shoulders are narrow or non-existent along many sections.Drivers may encounter bicyclists walking their bikes up the long grade or riding slowly to maintain control over sections of the roadway.The park asks motorists to be courteous, use extra care when passing bicyclists, and to do so only when there is sufficient road clearance and an unimpeded line of sight to do so safely.