Thursday, July 23, 2015

We're Jamming in July

It's our busiest month here on the mountain - and it definitely feels busy this year.  The Emmons-Winthrop Glacier, Disappointment Cleaver, and Kautz Glacier have all seen numerous ascents this month.  July holds the best chance of climbers getting stable weather patterns and straightforward route conditions.  There's also quite a bit of daylight in July which helps climbers navigate rocky slopes and broken glaciers.

Sunshine and heat in July cause some of the park's fauna to start venturing higher onto the volcano.  Goats and their tracks can be seen right around high camps near 10,000 feet.  Foxes and mice venture even higher.  Rosy finches swoop in and around and can be seen near 13,000 feet.  And of course the year-round residents, and our favorites - ravens, are also out and soaring above the mountain.  With all of these creatures up high - make sure to secure your food scene.  Keep a tight camp and don't leave food out or unattended.  Crafty foxes have ruined more than one summit bid after snatching a climbing team's food bag and trotting off to their den.  It can make for a hungry hike down the hill.

As the days get shorter into August, and the weather turns a touch cooler, be prepared for the mountain's first "winter storm" to arrive... but until then, come on up and enjoy prime-time on the mountain.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mountain Happenings

The DC is still holding together and is in fine climbable shape. Give the guide services a shout of thanks for their constant effort of route maintenance.

The exact number of ladders is continually changing. In addition to ladders there are a few short (~5-10') sections where steps have been chopped and hand lines installed.

Stay alert of who and what is above and below you. Early climbing starts are advised to avoid climbing during the temperature peak of the day. Remember to shorten your rope interval when going through Cathedral Gap and on the Cleaver to minimize human triggered rock fall.

The objective hazards of rock and ice fall are still very prominent. Areas of particular concern are the traverse below the Ingraham ice fall at the bottom of the DC and the traverse from the top of the DC to Camp Comfort/across the Ingraham.

The weather is starting to cool bringing with it some scattered showers and variable visibility. Check the weather and get a good forecast before you head out. As a result of the cooling temperatures the snow and ice has firmed considerably, creating potential for long slides in the event of a fall that is not arrested.

If you are planning on climbing the Kautz (or anywhere) please be a responsible patron and steward of the mountain and clean up after your team, or else.

Stay smart and climb on!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Tiny Fireworks and Large Crevasses

Mountain weather remained hot over the Fourth of July weekend.  Freezing levels above the mountain and no clouds had most parties leaving early and returning to high camps before the snow softened.  Clear skies on Independence Day gave climbers a view of the firework displays in cities around the mountain.  The minuscule size of mortars is another reminder of how far away from "the city" we are up here on the mountain.

Climbers have been enjoying a high success rate on all of the standard routes.  The Kautz Glacier, Disappointment Cleaver, and Emmons/Winthrop Glacier have all had many parties cruise up and down them this last weekend.  Besides the crevasses opening up a bit larger everyday, the routes have been holding together surprisingly well.

We've mentioned it before, but wanted to give all three major guide companies - RMI, IMG, and AAI a big shout out for all of the extra route work and maintenance they've been doing.  A number of ladders, hand-lines, and exposed traverses get reset and worked on almost everyday.  Please remember to give them a thanks if you see them up and out on the mountain.

The next week looks to be a bit cooler and a return to a more typical on shore flow weather pattern.  Come on up and enjoy the best weeks of climbing on the mountain!

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

General Mountain News

Foxes have been spotted slinking around Camp Muir. Keep your food storage scene tight. Use the provided buckets or store food in the public shelter.

Please be aware of extremely hazardous and climbing difficult conditions on Liberty Ridge. There have been several reported near misses with rock and ice fall. Climb at your own risk.

With the recent heat things around here are melting rapidly, watch out for rock fall and weak bridges.Make sure you bring adequate hydration and sun protection.

Everything that comes to the mountain with you should leave the mountain with you. Please no trash or extras in the camp toilets or public shelter.

Last of all don't forget to stop to enjoy the views and smell the wildflowers!