I live within 50-60 miles of Mt. Rainer and see this quite a bit on pretty clear days. (Non stormy at least) I've heard the "scientific" reason for this is basically from air velocity and humidity. James Gilliland lives by Mt. Adams south of Mt. Rainer and a volcano too, and he says this is caused from vortexes being created.
I'm not sure what you meant by "I was just thinking that this is a study in how energy might flow around a pyramid shape". Are you saying this is from a study done by a government or something? I think I would have heard something about that.
I kind of subscribe to my own theory that it's caused by a slight breeze blowing up the slopes of the mountain and it takes moisture from the snow and it all collects above the mountain in that type of formation.