Two friends and I headed to Mt. Rainier yesterday with a plan to hike to Camp Muir, the small, flat-ish area at an elevation of 10,000 feet on the massive 14, 411-foot mountain where most summit climbers put up tents and spend their first, often somewhat breathless night, before climbing to the top the next day.
When we arrived at Paradise, however, the winds were howling and spindrift snow was blasting the landscape -- this at the relatively "low" elevation of 5,000 feet -- such that we didn't even want to get out of the car, much less climb five thousand feet of elevation higher into the teeth of the nastiness.
We considered a Plan B: To drive a bit lower and snowshoe out the Stevens Canyon Rd (still closed for the winter and snow-covered) toward the Tatoosh peaks; but it turned out that the winds were whipping there too, and we were also concerned about avalanche potential.
In the end, we drove further down the mountain below Longmire, hiked/snowshoed the Kautz Creek trail up toward (but not quite to) Indian Henry's Hunting Ground, and wound up having a great outing. From our lunch spot on a high, snowy knoll, we could look out toward Mt. Adams (above) and some of the westerly Tatoosh peaks.
Once back at the car at the end of the day, we watched a lenticular cloud form over Rainier, an indication that the high winds on the mountain had not let up. Magic Hour photographic light was wonderful.
Post-hike dinner was at the Wildberry in Ashford, a sweet little restaurant run by a Nepali Sherpa family. I got to say "Namaste" a lot, drink Nepali tea, and we three hikers enjoyed a fine meal. I had Nepali dalh (lentils) and was in vegetarian heaven.
Approx 8+ mi RT
2300'+ ele gain