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Old October 23rd, 2015, 02:22 PM
Russ Russ is offline
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Mt. Rainier: Part 4 - Chinook Pass area loop trail

Anyone who has followed or viewed my past images will recognize this as my stated favorite hike, especially as I get older. It is approximately 3.5 miles long (depending on who you ask), has an modest elevation gain of 500 ft (5355 to 5870 ft), and has great views during its entire length. It follows the Pacific Crest Trail southward from Chinook Pass, thru the edge of the William O. Douglas Wilderness (Supreme Court Justice and native of nearby Yakima, WA), before looping into MRNP. I've done it in as little as 1 hr 15 minutes and upwards of 7-8 hours, fitness and photo distractions/opportunities being the greatest factors. It is a hike to be savored! I spent a little over 3 hours this time.

I used both a 24-105mm and 70-200/f4 lenses...but can't recall which when! I also used a GND on some.

1. The hike can be done CW or CCW. I ALWAYS choose CW. I used to drop the vehicle at the trailhead and then hike back from the lower trailhead. Wisdom now prevails and I do the short road hike FIRST, leaving the car at the lower trailhead. As such, I get to hike past this viewpoint of Tipsoo Lake and Mt Rainier beyond.

Canon 5D II, 45mm
ISO-100, f-10, 1/30 sec, polarizer
tripod, MLU, cable release
2. Backlit foliage....I can't help myself! Trailside huckleberry, mostly gleaned of its fruit (bears, birds, people, and ???).

Canon 5D II, 105mm
ISO-100, f-4, 1/160 sec, polarizer
tripod, MLU, cable release
3. A favorite photogenic tarn (snowmelt fed pond) at its brownest/driest and lowest water level, by far, that I've ever seen. Looking north.

Canon 5D II, 32mm
ISO-100, f-11, 1/50 sec, polarizer
tripod, MLU, cable release
4. The trail ahead reenters MRNP (Mt Rainier National Park). The trail to the left is the PCT heading south.

Canon 5D II, 35mm
ISO-100, f-11, 1/25 sec, polarizer
tripod, MLU, cable release
5. Up thru this moment, the views have been north, east, and south as a peak to the immediate west blocks views of Mt Rainier. This last ascent will change that!

Canon 5D II, 47mm
ISO-100, f-11, 1/25 sec, polarizer
tripod, MLU, cable release
6. What I refer to as "the lunch spot". You literally pop over the ridge and are immediately confronted with this view. A great place to soak it all in. In the Spring (mid-late July most years) you have vast wildflower fields and in the fall you have alpine firs and fall foliage in the bushes. For the next mile various versions of this view are why I do the loop CW.

Canon 5D II, 70mm
ISO-100, f-16, 1/20 sec, polarizer
tripod, MLU, cable release
7. Another couple of 100 yards out, with a wider view lens, you get this view.

Canon 5D II, 32mm
ISO-100, f-16, 1/10 sec, polarizer
tripod, MLU, cable release
8. Further along yet, another closer view. That's Governor's Ridge (right) and The Chimneys (left) below the snowline. North-south running Cayuse Pass is nearer. As the loop trail circles around the peak, undulating along its ridges, to the immediate left is a STEEP cliff with great views, often overlooking raptors soaring BELOW you.

Canon 5D II, 70mm
ISO-100, f-16, 1/10 sec, polarizer
tripod, MLU, cable release
9. THE mountain, as it's known locally, making its own weather, noting the cloud cap. Little Tahoma Peak is left of center. Just left of the cliffs on the right of Rainier is 1 of 3 major ascent routes up the mountain, emanating from Camp Schurman which is located above Steamboat Prow, the inverted V on the far right. 2 of the major 28 glaciers on Rainier split at Steamboat into Emmons (nearside) and Winthrop (backside).

Canon 5D II, 105mm
ISO-100, f-16, 1/40 sec, polarizer
tripod, MLU, cable release

Your comments and/or critique are always appreciated.

Other threads in this series include:
1. Mt Rainier NP: part 1 - Paradise
2. Mt. Rainier: Part 2 - Stevens Canyon
3. Mt. Rainier: Part 3 - Chinook Pass
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Last edited by Russ; October 23rd, 2015 at 02:30 PM.
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Old October 23rd, 2015, 04:51 PM
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MannyC MannyC is offline
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Re: Mt. Rainier: Part 4 - Chinook Pass area loop trail

Breathtaking beautiful scenery Russ, thanks for sharing these.
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Old October 23rd, 2015, 11:37 PM
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squirl033 squirl033 is offline
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Re: Mt. Rainier: Part 4 - Chinook Pass area loop trail

gorgeous, especially the last several shots with those spectacular views of the mountain. #6 is breathtaking! i've never hiked that trail... now i may have to give it a try. one nit, it seems the images are a bit dark, especially foregrounds... i might have lightened the shadow areas a bit to highlight the colors. also, i've found that using a polarizer at high elevations can sometimes lead to odd colors... as a result, i don't use one in the mountains. i do occasionally use a 3-stop grad ND if i need to tone down the sky a bit...
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Old October 24th, 2015, 12:06 AM
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Re: Mt. Rainier: Part 4 - Chinook Pass area loop trail

Absolutely beautiful series. I particularly like #6, 8 + 9. Wonderful!
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Old October 24th, 2015, 05:17 PM
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Re: Mt. Rainier: Part 4 - Chinook Pass area loop trail

spectacular Russ !! That cloud working off the mountain top really adds to the image, really like the warm foreground colors against the cool colors of the sky
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Old October 27th, 2015, 02:43 PM
Russ Russ is offline
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Re: Mt. Rainier: Part 4 - Chinook Pass area loop trail

Manny, Rocky, Sabine, & Jim,

Thanks for viewing and commenting....always appreciated.
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Old October 28th, 2015, 04:07 PM
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Re: Mt. Rainier: Part 4 - Chinook Pass area loop trail

Another nice series, Russ. It's nice you've got such ready access to an enjoyable hike!
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Old October 28th, 2015, 06:16 PM
Russ Russ is offline
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Re: Mt. Rainier: Part 4 - Chinook Pass area loop trail

Thanks Tim.
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