I'm planning a route this weekend up into the old Paradise Ice Caves area and I was curious if anyone here has ever traveled cross country from Cowlitz Rock to the Camp Muir Trail over the Paradise Glaicier headings SW towards the Sugarloaf?
It seems like following the ridge from the Cowlitz Rock NW towards 7600' and then following that contour across the glacier towards the Sugarloaf seems easy. What I can't tell is if the area around the Sugarloaf cliffs out and prevents you from linking back up with the Camp Muir route south?
Yes, on skis. There are crevasses big enough to eat you.
T-A-Y skiers frequent that line in July and August when the Muir snowfield is crowded, suncuped and gritty. Many of them have skied the line dozens of times and have memorized the crevasse patterns or are following someone who has.
If you are on foot, note that this route is longer, has steeper sections, long sections that are almost flat and has substantially higher risk of a crevasse fall or long slide on steep snow than the standard Muur route.
Most people start at the"Fourth Crossing" parking area, climb Mazama Ridge, pass the Steven's/Van Trump memorial/Sluskin's chair on their way toward Cowlitz Pass. It is also possible too approach via the Golden Gate, but this involves dropping down several hundred feet and crossing the upper Paradise river, which could be tricky.
Glad you had a good trip and didn't fall into a rushing river.
FWIW: When I was a kiddo in the '60s, we visited the Paradise Ice Caves -- it was awesome. It's is shocking every time I ski through the valley now -- having a memory of it being filled with ice hundreds of feet thick just 6 decades ago.
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