Mt Rainier Day Hike - Glacier Basin Trail

6:24 p.m. on July 6, 2011 (EDT)
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I'm an east coaster heading out to Seattle to visit some family. Part of my arrangement with my wife for having to stay in such close proximity to my brother in law for extended periods of time is that I get a day hike to myself to decompress.  I've been looking at some day hikes and I've been spying the Glacier Basin Trail (http://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/glacier-basin.htm) . It's right in my sweet spot for mileage(7-10 miles) and difficulty but I've never been hiking at Ranier before (are the west coast at all - mostly the smokies and Virginia) so i was looking for some suggestions\advice. I solo hike 80% of the time and seeing that I don't know anyone out there this will likely be solo as well. (I'm very comfortable solo hiking although I do recognize the slightly increased risk - saying that I don't mind company either lol). Anyways any suggestions, advice, or alternate trail suggestions?

Thanks!

Josh

8:53 p.m. on July 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Plan a couple of hikes. A day hike and a "day" hike. If it's going bad with the in-laws take the "day" hike and the emergency tent. After you've hiked all day you call and say you've gotten caught in some bad weather but you're OK and you will hike out tomorrow.  Where you actually are is in a nice hotel room or a B&B somewhere.

10:33 p.m. on July 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Thats funny!! Just dont return to the inlaws smelling of Beer & Brats

Looks like a nice hike wish I was goin with ya. Did you see the average snowfall amounts reported on the bottom of page?   57 FEET!!  Holy cow dats alotta snow!

2:06 p.m. on July 7, 2011 (EDT)
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haha thanks for the "advice" guys!

I was actually reading about the trail last week and they mentioned that the snow should be off the trail by the end of the month (which is when I'm  heading out) which is pretty crazy lol.

In all seriousness though any general advice for hiking in the area. I was thinking i should probably bring my bear bells and expect some slightly cooler whether (I'm from Raleigh NC but I'm actually sitting in Hilton Head contemplating heading down for the shuttle launch and holy heck is it hot lol!). I read the trail was badly damaged in 2006 from a flood, outside of rain gear should I be concerned with flash floods?

Thanks!

Josh

 

 

8:48 p.m. on July 11, 2011 (EDT)
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Dude fell at Comet Falls the other day.  IT IS EXTRA SNOWY THIS YEAR (global warming I'm told).  Pack for snow and ice, even if you don't need it.

Flash floods?  We don't see those here.  Bear bells?  Nope, the first official Griz in WA for a long time was seen WAY North of your intended AO recently. 

It may be muddy and VERY buggy but nothing worse than Easterners are used to I am sure. 

The major difference is that here (shameless joke at Easterners ahead) the mountains are steep and tall.  My East Coast wife says its like comparing a real mtn to a freeway overpass. 

Could also be really hot or cold and rainy, but again, it does that everywhere. 

10:35 p.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Native Atlanta resident here:

I moved to WA for the summer and there is a ton of snow here. Most trails around Rainier have snow as of two days ago. I hiked about 15 miles on the Wonderland trail (2/3 in snow) and hiked up to camp Muir (11 feet of snow at the trailhead). Basically look for anything under 5000' to avoid snow. Otherwise, put on some gaiters and bring a sled! Olympics have some good snow free trails if you don't mind driving a little further.

10:11 a.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the great feedback guys. I was planning on calling a ranger station to check the trail conditions when I got there but i would have not thought to pack gators or too much winter gear. I was expecting mud and a few snow remnants by the end of July - east coast low country ignorance at work lol. Sounds like I might as well pack for all four seasons if i want the most flexilbity. Figured on the rain and bugs as well but i'm glad to hear i don't have to worry about my bear bells, I suffer from bad headaches (one of the reasons why I hike - it alleviates them) and the bear bells drive me batty (but much better then the alternative lol).

I'm very excited to hike a bit of the northwest - thx again guys.

 

Josh

12:08 a.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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I have been reading up on Mt. Rainier and looking at trail reports.  As of 7/17 the Glacier Basin trail had the following report;

Snow-free the first 2.5 miles turing to 95% thereafter. Please stay on the trail where possible to avoid resource damage. Please use the summer trail if you are without skis. It is wanded.

LINK:http://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/trails-and-backcountry-camp-conditions.htm

Its under the White river area.

I would take snow gear, and wet weather gear.   It may be nice, but you will get soaked if not prepared for the snow.  And maybe snow shoes or rent a pair, I think REI has then to rent. 

With the snow level at 5000 feet, maybe 5500 to 6000 by the time you hit the trail I think most of your trip will be in the snow pack.  Good luck and be safe. 

I hope this is not to late.  I am in Everett WA, so PM me if you need something local or more information.  I can make a call or something if needed.

Also I though I would link the WTA (Washington Trail Association) look under (trail reports / Mt. Rainier / Sunrise-White River) to see what the current conditions are.  Lots of current reports. 

Wolfman

9:04 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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End of August and up to Labor Day is a better time frame for Rainier if just tip toeing around places.  Another trail that gives spectacular views of the mountain is into Summer Land up the Panhandle

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=46.86728544174374&lng=-121.6549072265625&level=6&type=topo

You will get into snow before Panhandle Gap but you will have had a beautiful hike by then.

It is a WOW! section of the Wonderland trail as well. 

Another possible is from Sunrise following the Wonderland trail north into Berkely Park and as far as you want to hike before calling it a lunch spot and return. Early morning sunlight makes it a 'wonderland'.

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=46.9155026767038&lng=-121.68206787109375&level=6&type=topo

If you stay on the trails, it is a good possibility you will not be solo for long.

July 23, 2014
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