Friday, June 08, 2018

Emmons-Winthrop update - June 7th, 2018

Rangers were last at Camp Schurman the previous weekend (June 3rd) and observed only two teams climb the route due to stormy weather and an obscured boot track.  Over the week, several guided parties have also successfully climbed the route, and reported the route to be in ‘good shape’ and following the same general path as before.

Note that there is currently a special weather warning from the NWS for this weekend...COLD AND WET WEATHER IS EXPECTED IN THE MOUNTAINS...Snow levels will likely fall to between 4000’ and 5000’ elevation and several inches of snow are forecast, with summit winds approaching 50 miles per hour.  

This implies that there may be new avalanche hazard, and that route finding on the Emmons-Winthrop route could be very challenging for those not intimately familiar with the route.  Good skills with all forms of navigation tools will be essential, even after the storm.  Of note, if you’re planning on climbing any of the north-side routes (Liberty Ridge/Ptarmigan) be aware that the typical descent route (i.e. the Emmons-Winthrop) is NOT easy to on-sight, especially post-storm since any boot-track on the upper mountain quickly fills in or is blown away...Be sure sure to have a good sense of the route, especially on your descent, and don’t assume that just because there’s a boot-track, that it’s going where you want to go. We see numerous parties each year that accidentally descend to Camp Muir instead of Camp Schurman. Don't let it happen to you. 

So wait it out, and then get out on the mountain, as it’ll be a clean slate after this storm cycle!  It will be a great opportunity to truly feel the grand scale and remoteness of the mountain if you get a chance to ‘set’ the route!