Nisqually Ice Cliff

By:  Sam
May 28, 2011

Joel Bettner is in town and he asked me to come along to film a ski day on Mt. Rainier with his friend Josh. After almost a year in Washington state, I still hadn’t been down to Rainier, so I was eager to join up.

A rainy drive got me down to the south side of Rainier around 1pm where I met up with Josh and Joel. We re-packed the cars and headed up to Paradise were we fed the bureaucrats in charge of running the mountain. Finally, paperwork completed and wallets lightened, we headed up the mountain towards muir in a light rain.

Joel getting ready at the car.

Initially skeptical of the wands, I soon found myself a fan.

Joel attempted to point at the line he wanted to ski through the clouds. It was at this point that I thought it prudent to ask what exactly he wanted to ski. “The Nisqually Ice Cliff” he replied. Suddenly the situation seemed eerily similar to my experience on the Coleman Headwall almost a year earlier, however that experience certainly prepared me a bit for getting blindsided by someone else’s intentions. Though it had seen it’s first descent only a few weeks earlier, the ice cliff certainly looked less committing than the Coleman Headwall on Baker. Regardless, I hadn’t skied anything steep in a while, so I was feeling motivated.

This would be a good candidate for a caption contest photo. Here are Joel and Josh considering the line.

Josh, and our first clear view of what we wanted to ski. The ice cliff is, you guessed it, the thing that looks like a giant ice cliff in the background.

Before long, we were up at camp Muir. A place that, for all I’d read about it, was far less awe inspiring (in terms of the camp itself, not the views) than I would have expected.

Joel taking in the sunset.

After watching camp muir fade into darkness we cooked up some dinner and headed to bed. Though we didn’t run into them, Jason Hummel, Kyle Miller, and Amar Andalkar were all up at Muir that night. If you haven’t checked out their websites, they’re definitely worth a look, they were all a big part of the reason I ended up out in this part of the country.

Adams, to the south, put on quite a show.

Continue Reading: 1 2 3 4 Next »

Read about the author:   Sam
Enjoy this TR? Read another: TR: Afterwork Vermont Whitewater Adventure


  1. Peter
    wrote on May 28th, 2011 at 4:31 pm  
  2. chris
    wrote on May 28th, 2011 at 8:35 pm  

    Sweet trip report, looked fun! Scary about your binding though..

  3. powhounddd
    wrote on May 28th, 2011 at 8:44 pm  

    wow Sam, another outstanding TR from the Land Where Winter Doesn’t (seem to want to) End!

    I have to stop reading these! Makes me jones pretty hard for some gnar.

  4. icelanticskier
    wrote on May 28th, 2011 at 10:17 pm  

    time for markers? ;)

    awesome report and day well spent!



  5. MadPatSki
    wrote on May 28th, 2011 at 11:00 pm  


    Nicely played and scary about the ski.

    Again, wow. Congrats.

  6. justin
    wrote on May 28th, 2011 at 11:57 pm  
  7. Lionel Hutz
    wrote on May 29th, 2011 at 6:17 am  

    Excellent, Excellent work Sam.
    Question re Dynafits…no brakes on them right? Well would it behoove the BC skier to throw a pair of leases on the ski akin to the telemarker steeze?

  8. Anonymous
    wrote on May 29th, 2011 at 10:03 am  

    The skis do have brakes but they wouldn’t have done much good on a slope that steep. Leashes might be in my future on steep lines

  9. the powder jew
    wrote on May 29th, 2011 at 7:35 pm  

    fucking gnarly guys…..I am always always so stoked when I see a new trip report from your crew. It makes my low end slack-fest up the auto road tomorrow seem so mediocre. Way to get after it.

  10. B. Melvin
    wrote on May 30th, 2011 at 2:30 pm  

    Great write up Sam. The bent plate is definitely something to think about for all of us that ski on the swap plates.

  11. Ben
    wrote on May 30th, 2011 at 10:11 pm  

    awesome report sam!

    I had a similar dynafit issue earlier this year… I cracked the metal toe piece in a similar way to the one that Lou Dawson posted about earlier this year, and it was basically unskiable. Dynafit was great about getting me a new one quickly though, their warrantee dept is top notch!

  12. icelanticskier
    wrote on May 31st, 2011 at 9:26 pm  

    fritschi, no fuss, no discussion, no fiddle :)


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