Monday, January 29, 2007

Mount Rainier v Iraq? Plan C.

A month ago I couldn't take it any longer. My friend from Seattle continued to text me how deep it was, how the powder was so light and that if I ever wanted to ski in the Pacific Northwest that this was the year. So I booked a flight, anticipating deep powder and untracked lines. I must have done something wrong as the snow gods are not smiling upon me.

Mount Rainier v Iraq - I wish the supreme court could decide the winnerJust in time for my trip a massive high pressure has set in. A friend of mine in Seattle referred to this as
"...a blocking high is really entrenched, hunkered down out there in the Pacific like the unwanted mother-in-law, sobbing at your cruelty and hanging on for all the misery she can inflict."
Scratch Plan A.

So I'm thinking I could make the most of a high pressure and climb and ski Mount Rainier. A most perfect plan B! Makes sense right? Not so.

Remember those storms I wrote about that took out highways on Mount Hood? The same thing happened to Mount Rainier National Park and the access is still limited at best. the park needs additional funds and quite frankly it isn't a priority for the govenment to get it done right away. There's this little fued we're involved in over in a place called Iraq. Heard of it?

I'm having a harder and harder time (was it ever easy?) looking around the nation, heck, looking around my community and seeing worthy projects in need of my tax dollars while the GOP spends millions/week in Iraq. Some estimates are $2 Billion per week, a 20% increase over last years spending. When was the last time, or any time, that education received a 20% YTY increase in spending? Afganistan is estimated at $370 million/week. I wish there were such a thing as a "time out" or a 2 week vacation from the war and its spending, thus allowing a redirecting of that money to school buildings, educational programs, national parks, trail/conservation efforts, ANYTHING but bombs and fruitless spending. "Some say, I'm a dreamer...."

But I digress, back to my trip. While the ski resorts in Washington have conditions more reflective of an ice rink tipped up, access to Rainier is not conducive to a 2-4 day trip.

From the Mount Rainier Climbing Blog comes this insight:
"Access to the mountain is still quite challenging, unless you really like hard approaches. For example, getting to the Westside Road is difficult because the Nisqually to Longmire road is only open to the public (sorry no vehicles) on Sundays from 10AM-5PM. What does this mean, either you have to complete your trip in under 7 hours, or take 7 days! And with that said, the road above Longmire is totally closed to any sort of pedestrian traffic. Even if you made it to Longmire in under 7 hours, you still can't hike, climb, ski, board, walk, thumb, or skip along the road to Paradise."
Scratch Rainier. Move on to Plan C. I'm going to make like a draft dodger and head to Canada. More on that to come.

We'll continue to check in with Mike Gauthier over there at the Rainier Climbing Blog - good stuff Mike!

Cartoon credit: David Horsey of the Seattle PI

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