The Fuhrer Finger on Tahoma (Mount Rainier) is one of the 50 Classic ski descents in North America. If attempting to do this as a day trip, be sure to allot plenty of time to ascend through the rockfall zone along the narrow chutes of the Finger and to allow for the snow to soften for the amazing 9000ft descent!
On May 15th, 2021 Micah Hoover, Dave Sherman, and Nick Maslen made a single day push up Mt. Rainier to ski the Fuhrer Finger. Departure time was 1:30am with snow beginning right out of the parking lot. Conditions were firm and made for easy skinning, however ski crampons would make the skin out of the Nisqually Glacier far more manageable. The Nisqually and Wilson Glaciers were firm and crevasses still well covered up, making for a safe traverse with minimal crevasse navigation. Working up the mountain, the Finger was well covered but sun-cupped, making for a pleasant stair step but also with a mogul track down the middle of the run.
First daylight sight of the Fuhrer Finger
Working our way up the Finger. Suncups made for an easy ascent, several spots are precarious for rockfall through here, be sure to navigate this section during stable timeframes.
Above the Finger, the route navigates to the west and onto a ridgeline that separates the Wilson Headwall and the Upper Nisqually Glaciers. Access to this ridge is getting progressively thinner, with more rock and mixed icey sections becoming exposed until the ridgeline itself. Along this unnamed ridgeline, there was consistent yet firm snow coverage the remainder of the climb.
Approaching the top of the Fuhrer Finger near 11.3k
The best part of climbing up 9,000ft? Skiing down 9,000ft! Skiing back down the ridgeline was mostly side slipping, the snow was hard/slightly icey and with relative consequence. These conditions were fairly consistent until the route directs back towards the Finger, which required navigating/downclimbing the exposed rock sections. These rock sections were slippery and consequential, therefore requiring careful down-climbing/packing your skis. Once through this section, prepare for the well deserved descent through the Finger and down the Wilson Glacier to the Nisqually Glacier. Good corn, steep slopes, and acres of untouched terrain will certainly cause random laughter and likely tears of joy.
This trip report was from a climb on May 15, 2021. Conditions change daily on the mountain. Always check current conditions and do research when planning your climb.
Nature Valley Almond Butter Bars
Clif Shot Blocks
Tony's Chocoloney Bar
Glacier Travel Gear
Backcountry Ski Attire + Equipment
All the Stoke!
Carb Loaded Dinner + 3 Hours of Sleep ;)
Chocolate Milk + Chips Waiting at the Car
13 Miles Round Trip
Total Time: 14 hours 32 minutes