Sunday, July 15, 2007

Tips, updates and another Rescue/Assist

It's mid-July which means quite a bit of action on "the hill." Most climbers seem to be having a good time during this continued pattern of good/clear/warm weather. The success rates also remain high during this period, provided the team is in good shape and prepared for the oddities Rainier randomly serves up.

Another climber requested help from the NPS this past weekend. Again, this was a minor incident, but the response required guides from AAI, RMI and NPS climbing rangers to assist a 34 year-old man off the Disappointment Cleaver and back to Paradise. The climber became quite sick, and was experiencing severe abdominal pain when he crumpled over midway through the ascent. Thankfully, he was eventually able to walk off the mountain without the use of a helicopter or rescue litter.

On the advice front, we've noticed a few troubling trends worth noting. These thoughts may help you enjoy your visit and have a better summit climb:
  • A number of teams have been descending from the summit via the wrong (unintended) route. We suggest that you bring a few wands to mark the crater rim for your descent. This has primarily been happening to those climbing the Kautz and Emmons. If you can imagine, it's no fun to realize you're headed to Camp Muir when you really want to return to Camp Hazard or Camp Schurman.
  • Those climbing the Emmons Glacier need to be mindful of the food, gear, and trash that is being left behind on the approach. The Glacier Basin ranger has been finding quite a bit of discarded equipment, shoes, food, etc, which isn't so great for those families camping in the basin who aren't into climbing or the extra clutter/junk left behind. Also, the food usually gets ravaged and then becomes an attractant for the resident bear, who is starting to make people nervous.
  • If you're on the Disappointment Cleaver, "heads up" to missing fixed lines and protection on the descent. For safety reasons, the guide services have been pulling all of their fixed gear from the route. The heat is RAPIDLY melting things out. As a reminder, all independent climbers need to be prepared to handle the descent (and ascent) without the aid of others.
I posted updated trip reports on: Gibralter Ledges, Tahoma Glacier and Success Couloirs. There is another quality Ptarmigan Ridge update (that route is seeing a bit of action) and of course there is more on the Emmons and DC. If you're a skier, you should check out Paul Russell's excellent report with photos on Turns All Year. All great stuff...