High Winds Damage Rainier Fire Lookouts
Not only are the folks at Mount Rainier facing the challenge of repairing damage that early November's torrential rains brought, but apparently high winds associated with the storm battered the historic Gobbler's Knob Fire Lookout, tearing off the roof and two walls.
Rangers discovered that damage on a recent backcountry trek. Then, a helicopter flight to check on the park's radio repeaters led to the discovery that the Mount Fremont Fire Lookout had also suffered significant damage from high winds.
On November 6th, the date of the rain storm, wind speeds recorded at Camp Muir, the park's high climbing camp at 10,188 feet, topped out at 121 mph. Gusts didn't drop below 48 mph for more than 12 hours that day.
"I'm convinced the damage happened during the same November storm that caused devastating flooding throughout the park," says Rainier Superintendent Dave Uberuaga.
Rainier has four fire lookouts. All were built between 1932 and 1934 and are on the National Register of Historic Places.
"It's sad to see Gobbler's Knob gaping open and filled with snow," says Rainier spokeswoman Lee Taylor. "The fire lookouts are a part of the park's history and still give a lot of pleasure to hikers. Obviously, the views are some of the best in the park."