Saturday, May 20, 2017

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.