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!