Monday, July 10, 2017

DC Route Update

Sunny skies and good climbing conditions have been the trend the last few days on the Disappointment Cleaver route.  The route hasn't changed much, however the objective hazards are increasing.  A couple areas in particular are good places to move quickly and ensure there are not too many other climbers creating a bottleneck.  The first is the icefall the route traverses under on the way to the Cleaver.  Rangers observed fresh icefall debris there today when climbing the route.

Recent icefall debris under the Icebox on the traverse to the cleaver

 The second area to move quickly through is under the Tsunami Wave serac. This feature is above the traverse toward the Emmons Shoulder above the Cleaver. The serac is leaning steeply over the route, and ice has been calving off the underside periodically.  Rangers noticed fresh icefall debris this morning over the trail under this serac.

The Tsunami Wave leans over the route at about 12,500 ft

Icefall can happen at any time of day on Mt. Rainier.  However, minimizing your time under icefall zones can help mitigate this hazard.  Also, moving efficiently and relying on good time management amongst your team can help you get out from under these icefall zones before the heat of the day.
One last area of note for climbers on the DC is the bergschrund at 13,800 ft.  Here, a very large snow bridge spans an even bigger crevasse, and the route ascends the steep uphill wall of this crevasse.  A hand line is in place here to help climbers negotiate this steep feature.  This area is also creating quite the bottleneck on busy days.  Please come up with a plan within your team before climbing that will allow you to safely and efficiently negotiate this hand line. Keep the rope streched out between team members as you descend the hand line.  Below the bergschrund, the snow bridge is large and flat.  Though it looks like a good place to stand and wait, it is not.  Underneath this bridge is the largest crevasse crossed by the route.
Climbing Rangers descending Cathedral Gap, with Camp Muir beyond
Remember, be courteous to other climbers you find on the mountain.  Communicate when you need to pass other rope teams, and remain patient.  Climb safely and make new friends on the mountain this week!