June ski turns on Pinnacle Glacier
4 mile roundtrip hike with ~1200′ elevation gain
~250′ vertical ski runs
June 13, 2015
Don a.k.a. “Rusty Knees” invited me out to join him and his turns-all-year crowd for some June skiing at Mount Rainier National Park. I brought my usual ski partners Andy and Dave with me and we met them down at the Reflection Lakes parking lot at Mount Rainier National Park. All together we had a good-sized crew of 9. We decided to head up to the Pinnacle Glacier (at least what’s left of it) in the Tatoosh Range on the south end of the park.
We hiked up via the Pinnacle Peak trail starting at about 10:45. This trail gets you to awesome views quickly and I would highly recommend it as a quick day hike if in the area. It was also very well-maintained to the saddle between Plummer and Pinnacle Peaks. From here, the peak bagging opportunities are endless. Once we got to the saddle, we had awesome views of the Tatoosh, Adams, St. Helens, Hood, and the Goat Rocks. From the saddle we continued on a climbers trail to the left just past Pinnacle Peak. We had a bit of a scramble over some rocks before dropping onto the top of our ski run. All in all the approach took us about an hour and fifteen minutes.
Our personal ski run for the day had about 250′ vertical of skiable snow, an incredible backdrop (Mount Rainier), and even a little tarn at the bottom that provided some pond-skimming opportunities for those in our group so inclined. The weather was beautiful all day: warm enough not to get cold, and nice breeze to cool us off when things started to heat up. The snow softened up nicely throughout the day as well.
We had a blast skiing and I got in 6 runs for a total of ~1500′ vertical. Dave, Andy, and I were the last to clear out and enjoyed a post ski brew at the parking lot and delicious burgers at the Copper Creek Inn on the way home which has become a post Mount Rainier skiing tradition.