Mt. Rainier, South Face via Fuhrer Finger
ElevationAscent: 2' 1 m
Descent: -10,462' -3,189 m
High: 14,393' 4,387 m
Low: 3,933' 1,199 m
GradeAvg Slope: 32% (18°)
Max Slope: 100% (45°)
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“The full descent of Mt. Rainier and the biggest ski line in the lower 48.”— Jacob Winey
From the summit crater, descend south, over the Nisqually Icefall. When we skied it, the best route was to ski the center of the icefall until a clear route to the skier's right opened up, leading directly to the top of Fuhrer Finger. The best route changes between and throughout seasons, so be sure to scope it out and have a plan. A good route can be scoped out with binoculars from the Paradise parking lot (in clear weather).
Once you successfully get through the icefall, you're treated with a fun, low stress descent of the Fuhrer Finger Couloir, which is consistent and wide with minimal crevasse danger for 3,000'. Once you reach the bottom of the couloir, the maze of crevasse dodging starts again. Navigate a safe route down the Wilson Glacier and onto the Nisqually Glacier. (I strongly recommend stopping in the middle of the Fuhrer Finger to make a plan while you have a good view of the glaciers). Then, follow the Nisqually Glacier as far as the snow will take you.
Keep your head up, if you're descending later in the day, lots of loose-wet slides come down from rocks along the sides of the glacier. Try to ski all the way to the bridge and catch a ride back to Paradise.
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Land Manager: National Park Service - Mount Rainier National Park