Skied off the summit on July 2. Great weather, awesome snow all the way down to Camp Schurman. Visibility was not that great due to air borne pollution (smog and apparently forest fires on the East slope of the Cascades). Did not get to see Adams or Baker, in fact we barely saw anything past the 50 km mark but given the awesome snow condition I did not mind at all. Well just a little bit, it would have been be nice to see Adams.
The slideshow is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/running...7606036596745/
CONDITIONS (as of July 3, 2008)
The Glacier Basin Trail is still in places just a flagged, if well worn out, makeshift path. Intermitent snow starts around the Burroughs Trail Junction. Continuous snow just past the Glacier Basin Camp.
Inter Glacier is in good shape, starting to gather rocks especially in the lower half. We skied down after a rainy night so the rocks brought down by the storm did not have chance to sink into the snow. The skiing was challenging, lots of quick turns.
The crossing between Inter and Emmons Glaciers is still via snow (but not for long).
The Corridor is in great shape, we skinned up all the way without taking skis off (with ski crampons). Crevasse crossings were easy. Bergschrund crossing as well.
Thank you guys. I appreciate your kind words. The Rainier, no matter which route one climbs, is in its own class as far as I am concerned. Baker, Adams and the other 3,000+ m mountains are fantastic destinations as well but there IS something magic about beiing above 4,000 m.
KARVITK: despite the looks it was actually quite warm, we skinned up wearing just a shirt, when it got a bit colder added a thin fleece. I skied down in a t-shirt and and a soft shell jacket and most of the time I was feeling too warm! It helped we had one of those no wind days, it did blow hard at the top though!