In The Measure of a Mountain, Seattle writer Bruce Barcott sets out to know Rainier. His method is exploratory, meandering, personal. He begins by encircling it, first by car then on foot. He finds that the mountain is a complex of moss-bearded hemlocks and old-growth firs, high meadows that blossom according to a precise natural timeclock, sheets of crumbling pumice, fractured glaciers, and unsteady magma. Its snow fields bristle with bug life, and its marmots chew rocks to keep their teeth from overgrowing. Rainier rumbles with seismic twitches and jerks—some one-hundred-thirty earthquakes annually. The nightmare among geologists is the unstoppable wall of mud that will come rolling down its slopes when a hunk of mountain falls off, as it does every half century (and we’re fifty years overdue). Rainier is both an obsession and a temple that attracts its own passionate acolytes: scientists, priests, rangers, and mountain guides. Rainier is also a monument to death: every year someone manages just to disappear on its flanks; imperiled climbers and their rescuers perish on glaciers; a planeload of Marines remains lodged in ice since they crashed into the mountain in 1946. Referred to by locals as simply "the mountain," it is the single largest feature of the Pacific Northwest landscape—provided it isn’t hidden in clouds. Visible or not, though, it’s presence is undeniable.
Publisher: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
A study of the geomorphology of rivers draining Mount Rainier, Washington, was completed to identify sources of sediment to the river network; to identify important processes in the sediment delivery system; to assess current sediment loads in rivers draining Mount Rainier; to evaluate if there were trends in streamflow or sediment load since the early 20th century; and to assess how rates of sedimentation might continue into the future using published climate-change scenarios. Rivers draining Mount Rainier carry heavy sediment loads sourced primarily from the volcano that cause acute aggradation in deposition reaches as far away as the Puget Lowland. Calculated yields ranged from 2,000 tonnes per square kilometer per year [(tonnes/km2)/yr] on the upper Nisqually River to 350 (tonnes/km2)/yr on the lower Puyallup River, notably larger than sediment yields of 50–200 (tonnes/km2)/yr typical for other Cascade Range rivers. These rivers can be assumed to be in a general state of sediment surplus. As a result, future aggradation rates will be largely influenced by the underlying hydrology carrying sediment downstream. The active-channel width of rivers directly draining Mount Rainier in 2009, used as a proxy for sediment released from Mount Rainier, changed little between 1965 and 1994 reflecting a climatic period that was relatively quiet hydrogeomorphically. From 1994 to 2009, a marked increase in geomorphic disturbance caused the active channels in many river reaches to widen. Comparing active-channel widths of glacier-draining rivers in 2009 to the distance of glacier retreat between 1913 and 1994 showed no correlation, suggesting that geomorphic disturbance in river reaches directly downstream of glaciers is not strongly governed by the degree of glacial retreat. In contrast, there was a correlation between active-channel width and the percentage of superglacier debris mantling the glacier, as measured in 1971. A conceptual model of sediment delivery processes from the mountain indicates that rockfalls, glaciers, debris flows, and main-stem flooding act sequentially to deliver sediment from Mount Rainier to river reaches in the Puget Lowland over decadal time scales. Greater-than-normal runoff was associated with cool phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Streamflow-gaging station data from four unregulated rivers directly draining Mount Rainier indicated no statistically significant trends of increasing peak flows over the course of the 20th century. The total sediment load of the upper Nisqually River from 1945 to 2011 was determined to be 1,200,000±180,000 tonnes/yr. The suspended-sediment load in the lower Puyallup River at Puyallup, Washington, was 860,000±300,000 tonnes/yr between 1978 and 1994, but the long-term load for the Puyallup River likely is about 1,000,000±400,000 tonnes/yr. Using a coarse-resolution bedload transport relation, the long-term average bedload was estimated to be about 30,000 tonnes/yr in the lower White River near Auburn, Washington, which was four times greater than bedload in the Puyallup River and an order of magnitude greater than bedload in the Carbon River. Analyses indicate a general increase in the sediment loads in Mount Rainier rivers in the 1990s and 2000s relative to the time period from the 1960s to 1980s. Data are insufficient, however, to determine definitively if post-1990 increases in sediment production and transport from Mount Rainier represent a statistically significant increase relative to sediment-load values typical from Mount Rainier during the entire 20th century. One-dimensional river-hydraulic and sediment-transport models simulated the entrainment, transport, attrition, and deposition of bed material. Simulations showed that bed-material loads were largest for the Nisqually River and smallest for the Carbon River. The models were used to simulate how increases in sediment supply to rivers transport through the river systems and affect lowland reaches. For each simulation, the input sediment pulse evolved through a combination of translation, dispersion, and attrition as it moved downstream. The characteristic transport times for the median sediment-size pulse to arrive downstream for the Nisqually, Carbon, Puyallup, and White Rivers were approximately 70, 300, 80, and 60 years, respectively.
“The idea of a national park was an American invention of historic consequences marking the beginning of a worldwide movement,” the U.S. National Park Service asserts in its 2006 Management Policies. National Parks beyond the Nation brings together the work of fifteen scholars and writers to reveal the tremendous diversity of the global national park experience—an experience sometimes influencing, sometimes influenced by, and sometimes with no reference whatever to the United States. Writer and historian Wallace Stegner once called national parks “America’s best idea.” The contributors to this volume use that exceptionalist claim as a starting point for thinking about an international history of national parks. They explore the historical interactions and influences—intellectual, political, and material—within and between national park systems in Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Indonesia, Antarctica, Brazil, and other countries. What is the role of science in the history of these preserves? Of politics? What purposes do they serve: Conservation? Education? Reverence toward nature? Tourist pleasure? People have thought differently about national parks at different times and in different places; and neat physical boundaries have been disrupted by wandering animals, human movements, the spread of disease, and climate change. Viewing parks around the world, at various scales and across national frontiers, these essays offer a panoptic view of the common and contrasting cultural and environmental features of national parks worldwide. If national parks are, as Stegner said, “absolutely American,” they are no less part of the world at large. National Parks beyond the Nation tells us as much about the multifarious and changing ideas of nature and culture as about the framing of those ideas in geographic, temporal, and national terms.
* 41 principal routes and their variations, with aerial photos and route overlays * Extensive material on Rainier's unique weather, terrain, high altitude and glacier training opportunities, and more * Features sidebars on mountain history, Rainier personalities, and dramatic rescues One of author Mike Gauthier's primary duties as Lead Climbing Ranger for Mount Rainier National Park was advising climbing parties about what to expect on the mountain. Name any route on Rainier, and he can describe its rewards and specific challenges (he's summited Rainier more than 170 times during all seasons and under intense conditions). Whether you choose the classic Liberty Ridge route, the drama of Success Cleaver, or the rarely attempted Mowich Face, Gauthier provides all the details you'll need for a successful and enjoyable climb. This edition presents the information on logistics, regulations, and permits. It includes expanded material on understanding and surmounting Rainier's famed glaciers; tips on selecting a guide service; excellent mountaineering training sites around Rainier for those bound for the world's highest peaks; and bonus routes on adjacent Little Tahoma, Washington's third highest peak.
On Mount Hood is a contemporary, first-person narrative biography of Oregon's greatest mountain, featuring stories full of adventure and tragedy, history and geology, people and places, trivia and lore. The mountain itself helps create the notorious Oregon rains and deep alpine snows, and paved the way for snowboarding in the mid 1980s. Its forests provide some of the purest drinking water in the world, and its snowy peak captures the attention of the nation almost every time it wreaks fatal havoc on climbers seeking the summit. On Mount Hood builds a compelling story of a legendary mountain and its impact on the people who live in its shadow, and includes interviews with a forest activist, a volcanologist, and a para-rescue jumper. Jon Bell has been writing from his home base in Oregon since the late 1990s. His work has appeared in Backpacker, The Oregonian, The Rowing News, Oregon Coast, and many other publications. He lives in Lake Oswego, OR.
For general readers or seasoned geologists, "Fire Mountains of the West" begins with an introduction to volcanoes, the processes that create them, and the glaciers that sculpt them. Includes photos, bibliography, glossary, and index. High school & older.
Home to more than 120 alpine plant species, three of which are found nowhere else in the world, Mount Rainier remains a refuge for a diversity of flora and fauna. It is also a magnet for the hundreds of thousands of people who live within sight of its snowy slopes and for millions of visitors who arrive from around the world each year. O'Hara and McNulty explore the conflict this presents as park managers attempt to balance protection of the mountain's fragile ecosystems with the desires of the many who wish to seek solitude in its vast forests or challenge themselves on its daunting glaciers.
“The first time we came here I didn’t know what to expect,” she told me as we paddled upstream. “What we found just blew me away. Jaguars, pumas, river otters, howler monkeys. The place was like a Noah’s Ark for all the endangered species driven out of the rest of Central America. There was so much life! That expedition was when I first saw the macaws.” As a young woman, Sharon Matola lived many lives. She was a mushroom expert, an Air Force survival specialist, and an Iowa housewife. She hopped freight trains for fun and starred as a tiger tamer in a traveling Mexican circus. Finally she found her one true calling: caring for orphaned animals at her own zoo in the Central American country of Belize. Beloved as “the Zoo Lady” in her adopted land, Matola became one of Central America’s greatest wildlife defenders. And when powerful outside forces conspired with the local government to build a dam that would flood the nesting ground of the last scarlet macaws in Belize, Sharon Matola was drawn into the fight of her life. In The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw, award-winning author Bruce Barcott chronicles Sharon Matola’s inspiring crusade to stop a multinational corporation in its tracks. Ferocious in her passion, she and her confederates–a ragtag army of courageous locals and eccentric expatriates–endure slander and reprisals and take the fight to the courtroom and the boardroom, from local village streets to protests around the world. As the dramatic story unfolds, Barcott addresses the realities of economic survival in Third World countries, explores the tension between environmental conservation and human development, and puts a human face on the battle over globalization. In this marvelous and spirited book, Barcott shows us how one unwavering woman risked her life to save the most beautiful bird in the world. "Barcott’s compelling narrative is suspenseful right up to the last moment." –Publisher's Weekly "An engrossing but sad account of a brave and quirky champion of nature."–Kirkus “…A riveting account of one woman’s fight to save one of the last bastions of an endangered Species. . . Barcott writes of international politics, ecology and endangered species, and human relations with equal facility. This real page-turner of narrative nonfiction is hard to put down.” –Booklist From the Hardcover edition.