Thursday, July 20, 2017

Dissapointment Cleaver Conditions July 20th. 2017

The current track up the DC is right around 3.8 miles from Camp Muir to Columbia Crest.   There is still no ladder at high Crack above Ingraham Flats and the crossing onto the Cleaver is fairly straight forward with little moat exposure.  That said, there is still a large amount of rock and ice fall in this area, with a recent collapse that sent large blocks of ice onto and below the current track.  We recommend moving through this area (between High Crack and the nose of the cleaver) with purpose, don’t hang out and take a breather and remember that rock and ice fall occur at all hours of the day.

We recommend shortening your rope between climbers in the rock sections, such as Cathedral Gap and the Disappointment Cleaver to improve travel and minimize the risk of snagging up rocks and dropping them onto parties below you.

View of the traverse from the top of the cleaver to the Emmons Shoulder.  Keep in mind this is a descending traverse on the ascent and an ascending traverse on the descent.  Plan an extra bit of food for this one.
Ladder crossing leaving the Emmons Shoulder
Once on the top of the cleaver, you be faced with a short climb, then presented with about a 500-600’ descending traverse to the Emmons Shoulder, followed by a series of switchbacks which will put you at a short ladder crossing spanning an open crevasse.  This is the only ladder on the route currently.

Shrund crossing with fixed line visible

The shrund around 13,600’ is becoming fairly hollow and is accompanied with a fixed hand line.  On a busy weekend this will be a zone where we would expect to see a possible bottle neck and a short weight may be required.

Looking towards the Emmons Shoulder. Taken a hundred or so feet above the top of the Cleaver.
There are a couple of fixed lines on the route currently.  We encourage you to inspect the integrity of the picket anchors prior to utilizing them as they tend to melt out during the day.  If they are weighted when they are melted out there id a high likelihood they will fail and the fixed line will become

As we progress through July, keep in mind that glacier conditions are breaking up and snow bridges are thinning and opening.  This means that crevasse fall potential are heightened.  As a traveler in glaciated, YOU NEED TO KNOW HOW TO EXTRICATE YOUR PARTNER FROM A CREVASSE.  This means carrying the appropriate equipment and knowing how to use it.  Climbing Rangers are looking for your team to be equipped with a rope of adequate length for your rope team, multiple pickets within your group and gear required to rig a raising system.  Everyone should be traveling with helmets, ice axes, crampons etc…

The past couple weekends have been very busy and we have been reaching capacity at our high camps which results in large numbers of climbers on routes like the D.C. and the Emmons.  In order to avoid these busy and sometimes hazardous scenarios, we encourage you to plan a trip to climb during the week, opposed to the weekend.

July is a busy time for Search and Rescue on Mount Rainier.  Please come prepared with the appropriate gear and knowledge for climbing in heavily glaciated terrain and keep an eye out for changing weather.