Sunday, August 06, 2017

Disappointment Cleaver 8/5/17

Two climbing rangers climbed the DC on 8/5.  Travel conditions were generally easy with a well maintained and mostly low angle trail.  The route hasn't changed much since the last blog post - it is still quite long due to its traverse onto the Emmons route so be prepared for a bigger day than in the early season.  We've noticed parties taking a very long time on the route in the past few days.  Be prepared to turn around if your pace is so slow that you won't make it back to Muir by early afternoon.  Descending in the evening after being on route for more than 12 hours doesn't leave you much room to deal with unexpected events.  There is one ladder crossing just before you descend toward the Emmons from the top of the Cleaver.

Ladder crossing around 12,300'.

The Cleaver itself is in good shape and still climbs over snow on the upper half.  Navigation on the Cleaver is straightforward.  Rockfall is always a potential so make sure to shorten your rope so it's not dragging through the rocks and wear a helmet!  Be aware of parties above and below you while on the Cleaver.

Upper Cleaver and Little Tahoma. 

Rangers have been observing a disturbing amount of climbers unroping while on the upper mountain.  While it may seem easier to travel without a rope, it is much more dangerous and is discouraged.  Not only are you subjecting yourself to an unroped crevasse fall (many of which end up being fatal) groups tend to get spread out and party members separated when unroped. This is also undesirable for obvious reasons.  Solo glacier climbing on Mount Rainier requires a special permit - PLEASE, ROPE UP WHILE ON THE UPPER MOUNTAIN AND STAY ROPED UP.

Trash that rangers collected at a break spot at the top of the Cleaver.  

Another issue that rangers observed yesterday is an abundance of trash and even a few piles of feces along the route on the upper mountain.  THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.  Be a good steward of the mountain and pack out all of your trash.  If you need to defecate, do so away from the trail and PACK IT OUT.  Plan ahead for your trip and take an adequate number of blue bags (provided by the NPS).   If you don't pack it out, guess who does?  When you're busting out your Power Bar or GU, make sure to pack out the corner of the wrapper you tear off.  Blow your nose with some TP?  Pack it out!  If you see someone else's trash, feel free to pick it up and pack it out.  Come on people.  Do the right thing.

Above the smoke layer on Saturday 8/5. 

The smoke appears to be dissipating as Sunday morning progresses, so hopefully the air quality will continue to improve over the next few days.  The top level of the smoke has been hovering at the 10,000-11,000 foot level, so the air quality on the upper mountain has been the best in the state as of late.  Even more reason to come to the mountain for a climb!