Monday, July 24, 2017

Emmons Glacier - July 23, 2017

The Emmons-Winthrop Glacier. July 23, 2017
The Emmons-Winthrop Glacier route continues to see significant traffic, even after weeks of warm temperatures and snow melt. The route itself is largely unchanged from past weeks, with minor re-routes around widening crevasses. As mentioned in this blog, the Emmons and Disappointment Cleaver routes are currently merging near the bergschrund at 13,800'. Be sure to take the correct track on your descent, to avoid accidentally walking to the wrong high camp!

Ascending the Emmons Glacier above The Corridor.
 There are numerous thinly bridged crevasses on the route, particularly above 12,000’. The track is well established in this section, but beware that as these cracks open the existing track might lead impassible crossings. Remember that jumping over crevasses posses a high risk of personal injury and crevasse fall; if you feel that a jump is necessary to cross a crevasse, look around in both directions for a narrower crossing location where it is possible to step across. There is rarely a reason to take flight while traveling on glaciers!

Emmons tracklog on July 23, 2017

With warm temperatures and poor overnight freezes, the likelihood of crevasse falls is also increasing. Beware that slushy conditions can result in slippery footing and reduce the strength of snow anchors. Start your ascent early, climb efficiently, and try to be back at high camp as early as possible. Warm temperatures have also contributed to the loss of multiple tents into crevasses at Emmons Flats -- anchor tents with secure anchors at least one foot deep to reduce the risk of having it blow away into a crevasse.

Finally, beware that the bootpack and glissade tracks on the Inter Glacier cross several crevasses. Some of these holes have thin snow bridges that aren't readily apparent on ascent or descent. Always evaluate glissade tracks and their runout before starting your descent.

Glissade track over a thin snowbridge on the Inter Glacier.