Southwest slopes of Mount Rainier as viewed from St. Andrews Park. Photo taken over benchmark at 6,718 feet elevation, on lower end of Puyallup Cleaver, on broad, flat-topped, sparsely vegetated peak. Puyallup Glacier is to the left and Tahoma Glacier to the right. Liberty Cap (14,133 feet) is the high point on the left, with Sunset Amphitheatre underneath, and Point Success (14,150 feet) is the high point of the right.
The Puyallup Glacier originates high on the mountain in Sunset Amphitheatre, a cirque-like gouge near the summit. The wall of Sunset Amphitheatre, chiseled and dredged by rockslides, glacial erosion, and frost action, looks spectacular through binoculars. One theory suggests that the Electron Mudflow resulted from a cliff collapse to form this grandiose cirque. Deposits of that flow, which occurred about 500 years ago, inundated at least 14 square miles of Puget Sound Lowland, and formed the valley surface around Orting, Washington.
During July and August the lush subalpine meadows of Mount Rainier host a display of flowers unequaled anywhere. Some flowers bloom at the edge of the melting snow pack in late June, while other waits to bloom in August. In these meadows more than 30 flower species provide a rainbow of colors: blue, orange, pink, purple, red, white, and yellow in a lush green background. Mount Rainiers wildflower meadows are found at elevations between 4,000 and 6,500 feet above sea level throughout the park.