These posts will cover all the areas I'm visiting in the confines of Mt. Rainier National Park in celebration of 35 years exploring here, including new places with a smattering of old.
On the second day of our weathered out climbing weekend, 4 of us decided to visit Summerland. The day brought temps in the 40's with intermittent snow showers and misty rain. Varying depths of snow were met on the trail out of Fryingpan Creek trailhead, but once we arrived at the bridge across Fryingpan Creek, snow was continuous. We attempted to follow the summer route up the snow covered switchbacks, but steep slopes with poor run outs and no ice axes had us deciding to return via the winter route, bypassing this section by end running and paralleling the Creek until intercepting the bridge and usual trail. With low cloud ceilings none of us was compelled to visit Panhandle Gap with no visibility, but on the way back there were very occasional sun breaks, lighting up the snow covered terrain and casting shadows, a real treat. Most of my hikes are solo so spending a weekend with an eclectic group of souls with ages ranging from 27 to 70 was a real treat indeed. Maybe next time we can finally get up Little Tahoma. Today's hike involved 9 miles and 2300 feet of elevation.