Backpacking, Hiking, Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier double

Sunrise on opening day

I’ve been looking forward to hooking up with Janelle again after our excellent winter trip to Mazama Ridge, and the opening day of the Sunrise Road was the perfect opportunity to hike with a Mount Rainier expert.

Little Tahoma

There was a little more snow than we were expecting, but the general consensus is that we’re 3-4 weeks ahead of last year when it comes to snow melt. It’s certainly better than in 2011 when JK skied to Burroughs Mountain on Fourth of July weekend!

Frozen Lake

We started our day with a snowy traverse to Frozen Lake, followed by a dry trail the rest of the way to Fremont Lookout.

The trail to Fremont

Unfortunately we didn’t see any marmots by the lookout, but we did smell one. Well, we decided it was either weed or a wet marmot. Or a wet marmot smoking weed.

Fremont Lookout and Grand Park

Anyway, our rodent search paid off on the way back when the boulders by near Frozen Lake were suddenly lousy with marmots. Marmots! I love them.

It's so fluffy I'm gonna die!

It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!

Hello marmot



We couldn’t hang out with them for too long though; we still had another trail to hike – my first overnight of the year!

Fremont Lookout | 5.6 miles | 800 feet elevation gain –

Still a couple of snowfields to traverse to get to Frozen Lake

Janelle drove us back down Sunrise Road to the Crystal Lakes trailhead where we saddled up and started hiking.

Janelle in hell

Unfortunately, we had forgotten that we were in the midst of an unseasonable early heatwave and that hiking uphill with overnight packs in the middle of the day might not be the best idea. It was incredibly muggy as well, much too muggy for the west coast. It was really getting to Janelle, and I felt so bad for her. I’ve had heat exhaustion before, and it just sucks the life out of you.

Mist on the lake

I did my best to cool her off by pouring cold water on and in her wherever we could find a stream. I think the thought of jumping in the lake at the end of the trail was what really kept her going, though.

Bare campsite

She powered through it like a champ and luckily felt better as the evening progressed. It helped that the lake and our campsite were gorgeous.

Tent life Misty Crystal

Floating head

In the morning it was my turn to feel crappy. I barely got any sleep and had a pounding headache – I guess I was dehydrated too. Janelle brought water and a Kind bar to my tent, and after I had that and a strong cup of coffee, I felt almost back to normal.

Crystallized Mukmuk

Still, we decided to skip our planned hike to Glacier Basin and just lounge by the lake for a while before heading back to civilization. It wasn’t such a bad place to spend a lazy Saturday morning.

Crystal Lakes | 6 miles | 2300 feet –

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  • Reply Brianna July 11, 2013 at 2:46 pm


  • Reply iris July 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Ahahahaha, last summer my roommate and I ended up at Crystal Lakes for a day hike, when we couldn’t get through the line into Sunrise. ‘Looks like you and your friend had a beautiful time!

  • Reply Jan July 12, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Beautiful photos, looks like some lovely hiking.

  • Reply Rachel July 15, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Ahhhh I love Crystal Lakes! I went there with my friend Crystal last summer (on our quest to hike to every place with our names in it!) and we loved it. This year I’m doing a loop, starting at Chinook Pass, going up to Sourdough Gap and then down to Crystal Lakes. I just love that area!

  • Reply Ingunn July 15, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Rachel, that’s cool! For some reason I’m not having much luck finding a Lake Ingunn or Ingunn Peak.

  • Reply Glam Ski Bum July 18, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I found your blog by clicking on your comment on Justacoloradogal’s post.
    The pictures of the lake are breathtaking! That reflection is amazing.

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