Paradise Glacier, Rainier National Park, ca late 1920s
It is hard to imagine that in less than 100 years the Paradise Glacier has retreated from the massive example in the picture to almost all gone today. The photograph on this vintage postcard dates from the late 1920s or early 1930s and shows 3 people standing on the then immense glacier. There are no credits to the photographer or the publisher on this card but there is a number at the right of the writing at the lower left. The number is difficult to read but looks like 255. The picture below from Wikipedia.org shows approximately the same location as it is today.
Paradise Glacier, ca 2017
Located on Mount Rainier’s southeast flank today the glacier covers 0.4 square miles or 1.0 km. The Muir Snowfield, Anvil Rock and McClure Rock form the boundaries. A section of the main lobe connected to the larger Cowlitz Glacier and to the south there was a smaller portion near The Cowlitz Rocks and a much smaller glacier called Williwakas Glacier. The smaller lobe melted between 2004 and 2006.
The Paradise Glacier had ice caves that Bopa and I hiked up to in the mid 1960s. First discovered in 1908 the ice caves have disappeared due to glacial recessions. They did not exist in the 1940s and the 1990s and do not exist today. In 1978 the ice caves at Paradise were the longest mapped system of glacier caves in the world.
Yesterday Bob and I hiked to Glacier Basin on the opposite side of the mountain from the Paradise Glacier where there also used to be a large glacier. The photo shows a similar retreat of snow and ice.
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