Wonderland Trail Update: Eastside/Jul 09, 2013

Greetings Wonderland hikers. I usually do an update of snow conditions on Mt. Rainier's Wonderland Trail on or about the third week in July, but the melt off seemed to be quite ahead this year so I went up earlier. In a nutshell I put the snow melt at 3 weeks ahead of the same time last year. For those who want to compare, here is a link to Past Updates I have done on the trail.

Instead of just going up to Panhandle Gap this year, I decided to do the whole trail section between Cowlitz divide and the Fryingpan Creek trail head. The following video is a combination of video and stills taken at representative spots along the way so hikers can truly assess what it looks like. I found no serious navigation issues on the snow proceeding over point 5930 to Indian Bar, and reacquiring the trail out of Indian Bar to proceed up to Ohanapecosh Park is clearly evident, with snow mostly absent until attaining the ridge where navigation points are established. Panhandle Gap proper is currently no problem (once again I was able to glissade down) and I would assume that established boot track will appear as people start consistently hiking this section. There are no snow issues all the way from Summerland down to the Fryingpan Creek trailhead, with just a few scattered patches on the switchbacks before Summerland. In order to complete this report logistically, I made a loop hike by continuing CW on the Owyhigh Lakes trail and the Eastside trail for a 35 mile trip.