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Nisqually Chute

Mount Rainier National Park

A stunning Southwest-facing line onto the Nisqually Glacier

Ski Touring Moderate

14 km
1.4 km
1.9 km
6-7 hrs
Low Point
1.2 km
High Point
3.1 km
Nisqually Chute Map

If you’ve ever driven up to Paradise on a clear day there is a good chance the Nisqually chutes have caught your eyes. Just driving across the Nisqually river bridge it is the slopes directly up valley that rises all the way to the Muir Snowfield. Walking up to Glacier Vista you have a great perspective of this beauty of a line. Starting at around 8,100 feet it is a consistent pitch of fall line turns until arriving on the glacier at 6,300 feet. While I’ve talked about how amazing this Southwest facing line is I should also mention how incredibly dangerous it can be. From Wetslides to slab avalanches you need to be confident in the snowpack before even considering dropping in. Also being that it is alpine you only want to ride it when the sun is out.


Leaving the Paradise Visitor center the ascent route is almost identical to heading up to Camp Muir. Follow the Skyline trail until the Glacier Vista Point then climb directly up the bowl which gives you access to the Muir Snowfield Ridge. Heading up the snowfield you have two options either you can do a hard traverse lookers left at around 8,100 feet or just continue up to Camp Muir before riding down to it. In the past I had always just kept climbing and rode down to it after taking a break up at Camp Muir.

Leaving from the Muir shelter just start riding down as if you were doing a normal descent but once around 8,500 feet it is time to loosely start heading skiers right. Heading over to the western side be careful that you are going to the right spot and if there is a question be extra cautious before committing to the roll over. That being said when you are on top it is quite obvious. Dropping in the slope starts steep and slowly starts mellowing out before long heading to the flats of the Nisqually Glacier. If there is enough snow you can keep riding down on the skiers right side all the way to the Nisqually bridge but if you just want to head back to Paradise make your way skiers left before hitting the Moraine Trail which climbs back up to the Paradise area.

To see my trip in the area and more photos check out this link https://www.whereiskylemiller.com/mt-rainier/nisqually-chute/



Slopes become slightly steeper at around 25-30 degrees.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.


1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

between February and June


  • Bowl
  • Alpine
  • Single Descent

Equipment required

  • Skins

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area