It looks to be great weather throughout the park this weekend. Get an early start to avoid scorching daytime temps and full parking lots. Expect crowds in ranger stations and be prepared with a backup plan if the spot you most want to camp is full. Help us out by knowing things like your license plate number, emergency contacts for everyone in your group, and having your climbing passes in hand or payment ready. It helps dramatically if your entire group comes in together and ready to go.
|Ranger Patrol, Ingraham Flats|
In one incident a climbing team was caught in a avalanche around 13,500' and swept over 800' according to them, and luckily were able to stop short of disaster. One of the most significant aspects of this event is that the team had climbed into a forecasted strong storm. This forecast included high winds on the upper mountain along with a significant amount of precip (which of course is still snow at 13,500'). New snow, plus wind, plus steep slopes, equal avalanches. The safest option is to not go into that situation or to turn around if bad weather sneaks up on you. Conditions such as this usually stabilize rapidly after a storm and can be avoided. Also remember even small avalanches that might not bury a person can still do serious damage if they push you off a cliff.
Another close call came when a team of climbers from Colorado got lost after a successful ascent on Liberty Ridge but failed to properly plan for their descent down the Emmons. As a result they started descending into some very serious terrain (Curtis Ridge) before they realized they had it wrong. Eventually they found their way down the Emmons but spent a lot of time and energy doing so. The route isn't over until you are down to your car. Get the proper information and make good plans before any climb. In the end these climbers also ditched a pair of skis on their descent because it was "too windy" to continue carrying them on their pack, and conditions were too difficult for them to actually ski. Climbing Rangers later recovered the skis that were left (littered) on the upper mountain. Needless to say we think this is poor form.
Happy climbing, Happy 4th. We'll be looking for fireworks from 10,000' so if you aren't up here and it's legal to do so in your area shoot off some big ones for us!