May 29: Skiing Inter Glacier and Steamboat Prow

Steamboat Prow is a feature on Rainier that looks like a steamboat from far way. 🚣‍♀️ Inter Glacier is the approach to climb Rainier via Emmons Glacier. Being my first time alone, I had low expectations, ready to turn around after a couple miles if I wasn’t feeling it.

The small White River lot was only half full with climbers prepping. After eating a big fat bread roll, I started hiking at 8am. The hike started out mostly pleasant and snow free for the first 500 vertical feet.

Then, it got kinda gross. I never bothered to take my skis off my pack! Lots of silly bridge crossings, a few post-hole warning flags, downed trees galore.

3.5 miles in, the trail breaks out into Glacier Basin. After crossing the Inter Fork River, I put on my boots and skis, stashed my shoes on a rock, and started skinning. Any thoughts of turning around melted away! I spoke with a few friendly ski parties along the way.

Then came the 2 mile, 4000 foot climb 😅 It didn’t feel particularly steep, probably due to this year’s high snowpack. I didn’t see any open crevasses, either. The skinning was easy- no booting, no side-hilling, no slipping!

After about 2.5 additional hours, I got to Steamboat Prow at 9,800 feet. The friendly ski parties were up there, too.

View of the Emmons from the Prow

I transitioned and skied down to the river… in about 20 minutes 😂 I saw a few more parties on the hike out, but overall I was pleased with how uncrowded the trail was. I couldn’t believe how full the lot was at 2pm!

Yay for double dinners!

Steamboat Prow Totals

Total Elapsed Time: 6 hours

Total Distance: 12 Miles

Total Gain: 5,500 feet

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