Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Disappointment Cleaver 5/29/2017

Looking back at the traverse above the Cleaver.
Memorial Day weekend brought beautiful weather and some changes to the climbing route above Camp Muir. While some parties continued to use the Ingraham Direct (ID) The majority of climbers and the guide services transitioned to the Disappointment Cleaver (DC) route over the past few days.

Overall, the DC is in great condition with many parties climbing each day, especially during the nice weather on Sunday. The Ingraham Direct (I.D.) is becoming somewhat hollow with an increasing likelihood of crevasse falls, leading to the switch to the DC. The single ladder on the I.D. is scheduled to be removed sometime in the next few days, along with all of the fixed pickets.

The Cleaver itself is almost entirely snow and begins with a well-shoveled traverse (and a handline) out onto the crest of the ridge. The upper half has a handful of switchbacks before arriving at a nice break spot near some the rocks atop the Cleaver.


Nearing the bergschrund around 13,800'
From the top of the Cleaver, the route does a rightward traverse nearly to the Emmons Shoulder. There are bountiful fixed pickets in the section, which can be used at your discretion. Part of this traverse is threatened by an overhanging serac, so try to move efficiently here.


The last thousand feet to the crater rim weaves around some large holes.  Try to maintain appropriate rope spacing up there, especially on the descent when slack is more likely to develop. On busy weekends, please work with the guides on the route to coordinate passing one another to avoid bottleneck situations. Also, as you pass them be sure to thank them for all of the hard work they put into maintaining such a nice route!




Monday, May 29, 2017

The Basics


Question and Answers:


Before you call with questions, check out the information on these Route Briefs for the two most popular routes on the mountain.

Disappointment Cleaver 
Emmons-Winthrop

These route briefs are packed full of useful information and will most likely answer all of your questions. So grab a cup of coffee and your favorite chair and take the time to look these over.

Weather:

Be sure to check the updated Mount Rainier Recreational Forecast before heading out for your climb.

Registration, Reservations, and Fees:

Registration

You can register for your climb at the climbing information center and any wilderness information center within the park the day of your climb or up to 24 hours ahead of time. For locations, hours and operation and phone numbers follow this Climbing Registration link.

Climbing Cost Recovery Fee

The climbing fee and where you pay has changed this year. It is now online at pay.gov  There will be no annual climbing passes issued so keep you receipt handy during registration to show that you have paid.  Please have everyone in your party try to pay online before you come to the park.  There is no longer an option to pay for more than one pass at a time!

Reservations

The park opens 60% of its sites at each camp or zone up to reservations.  The other 40% are always kept for 24 hours or day-of walk-up permitting.  For more information on reservations, please visit:

https://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/climbing.htm

Current Conditions:

The Muir Web Cam is on line!   Muir Web Cam

For the latest snow and route conditions, please keep in touch with this blog.

If after all of this, you are having trouble finding the answer to your question, please give us a call.  360-569-6641.  Bear in mind that the ranger may have quite a few registering climbers at the desk when you call.

Thanks!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Kautz Glacier (May 28th)

Upper Kautz looking very filled in

Ice pitches with hardly any ice

Fairly good access off the turtle and onto the Kautz

Success Cleaver (May 28th)

Success Cleaver from Pyramid to the convergence with the Kautz Cleaver

Lower Success

Upper Success traverse

Kautz Cleaver & Success Couloirs (May 28th)

Looking up the route from 11,400 ft.

Last week's lower freezing levels paired with the warming trend at the start of the weekend allowed climbing rangers and excellent opportunity to get out on the SW side of the mountain. The itinerary was to access the Kautz cleaver via Paradise by crossing the lower Nisqually, climbing the Wilson gully, and contouring west around 8,500 ft. all the way to the Kautz glacier. The lower Nisqually/Wilson gully are still well filled in and are easily navigated. The ridge line that leads up to "the castle" above the Wilson gully however, is starting to melt out and peel away. It was quite difficult to manage on skis and i would bet you will be forced to walk the ridge on rock after this warm spell.
Ridge line melting out and breaking up as cornice pulls away from the ridge.
Tricky navigation if you choose to stay on the snow.
Just below the castle, a quick contour to the eastern edge of the Kautz glacier lead us to a nice flat/protected snow camp at 9,100ft. This elevation currently allows for a very mellow crossing of the Kautz glacier over to the Kautz Cleaver. From camp, a 150ft. descending traverse will get you on the cleaver. From here, choose your own adventure up and climbers left as you pick your way up the cleaver and into the Success couloir. Once we were in the couloir, we hugged the climbers right ridge line to stay out of the fall line.
Route accross the Kautz glacier and up the couloir shown. 9,100 ft. camp shown as red square.

Warming temps and large mushrooms of upper mountain rime had us on the lookout for falling ice. French stepping and front pointing conditions were excellent in the early morning and 4,000 ft. later we found ourselves at the top of the Success couloir. From here, trend east and up through two rock bands to gain Point Success.

Track log from camp to 13,000 ft.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Liberty Ridge 5/27/2017

Thanks to IMG guide Justin Merle for the follow Liberty Ridge report!

"IMG Liberty Ridge climb May 22-26th: 

We climbed over the course of 5 days, Monday through Friday last week.

Approach: May 22-23.  We experienced generally deep sloppy isothermal snow with good warm temps and great weather (freezing level 13,000 ft) as we approached the base of the ridge.  Boot pen was ankle to knee deep over these two days (we spent our first night at St Elmo Pass).  We were certainly envious of our buddies who passed us on skis, but we were happy to not be carrying snowshoes later.  Easy travel up the Carbon took us to the base of the Ridge--only having cross over a few crevasses.  There are currently a couple good options for route selection to the base of the ridge and it seems like they will last awhile.  We camped at the base of the Ridge on the Carbon to wait out the high winds Tuesday night. 

* Photo: Justin Merle, IMG guide.  Blue showing the access taken by their team, yellow showing an alternate route they discussed.

Liberty Ridge: On Wednesday the 24th we started toward thumb rock around 10:30 am as the winds began to drop.  We gained the ridge easily a couple hundred feet up on the west side.  The freezing level was now at 4000ft and the west side of the ridge had good firm cramponing.  We transitioned to the east side of the ridge about halfway to Thumb Rock and found deeper generally secure wet snow.  Harder trail breaking but good secure travel.  Occasionally it was firm and less secure but still good cramponing.

Photo: Justin Merle, IMG guide, showing the approach to Liberty Ridge.

There was plenty of snow at Thumb Rock and easy digging, so we made a large platform for our three EV 2 tents and rested up for the big day Thursday.  We saw no rockfall  while at Thumb Rock (thanks cold temps!).

Upper Ridge:  May 25th. We left for our summit day in good cold and generally calm conditions at 3:45 am.  We climbed west out of Thumb rock and found great, bootable cold snow.  Hard work kicking steps made for secure steps for those behind the leader.  We transitioned back to the east side of the ridge a couple hundred feet below the top of the Black Pyramid.  There was firm, less secure snow and a little ice as we crossed the crest back to the east, where we again found softer snow and more secure travel.  The ice patch above the Black pyramid had grown as the high winds the day before scoured away a bunch of the snow that our friend had easily booted up on Tuesday. 

We tried to pass the ice on the left, but the snow cover became thin and we placed a couple screws and made a 50m pitch to cross back into secure snow.  From their we continued up into the basin below the 'shrund with great snow travel conditions.  We passed the 'shrund easily in the middle with 8' of 85 degree neve climbing.  Above the 'schrund we lost vis as a cap-cloud formed.  We made 3 more 50m pitches on good, moderately steep snow to get to easier glacier terrain below Liberty Cap by 11:30 am.  We navigated from Liberty cap to Columbia Crest with no vis in the icy cloud with light snow and descended the well-wanded DC/Ingraham direct route to Muir by 5pm."

Justin Merle

Memorial Day Weekend Update

Good Morning Climbers and Hikers

This holiday is shaping up to be a great one here at Mt. Rainier! Just a quick update for visitors heading up to the park over the weekend.

Park Openings:
Stevens Canyon Road is open for the summer

Box Canyon Road is open for the summer.

Steven's Canyon Entrance Station is now open.

White River Entrance Station is now open

White River Wilderness Information Center is now open daily 7:30-5:00

Longmire Wilderness Information Center is now open daily 7:30-5:00

Climbing:
The Ingraham Direct is still in. There is a large 8-10 crevasse crossing with a handline in place on the route. The guides are reporting that this section may go out any day or even on your way down from the summit. Take note of the DC route on your way up because it may be your way back down. Make sure you are bringing snow pickets vs. ice screws for anchors and running protection.

Weather:
The latest forecast is still calling for good weather with high temperatures well above normal. Freezing levels are expected to be bouncing around 11,000 - 12,000 for the next three days.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend




Happy Memorial Day Everyone!

Here is what you need to know to make this upcoming weekend go off with out a hitch!

Question and Answers:
Before you call with questions check out the information on these Route Briefs for the two most popular routes on the mountain.  Disappointment Cleaver   Emmons-Winthrop  These route briefs are packed full of useful information and will most likely answer all of your questions. So grab a cup of coffee and your favorite chair and take the time to look these over.

Weather:
The weather forecast is calling for a high pressure to move over the area starting tomorrow. It is expected to last through Memorial Day with freezing levels rising above 11,000 by Monday. Be sure to check the updated Mount Rainier Recreational Forecast before heading out for your climb.

Registration and Fees:
You can register for your climb at the climbing information center and any wilderness information center within the park the day of your climb or up to 24 hours ahead of time. For locations, hours and operation and phone numbers follow this Climbing Registration link.
The climbing fee and where you pay has changed this year. It is now online at pay.gov  There will be no annual climbing passes issued so keep you receipt handy during registration to show that you have paid.

Current Conditions:
The Muir Web Cam is back on line!   Muir Web Cam
Independent climbers and guide services have been successful climbing the Ingraham Direct as of today. Based on the condition of the ID with additional crevasses opening up, the guide services have begun work on the Disappointment Cleaver. They are are expecting a route changeover to the DC any day now. The Emmons route is holding strong and is still very direct.







Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Gibraltar Ledges 5/23/2017

On Monday May 22nd climbing rangers Kurt Hicks and Joseph Anderson climbed the Gibraltar (Gib) Ledges route on Mt Rainier. 

* Photo Kurt Hicks and Joe Anderson beginning the traverse through the Gibraltar Ledges.

The climb begins by ascending the striking ridge line (Cowlitz Cleaver) immediately to the northwest of Camp Muir.  The route climbs moderate to steep snow slopes and meanders around scenic rocky gendarmes for 1,600 feet until it intercepts with the namesake Gibraltar Rock. 

From 11,800 feet the route follows exposed snow and rock "ledges" that traverse the well defined base of Gib Rock.  This portion of the climb is south west facing (shade until 10am) and is exposed to rock fall hazard from above while the terrain remains moderately steep and exposed.  The ledges traverse for a third of a mile and intercept with the top of Gibraltar Chute at 12,300 feet.  From here the route climbs 400 feet up 45 degree snow until the top of Gibraltar Rock. 

From this point you are looking down the other side at the upper Ingraham Glacier and the top of Disappointment Cleaver.  There are several large crevasses separating the route from the glacier below.  To avoid this hazard climb toward the summit on the upper Ingraham glacier for another 1,200 feet elevation. From here the route will intercept with the current track of the more popular DC route at approximately 13,800 feet.

We found the route to be in good, mostly snowy conditions along the Ledges. Protection is plentiful, with solid pickets and occasional ice screws available. Try to move quickly across the ledges to reduce exposure to spontaneous rockfall.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Kautz Glacier (May 22, 2017)

Kautz glacier is still looking very filled in with minimal exposed ice.
Kautz glacier ice pitches

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Disappointment Cleaver 5/20/2017

Here are some of the latest pictures and a track of the most recent path to the summit just received from the rangers, Sam Siemens-Luthy, Joseph Anderson, and Kurt Hicks at Camp Muir.

The route is still going up Ingraham Direct.  Enjoy it while you can!

 

 
 


Emmons-Winthrop 5/17/2017

The White River Road is now open to the campground and climbers are beginning to make forays on the upper Emmons and Winthrop glaciers. As of yet it doesn't appear that anyone other than rangers has made it to the summit by this route.
 
* Photo: Climbing rangers Seth Waterfall, Kathryn Vollinger, and Tim Hardin ascend the Emmons Winthrop Glacier route on 5/20/2017
 
We have had two ranger patrols climb the route. The first team summitted 5/14 and the most recent was today 5/20.
 
The current route is the classic Emmons and follows the basic descriptions in most guide books and the Emmons Winthrop Route Brief published by the climbing rangers.
 
The climbing is very straight forward from Camp Schurman to the top of the Corridor and today's surface conditions were firm Neve. From the top of the Corridor to 13,500' we were breaking trail in calf to thigh deep, wind deposited snow. There are some large crevasses in this area that must be end run as well. From 13,500' to the crater rim we encountered firm snow and large sastrugi but we were able to climb directly up and over the bergschrund without any shenanigans what so ever.
 
* Photo: Climbing Rangerr Tim Hardin contemplates the Emmons-Winthrop route from the roof of the ranger station at Camp Schurman.
 
On our descent we had to re-break the trail from 13,500' back soon to 11,600' as the wind had filled it all back in. I expect tomorrow we will have to break the trail in for a third time since we're experiencing a cold North wind currently.
 
* Map: Google Earth representation of the tracklog of the route taken by the rangers from Camp Schurman to the summit today (5/20/2017).  Download the Google Earth KML file.

 
A note for skiers, the wind has kept things cool and insulated from any freeze/thaw cycles above 11000'. It has been pretty winter-like here very recently and the upper mountain has yet to experience a big warm up here in the East side.

Avalanche Special Advisory

Posted on the NWAC page: http://www.nwac.us

Avalanche Special Advisory
Issued: Thu, May 18, 2017 at 4:07 PM PST
Expires: Mon, May 22, 2017 at 6:00 PM PST

Snowpack Analysis:

Say goodbye to winter and hello to warmer weather and a spring avalanche cycle.

Recent Weather

A strong front, and then an upper low pressure system and cold unstable air mass crossed the Northwest on Monday night and Tuesday. The strongest winds and thunderstorms, and heaviest snow were generally in the south Cascades especially Mt Hood.

Snow for the 2 days ending Wednesday morning was about 4-6 inches at Hurricane, 6-24 inches along the west slopes of the Washington Cascades with the most on the volcanoes and generally above the pass levels, 20-30 inches at Mt Hood, and 5-10 inches along the Cascade east slopes at higher elevations. This is a lot of snow for this time of year!

Recent Avalanche Observations

As of Thursday there isn't much for observations, here is what we've got.
Communications to the base weather station are out at Mt Baker due to lightning on May 4th. But the ski area crew there reported about 15 in of storm snow there on Tuesday with limited visibility but with natural loose wet avalanches seen in the vicinity of the base of the area.

Via the NWAC Observations page, backcountry skiers at Washington Pass on Tuesday reported 5-8 inches of storm snow that was not well bonded to the previous frozen sun affected snow. On south slopes they triggered several storm slab avalanches that gave debris piles 4 feet deep x 150 feet wide.
The WSDOT crew at Chinook Pass on Wednesday reported that skis and explosives triggered 6-12 inches loose wet and storm slab avalanches on specific solar slopes that were large relative to the paths.

NWAC observer Laura Green took a lower elevation trip up to 5800 feet on Mt Hood on Tuesday. Stormy weather with strong winds, graupel and thunder made for an exciting tour. She found about 12 inches of storm snow without signs of instability on lower angle NE to SE slopes in trees on her below treeline tour.

Detailed Forecast for Friday:

Weather Forecast

The weather has finally shifted from the recent winter-like pattern to an overall sunnier warmer weather pattern. An upper ridge will gradually build over the US coastal waters through the weekend and early next week.

Mostly sunny weather with gradually warmer temperatures should be seen Friday. Freezing levels should rise to the 7-9000 foot range from the north to the south Cascades Friday.

A weak system should move over the building ridge and over the Northwest on Friday night and Saturday morning. This should cause a push of clouds into the western Washington lowlands and along the west slopes of the north to central Cascades. Some light showers are indicated in convergence mainly between Puget Sound and the central Cascades Friday night and Saturday morning. But sunnier weather is likely by Saturday afternoon. Freezing levels should rise to the 8,000-11,000 foot range from the north to the south Cascades Saturday.

Sunny weather and stronger warming should be seen on Sunday and early next week. Freezing levels should rise to the 11,000-12,000 foot range from the north to the south Cascades Sunday and even higher early next week.

Avalanche Forecast and Travel Advice

There will be competing factors of stabilizing and warming this weekend and early next week. But due to the recent snow and lack of warm weather so far this spring we expect a cycle of loose wet snow avalanches.

Loose wet snow avalanches may occur sooner on more direct solar slopes and later on less direct, non-solar slopes this weekend and early next week. These avalanches should be most likely during the warmer, sunny daytime hours. Large or very large loose wet snow avalanches are likely on the volcanoes where there has been the most recent snow. But remember that even small, loose wet snow avalanches are powerful and dangerous.

Watch for the lack of an overnight refreeze of surface snow, wet snow deeper than boot top and initial pinwheels and initial small loose wet snow avalanches that indicate an increasing loose wet avalanche danger. It is always a good plan to be away from avalanche terrain by the warmest midday and afternoon hours. Careful snowpack evaluation and cautious routefinding will be essential this weekend this weekend and early next week.

Many people are likely to be out this weekend due to the good snow cover and the delay of good weather this spring. Don't head out expecting normal spring conditions and passively follow others and forget to evaluate conditions for yourself. Avoid situations where an avalanche can be triggered onto you by others from above. This has been the cause of fatal accidents in the Northwest in past seasons.

Other Types of Avalanche Problems:

Nearby glide cracks and extensive loose wet avalanches can indicate that wet slab avalanches are possible.

Wind slab may still be possible on previous lee slopes at higher elevations.

Cornices should be starting to melt back but may remain unstable during prolonged warmer weather. Avoid potential cornices which can break well back from the edge along ridges and avoid traveling in areas underneath cornices on ridges above. See our blog post about cornices here.

Don't linger and move one a time if you decide to travel under rock slabs holding snow where sudden glide avalanches can release.

NWAC forecasts and statements do not apply to where conditions are likely to be more dangerous above the crest level on the volcanoes.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Helicopter Search and Rescue - Short Haul

Since 2012, Mount Rainier National Park has adopted shorthaul as its aviation rescue method.

* Photo: NPS Ranger, Van Roberts, 1000 above ground, on the end of the shorthaul rope with a patient in the "Baumann Bag"

Shorthaul is a particular method of helicopter rescue where a single rope, typically 100-300 feet, is suspended beneath the helicopter.  A rescuer clips in to a ring on the end of the rope.  The rescuer is lifted and transported to the rescue scene.  An injured subject can be transported with this method, along with the rescuer, by employing a few different adjuncts such as a 'Screamer Suit' in a sitting position or in a "Baumann Bag" in a horizontal position.

This method of rescue obviates the complexities of hoist, where the patient and/or rescuer is lifted up to the helicopter and transported inside.  Shorthaul also has a national, inter-agency working team that has developed standards for managing program components such as pilot qualification, rescuer qualification, communication standards, and risk assessment protocols.

* Photo: Climbing Ranger Stefan Lofgren transports a patient injured in a skiing accident from Lane Peak near Paradise.

The park has an exclusive use contract with Helicopter Express.  Our helicopter is a Eurocopter Astar A350B3.  It is a high performance helicopter able to perform at the high elevations required by our mountain.

To make the use of this helicopter cost-effective, the helicopter and its crew are a regional resource.  It is commonly used on wildland fires, search and rescue missions, and project flights such as to supply remote stations or transport crew for science missions.  This helps defray the costs.  Even though the helicopter may be out on a fire or on a project, the helicopter's priority is search and rescue.  This means that when the rescue occurs, it will take a moment before the helicopter gets the call, lands, reconfigures, and flies back to the park.

* Photo: Climbing rangers practice a tandom pickoff from a training area near Ashford.

The timeline for a rescue is more lengthy than if the helicopter was just sitting there at Mount Rainier's helibase waiting for a SAR.  However, we have found that it is yet faster than our previous method of calling various helicopter companies to see if they have a helicopter and pilot available.  Thus our response times have improved.

In 2016, climbing rangers are the primary (but not the only) performers of shorthaul rescue at Mount Rainier.  Climbing rangers are in various stages (over a couple of years) of completing training in these courses that are related to performing rescue on the high parts of Mount Rainier:
  • S-130 / S-190 Basic Wildland Fire Behavior and Suppression (~40 hours)
  • Incident Command System (I-100 /  I-200 / I-300 / IS-700)
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT ~100 hours))
  • Technical rope rescue ( ~ 80 hours)
  • Basic Avation Safety and Helicopter Crewmember (50 hours + 1 year trainee)
  • AMGA Alpine Skills course (~40 hours)
  • AMGA Alpine Guide course (~100 hours)
  • AMGA Ski Guide course (~100 hours)
  • US Level II-III (or professional) Avalanche (40 hours)
  • Short-Haul training (~40 hours)
  • STEP (Hover and One-Skid Landing) training (8-16 hours)
* Photo: A climbing ranger brings in the shorthaul rope at the staging area during a training exercise near the Tahoma Glacier.

The rangers have finished their spring training and are being deployed this week out to high camps and ranger stations.

It is important to remember that although this is a great tool, it will never be the only tool.  Weather, terrain, conditions, complexity, team selection, and other factors weigh heavily into using this method of helicopter rescue.

It is also important to point out that it takes a rather large team of people to make this happen.  The pilot, helicopter and aviation staff, rangers, mechanics, and support crews all play an important role in effecting rescues.  A big shout out to the hard work everyone puts into this.






Hello Disappointment Cleaver!

Greetings from a sunny Camp Muir!


After a winter storm last week, we are seeing warming temperatures and clearer skies on the mountain today. Heavy snowfall--in excess of two feet--kept teams from summitting for most of the last week. Parties have reported knee-deep trailbreaking above Ingraham Flats today, but that the route remains well-wanded and in decent early season conditions. There is still a tremendous amount of snow on the ground, with no exposed rocks on the route at this time.


From Ingraham Flats, the route ascends the Ingraham Glacier Direct directly before traversing right to the top of Disappointment Cleaver around 12,200'. There is one ladder in this section and some fixed pickets. Evaluate this equipment before using it for your climbing team.

Above the Cleaver, the route does a rising traverse towards the Emmons Shoulder and then traverses back west around 13,000'. There is some overhead serac hazard in this section and it is not an ideal place to take breaks.

The last thousand feet to the crater rim is sporting numerous thinly bridges crevasses and multiple parties have reported poking into holes here. Just because the surface snow looks smooth does not mean that there isn't crevasse hazard. Keep appropriate rope spacing throughout this section.

With warming temperatures on the way, it is expected that the route will change rapidly. Be aware of changing conditions and leave high camp early to beat the heat and softening snow conditions.


White River Road open to campground

The road is open to the trailhead. Overnight parking in the climbers parking lot is permitted.  The campground however is not open yet. Self permitting is in effect at the White River Ranger Station until Friday May 26 when the ranger station will open.  After that registration is only permitted 7:30AM-5:00 PM at the White River RS.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Special Weather Statement - National Weather Service

Updated just this morning:

...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 5 PM PDT TUESDAY...

The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for snow, which is in effect from 6 PM this evening to 5 PM PDT Tuesday.

SNOW ACCUMULATIONS

Up to 6 inches tonight with another 4 to 6

SNOW LEVELS

Around 4500 feet tonight lowering to 3500 feet on Tuesday.
SOME AFFECTED LOCATIONS
  • Stevens Pass
  • White Pass
  • The road to Paradise on Mount Rainier. Back country above 4500 feet from Stevens Pass southward.
TIMING
 
The heaviest snow is expected tonight with snow showers continuing through Tuesday.
 
MAIN IMPACT
 
Travel may be difficult across the higher passes like Stevens Pass and White Pass and the road to Paradise on Mount Rainier. Back country hikers should be prepared for winter conditions. A Winter Weather Advisory for snow means that periods of snow will cause primarily travel difficulties. Be prepared for snow covered roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving.
 
Earlier Warning...

The National Weather Service has issued a special weather statement.  Here is the text:

SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL POSSIBLE IN THE MOUNTAINS MONDAY EVENING THROUGH TUESDAY

AN UNSEASONABLY STRONG AND COOL LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL SPREAD APPRECIABLE RAIN AND SNOW INTO THE CASCADES LATE MONDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH MUCH OF TUESDAY.

SNOW LEVELS MAY FLUCTUATE BETWEEN 4500 TO 5500 FEET MONDAYEVENING WHICH COULD INITIALLY LIMIT MOST SNOW ACCUMULATION TO JUST THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS ABOVE 5500 FEET.

COLDER AIR WILL ARRIVE LATER MONDAY NIGHT INTO TUESDAY WITH SNOW LEVELS FALLING TO 4000 FEET OR POSSIBLY LOWER. AT THIS TIME IT APPEARS THAT ELEVATIONS ABOVE 5000 TO 5500 FEET WILL GET THE HIGHEST SNOW AMOUNTS LIKELY A FOOT OR MORE BY TUESDAY AFTERNOON.

HIGHER PASSES SUCH AS STEVENS AND SKI RESORTS WILL ALSO SEE SOME SNOWFALL BUT AMOUNTS ARE MORE UNCERTAIN.

24 HOUR TOTALS UP TO 5 INCHES AT STEVENS PASS AND UP TO 10 Inches AT SOME SKI AREAS AND INCLUDING PARADISE ARE POSSIBLE.

LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS COULD ALSO OCCUR. FORECASTS SHOULD BE MONITORED CLOSELY ESPECIALLY IF PLANNING ANY TRAVEL OVER THE PASSES OR INTO THE HIGHER CASCADES.

Indeed, it does look challenging.  Think of it as preserving good spring conditions...

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Climbing and Route Conditions 2017

There are three basic types of information that you may be seeking.

1. General Information about Climbing Mt. Rainier
2. Route, Avalanche, Skiing, and Snow Conditions
3. Climbing Permits, Reservations, and the Climbing Fee

There are two ways you can get this information:

1) Reading this blog
2) Calling the Climbing Information Center
3) Visit the NPS.GOV website.

Please, Read this Blog First

If you don't find what you're looking for, please give us a call.  We have found that most questions can be answered at your own leisure, 24/7, by using this blog.

Rangers are now working at the Climbing Information Center on the weekends.  No one will answer the phone during the week.  As of June 10, the CIC will be staffed 7 days per week.  However, remember that ranger will be registering climbers while they are talking to you.  The number is 360-569-6641.

Please exhaust the resources on the blog first before calling:

General Information about Climbing Mt. Rainier

We spent a bunch of time and put together 25-40 page compendiums of climbing information and advice.  We are calling these 'route briefs'.  Not exactly brief, but certainly comprehensive. 

Please start here.  Follow these links:

Camp Muir / Disappointment Cleaver Route Brief
Camp Schurman / Emmons-Winthrop Route Brief

Current Route, Avalanche, Skiing, and Snow Conditions

After you've looked at our route briefs, please read the conditions reports on this blog.

We are renewing efforts and placing a higher priority on providing routine blog posts on this blog throughout the season.  We have spent a good deal of time updating the background mechanics of how the blog works.  You can now subscribe to RSS feeds for this blog and it will come up in your news reader when a new conditions report is made.

Look to this blog first before calling!

You're likely to get just as good or better information here than from a ranger at the desk who's trying to juggle selling climbing passes, issuing permits, registering climbers, and giving resource protection information.

Climbing Permits, Reservations, and the Climbing Fee

This information changes from year to year, but stays the same, usually for each calendar year.

For permits, reservations, and information on the climbing fee, please choose the "permits and reservations" link to the right.

Conclusion

Thanks for being patient with us.  We've updated many of our systems in the last 6 months.  It will take us some time before everything is up and running smoothly.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tahoma Glacier (May 10th, 2017)


Kautz Glacier (May 10th, 2017)

Kautz and Kautz Headwall

Fuhrer Finger (May 10th, 2017)

Nisqually Iceflow, Wilson Cleaver and Fuhrer Finger

Fuhrer Finger and Fuhrer Thumb

Little Tahoma (May 10th, 2017)

SE Face of Little Tahoma

Hogsback accessing the Whitman Glacier via the Ingraham

Emmons-Winthrop Glaciers (May 10th, 2017)

Winthrop Glacier

Winthrop Shoulder

Emmons Glacier and Steamboat Prow


Liberty Ridge (May 10th, 2017)

Exiting the Carbon Glacier onto the toe of the ridge
Lower Liberty
Lower Liberty to Thumb Rock
Liberty Ridge

Upper Liberty/Black Pyramid
Willis Wall





Ptarmigan Ridge (May 10th, 2017)

Large serac collapse through the route
Ptarmigan Ridge

Ptarmigan Ridge/Liberty Cap glacier

Mowich Face (May 10th, 2017)

Sunset Ridge, Edmunds Headwall

Central Mowich Face

North Mowich Glacier

Sunset Ridge (May 10th, 2017)

Sunset Ridge

South Mowich Glacier


North Mowich Glacier/Edmunds Glacier

Emmons Glacier Route

Here are a few more pictures of the Emmons Glacier from May 9th. The overall condition of the route is fantastic! The warm up from last week really did a great job of creating a firm snow surface up to 11,500 ft. Above this point is was a mix of wind scoured snow and small wind drifts.
Generally speaking this time of year the route climbs up the corridor, and traverses north along the alpine meadow out to the Winthrop shoulder.  From there it is straight up to the summit. The distance from Camp Schurman to the summit is approx. 2.25 miles.


Along the route shown in a previous post, there were only 4 crevasse crossings. All of them were minor and easy to step across.  The Ice cliff along the North side of the corridor is very filled in and provides many options for access onto the corridor.
There were many options to the summit from 13,000' up. The traverse out to/from Liberty saddle looked like a good option for parties if straight up doesn't go.
The road is still closed to White River but is snow free. From the Ranger Station to the camp ground the road is mostly snow covered.