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Flett Glacier Summer Ski Tour

Summer skiing at its best on the Northwest face of Mt. Rainier.
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 11 miles
Duration: Multiple days

Overview :  The Flett Glacier and it adjoining snowfields hold the snow very late into the summer allowing for an excellent overnight tour on... more »

Tips:  The road to Mowich Lake often opens quite late making the spring route hard to get to. The summer route up the main hiking trail is... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Start of Tour

To begin the tour, drive to Mt. Rainier National Park and enter at the NW entry that is State Hwy 165 passing through Wilkeson and Carbonado. The road ends a Mowich Lake which is the start of the tour. From the south end of the lake you have two approach options.

2. Knapsack Pass

If there is snow still covering the area, head east up towards Knapsack Pass. Climb the pass and drop down over the east face of the pass. Turn south to the next ridge line and after that short climb, ski down to Spray Park. From Spray park, head south-southeast to the large snowfields below Observation Rock which make up the Flett Glacier.

3. Spray Park Summer Trail

Later in the summer, the fastest route is the southerly route into the forest from Mowich Lake. Hike up the trail to Spray Park, then peel off on one of the foot paths to the south once you are at 5800 feet (1820m) elevation. Head to the obvious large snowfields below Observation Rock which make up the Flett Glacier.

4. Spray Park

Head to the obvious large snowfields below Observation Rock which make up the Flett Glacier. In the summer, the wildflowers in the Park are a fantastic foreground to the snowfields and summit of Mt. Rainier.

5. Cateye Lake

Once at the bottom of the snowfields, find a good place to pitch a tent and drop your gear.

6. Observation Rock

The central run below Observation Rock is usually softened nicely in mid-afternoon so yo-yo the runs above Cateye Lake the first day. The runs are about 1000 foot descents and are minimally sun-affected even late in the summer.

7. Skier's Summit

After a rousing breakfast, climb up to the east of the headwall below Observation Rock. The Flett snowfield is connected to the Echo Rock snowfield through mid-July most years. Climb towards the summit to the left of the moraine remnant and avoid the steep cliffs on the east side of Observation Rock. There have been substantial rock slides off... More

8. Echo Rock Snowfield

Be creative with your descents down the snowfields – there are a number of short steep sections, long wide runs, and selection of places to ski right into a pond or lake should you desire. After several yo-yos, ski or ride back to your tent, pack up and hike out back to Mowich Lake following your uptrack. If the road opens in early summer, the... More