Thursday, July 06, 2017

Disappointment Cleaver Conditions 7/6/2017

Bottom Line: The DC is climbing nicely now but stay tuned for route changes in the next two weeks.

The route from Paradise to Camp Muir is still 90% snow. There are asphalt trails melting out near Paradise and dirt trails near 7000'. But for the most part it's still snow from the parking lot.

The main camping area at Muir is in the 'Trough'. There's plenty of room there for many tents. Please help the Rangers out by keeping the top of the big snow roll free from tents just in case we need to use the flat area during a rescue. Thanks!

The route across the Cowlitz glacier is still very direct. There are rocks on the glacier all the way across to Cathedral Gap so keep your eyes and ears open for rockfall, even at night.

Cathedral Gap is almost entirely rock at this point so please shorten up your rope and keep it out of the rocks. This will keep your rope cleaner and it will help prevent knocking rocks down on climbers below you.

The camp at Ingraham Flats is still looking good. Some really nice guys helped everyone out last week by carrying down used blue bags that were left by another team (gross!). The Ranger's have also picked up a few errant poops over the past week. Come on people, we can do better than this.

Ingraham Flats and the DC
The Cleaver is melting out at the bottom. The lower third of it is patches of rock and snow. Again, please get your rope up and out of the rocks by shortening it so you don't clobber anyone below you with rockfall. The trail is notoriously hard to follow this time of year so pay attention as you're climbing up and down. The upper two thirds is entirely snow and the guides are doing a great job of keeping the route at a nice climbing angle.

Above the Cleaver the route still passes below The Tsunami. The guides did move the route downhill about 100' below it but you are still exposed to significant overhead hazard as you pass below it. The area is easily identifiable at night since you pass through a large debris field. Move quickly and efficiently through this area.

The Tsunami
In the coming weeks the route will probably be forced to go down another 100-200' or up and over the Tsunami so stay tuned for that.

From the traverse under the Tsunami to the crater rim the climbing is straight-forward but there are several crevasse crossings to deal with. The bridges across the crack will thin and weaken as the season progresses so be mindful of the temperatures and your climbing time. Bridges that are solid when frozen will weaken significantly by mid morning and will be slushy by the afternoon.

Several teams had extremely long summit days over the 4th of July weekend. On team left Camp Muir at 10PM Saturday and returned at 6PM Sunday. That's a 20 hour summit day! The majority of the team was exhausted and the possibility of them rescuing themselves in the event of an accident was slim at best. This increases the risk for everyone else on the mountain, especially teams climbing near them.