July 27, 2010

Sunrise Area, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Located on the eastern slopes of Mount Rainier, Sunrise is the highest and driest area of the park. It can be reached from Hwy 410 from Puyallup and connects up with Cayuse Pass to head south to Ohanapecosh or over Chinook Pass which heads east to Yakima.

Hwy 410 in the distance headed to Chinook Pass

From Sunrise, it is possible to make out the 9,000 foot Mount Stuart far off in the distance

From Sunrise, there is a nice trail through wildflower-covered meadows to the overlook of the Emmons Glacier, one of the largest on Mount Rainier. In fact, Sunrise offers an unrivaled view of the heavily glaciated north and northeastern face of the volcano. More ice accumulates on the north slopes, because they are protected by the long shadows of this giant mountain during the winter months.

The tongue of the glacier is covered in a deep layer of rock and dust, such that it looks more like land than ice. You can see where the glacier has retreated from previous positions, leaving a deeply scarred U-shaped valley filled with sediment. Milky waters of streams filled with glacial flour head down the slope, while a kettle lake sits below.
Avalanche Lillies


Mount Rainier's north face (with Mount Adams in distance beyond) from above the Stuart Range on an airplane. Notice the heavy glaciation on the northside?

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