Thursday, May 04, 2017

Spring Warm-Up

The mountain has seen it's first big warmup of the spring over the last two days with freezing levels climbing to approximately 12,000 ft. This warm-up gave the mountain an opportunity to shed some winter surface layers by means of loose wet avalanches and calving off large snow cornices on some of the steeper slopes. This also provided snowpack consolidation and stability which should benefit climbers in the coming weeks. The Muir snowfield is in good ski condition with the "winter route"      (up pan face continuing to McClure rock) is the most commonly used path to access the snowfield and Camp Muir this time of year.

On the whole, there is noticeably quite a bit more snow on the mountain at middle elevations.  This was the first few days that the rangers have spent time opening up camp and getting systems rolling for the summer.  The wind rolls of snow on the ridge at the ranger station and public shelters are noticeably larger this year.

Other rangers on other projects in the park have also noted that on the Emmons Glacier, at least a meter more snow than normally observed this time of the year was present.  This bodes well for our steeper and harder climbing routes as this helps keep the rocks encased more stably behind the snow.

Photo: NPS / Reade

On the way to Muir, there is a boot/ski track, but no wands. The guide companies have been active at Camp Muir with trainings and making preparations for the upcoming season.  There is an un-wanded boot track to Ingraham flats, and guides have reported climbing a route up the Ingraham Direct to Approximately 13,000 before turning back. The forecast is calling for freezing levels to drop back down to 5,000 with a mix of thunderstorms, rain, and snow over the next two days with another high pressure to follow.