Saturday, September 08, 2018

DC Photo Update

The Disappointment Cleaver route was significant rerouted recently to reduce the number of ladder crossings and widening crevasses (read the recent update here). The new trail is poorly defined due to a combination of fewer climbers and large snow penitentes. These massive penitentes and complex route-finding are contributing to long days on summit attempts with many groups taking 12-16 hours round-trip from high camp. In particular, many climbing parties are having difficulties finding the new route where it trends left from the top of the Cleaver toward Camp Comfort above Gibraltar Rock. Eventually, around 13,300', the new route regains the old track and a better defined bootpack (until it becomes obscured by new snowfall with incoming autumn storms).

Speaking of snowfall, this weekend is bringing the first significant chance of snow on the upper mountain in many months. Forecast snow levels are as low as 8,500 feet this weekend, meaning that the route to Camp Muir (and above) may become hidden by new snow. It is easy to become disoriented and lost in these conditions; if you are planning a late season attempt, be equipped and skilled with navigation tools (GPS, map, compass, altimeter). Talk to the Climbing Rangers at Camp Muir to obtain the most up-to-date details about how to find this new route and weather conditions.

Climbing teams descending the DC around 13,000'

Climber traversing the edge of a crevasse on the DC

The route climbs along this snow fin at approx. 13,300'

Climber descending along the DC route

Climber navigating the large snow penitentes

Typical terrain you will encounter along the climb ascending from the top of the Cleaver.