Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Emmons/Winthrop Route Update - 6/19/2019

Climbing conditions on the Emmons-Winthrop route have been slightly variable due to the large changes in freezing levels over the last week.  Climbers have generally reported good, firm conditions on the ascent, with conditions ranging widely on the descent: from mid-shin plunge-stepping, to icy patches requiring running-pro (ice screws).  While the latter may be most applicable in areas where the route runs immediately above large crevasses, and when conditions would be challenging to self-arrest a fall, it is a technique that parties should be prepared to employ if necessary.

We're entering a rapid transition in crevasse bridging, and numerous climbers have been discovering how easy it is to misread the crevasse hazard.  As crevasses continue to weaken with the warm weather, the current boot track may not be the best route. Investigate crevasse crossings and be open to the option of walking around the end of the crevasse rather than over a thin bridge.

The increasing popularity of ski-mountaineering descents on the Emmons-Winthrop poses numerous existential challenges to aspiring ski-mountaineers:  Is it worth it to essentially travel un-roped, at speeds where it's hard to assess terrain subleties that imply a hidden crevasse, with few contingencies should a crevasse fall occur?  While some routes on Mount Rainier may not be technically more challenging than a typical 'blue' run at a ski area, it's important to recognize that if your skills aren't up to the challenge of skiing or riding in highly variable snow conditions, with a heavy pack, after climbing 10,000 feet, in terrain where even a minor hip check may immediately result in an uncontrollable slide above significant crevasses, then the upper Emmons-Winthrop may not be an advisable objective.  

Questionable route selection on the Emmons-Winthrop Glacier
While the ski tracks above were likely made prior to the crevasse widening to it's size in the photo, it illustrates the difficulty in assessing the terrain.  Make conservative choices, and realize that there may be significant non-event feedback that is affecting your decision making.  Many skiers (and climbers) don't realize how close to "the edge" they actually are.  If you've skied without a guide in the French Alps, you might be ready.  If not, approach a ski-mo descent with a highly conservative mindset.

Parties can increase their 'margin of safety' by knowing the route well (come climb the route before you try to ski it) as well as being highly proficient in their route assessment skills, crevasse rescue skills, and glacial skiing skills.  If its 'natural' for you to scrub speed just before a steep rollover, you might be applying ski-area skills inappropriately, as you might be scrubbing speed right on top of a crevasse lid!   Check out the blog post specific to ski-mountaineering published last year...

Rainier Climbing Blog 2018 - Considerations for skiers

Parties with single-push ski-mo objectives should remember that a climbing permit, as well as paying the cost-recovery fee is still applicable, and helps rangers know where folks are on the mountain in the case of an incident.

While the hazards of ski-mountaineering are very real, so are the rewards, and it's an excellent approach tool for the InterGlacier and for those looking to increase the whoohoo factor on the descent back to Glacier Basin!

Fryingpan Glacier - Little Tahoma Conditions - 6/18/2019

The Fryingpan Creek trail (Wonderland Trail) is snow free from the Fryingpan Creek Trailhead to the footbridge that crosses Fryingpan Creek.  The trail from there to Summerland is still partially snow-covered.  Rangers ascended the Fryingpan Glacier to K Spire on June 18th.  It appears that Little Tahoma has been receiving quite a bit of climbing traffic, judging by the numerous tracks across the Fryingpan Glacier to the notch above Whitman Crest. Below are a few pictures and observations:

In green is the approximate approach used by rangers to reach the Fryingpan Glacier.  This route is generally safer than the steeper slope on climbers left (red arrow).  The steeper slope features large and dangerous moats that are difficult to see when looking downhill and has contributed to glissading-related accidents in the past.  Avoid that slope. 
There is currently running water in several spots as you make your way up to the Fryingpan Glacier.  The glacier itself is in good shape, but there are areas with large and thinly-veiled cracks that present remarkably little surface expression.  It is highly recommended that parties rope-up on the Fryingpan and be prepared for crevasse rescue.  This is the time of year that crevasses are melting out and present the greatest 'trap door' hazard, especially when the snow is warm and soft.

A climbing ranger scoping out the Fryingpan Glacier with Little Tahoma, Mount Rainier, and K Spire in the distance.
The route that most parties have been taking across the Fryingpan stays high, just below Whitman Crest, and traverses a steeper slope that is subject to rockfall off of the Crest. It also runs parallel to several large crevasses.  Consider giving some thought to alternative routes rather than automatically traveling in others' boot prints.  A boot pack does not always indicate the best or safest route.  Regardless of the specific route taken over the Fryingpan, parties will at times be forced to walk in parallel to crevasses, so brush up on how to travel 'en echelon' to increase the security of your rope team.

The Fryingpan Glacier from the summit of K Spire.

Another view of the Fryingpan from the top of K Spire.
While rangers did not climb Little Tahoma on this patrol, they talked to several parties of climbers and skiers that did summit.  Overall, the route appears to be in great shape. Please remember to practice good Leave No Trace ethics in this zone.  As snow melts out on the lower meadows, stick to the trail or durable surfaces (snow, rocks) where possible to protect the fragile alpine vegetation.  And remember, payment of the Climbing Cost Recovery Fee, as well as registering and obtaining a permit from a Mount Rainier Wilderness Information Center, is required for climbing Little Tahoma.

Happy Solstice!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

West - North Side Conditions Photos - 6/16/2019

Left to right: Sunset Ridge, Sunset Amphitheater, Puyallup Cleaver, Tahoma Glacier, Tahoma Cleaver.

On Sunday our helicopter crew took some aerial photos of the west and northwest side of the mountain on their flight up to North Cascades National Park. The hot weather appears to have taken its toll on Liberty Ridge.  Reports from several parties that approached Liberty Ridge over the weekend stated that the lower ridge is mostly rock and that there is near constant rockfall on the route.  Conditions turned most of these parties away.

Left to right: Ptarmigan Ridge, Mowich Face, Sunset Ridge.   
Left to right: Ptarmigan Ridge, North Mowich Headwall, Central Mowich Face, Edmunds Headwall, Sunset Ridge.

Left to right: Ptarmigan Ridge, North Mowich Icefall, North Mowich Headwall, Central Mowich Face, Edmunds Headwall, Sunset Ridge.

Ptarmigan Ridge in the center.  Mowich Face on the right.

Left to right: Curtis Ridge, Willis Wall, Liberty Ridge, Ptarmigan Ridge, Mowich Face.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Disappointment Cleaver Update, June 9th

The Cleaver has a fresh coat.
After almost a week of parties not making it to the summit via the DC Route (due to stormy weather and higher avalanche hazard), groups made it to the top today!  There's a smearing of new snow covering most of the rocky portions of the route (Cathedral Gap and the Disappointment Cleaver itself) making for great cramponing. 

Current track log, but keep it mind it changes frequently this time of year!
The route currently rolls out of Camp Muir, across the Cowlitz Glacier (keep an eye out for occasional rockfall just out of camp and just before Cathedral Gap) and up to Ingraham Flats.  From the Flats, climbers have been heading up glacier fairly high, almost to 11,400 feet before traversing across the Ingraham Glacier and onto the Disappointment Cleaver.  Don't linger on this traverse - it's another place prone to rock and ice falling from above.  Once on the cleaver, the route ascends the spine, or the snowfield climber's left of the spine, until the top at about 12,400'.  The top of the cleaver is a great place to take a break.  Since the route traverses from the top of the cleaver out across the Ingraham Glacier to the top of Gibraltar Rock - and this traverse is prone to icefall from above - it's best to take breaks before or after this portion of the route. 

The traverse above the Cleaver to Camp Comfort (climbers in the middle for scale) - notice the large seracs looming above!
Once at Camp Comfort (the saddle formed by the top of Gibraltar Rock connecting with the upper mountain at about 12,800') the route switchbacks almost directly up to the crater rim.  There's a couple of steeper sections with small crevasse crossings on the upper mountain - don't be hesitant to place running protection or belay short pitches when the surface conditions are such that team-arrest would be impossible if someone on the rope team were to fall into the crevasse. 

Be aware that the "route" can change daily, especially when the freezing level goes to above 10,000 feet.  Often times climbers will be confronted with multiple boot packs and old stray wands and have to make navigation decisions for themselves.  Just remember: there's no guarantee that a crevasse bridge that you cross on the way up will be there on the way down.  Always be looking for alternative paths. 

Looking down on Gibraltar Rock.

Lastly, it's the best and busiest time of year to be on the DC Route!  Try to remember and smile to your fellow climbers while on route - effective communication makes everyone safer on the mountain.  Planning who will step uphill or stay in the boot pack, when to pause on switchbacks, and planning strategic snack breaks facilitates smooth summit bids.  Come on out and enjoy prime time on the mountain!

Emmons-Winthrop Approach 6/9/2019

Climber on the trail to Glacier Basin

The approach to Glacier Basin is beginning to melt out. There are lingering patches of snow starting at the 5,000' elevation, just past the Emmons Moraine Trail. The snow becomes continuous starting at 5,500' just before reaching Glacier Basin. Hiker traffic up and down has compacted the snow and made it easy to identify where the trail goes.

View of the Inter Glacier looking down from the Prow
The Inter Glacier has good snow coverage, and crevasses are not yet visible on the surface. The last storm cycle brought wind drifted snow depositions of   3" - 6" deep. The forecast is calling for a big warm-up, so expect to see soft wet conditions over the next few days. As the freezing levels rise to near 14,000' this week, be aware of changing conditions and the possibility of loose wet avalanches. 

The Lower Emmons Glacier below Camp Schurman

The bivy sites at Camp Curtis are melting out, with minimal fresh snow from the most recent storm on the ridge. The lower Emmons saw a similar amount of snow accumulation as the Inter Glacier, making for relatively easy travel conditions from Camp Curtis to Camp Schurman.

Climbers descending from Camp Schurman

Crevasses on the Emmons Glacier are beginning to open up. We have witnessed several climbers punch through close to Camp Schurman. This is the first portion of real glacier travel and parties should rope-up prior to making their final climb up to Camp Schurman on the Emmons. As these crevasses grow with the warm weather, the current boot track may not be the best route. Investigate crevasse crossings and be open to the option of walking around the end of the crevasse rather than over a thin bridge.  See you on the eastside!  Where the sunrise is early, and the sunset rolls down Curtis Ridge!

June on Rainier

We've had glimpses of summer over the last month with unusually warm temperatures in May, but winter is not ready to completely release its hold on the mountain. It's spring on Rainier, weather forecasts are fickle and freezing levels have fluctuated between 5000 and 13000 feet.

We've had a fair bit of snow and wind this last week on the upper mountain and temperatures are looking to rise rapidly over the next few days. Pull that avalanche gear back out of your winter gear stash, keep an eye on the forecasts (and take them with a grain of salt), and time your climbs appropriately. Be ready to assess and turn around if conditions call for it. With this snow and wind, many cracks that were opening up may have thin bridges hiding them again and still other cracks yet to open up or even give a hint of their whereabouts have taken more than one climber by surprise. 

And remember, make sure your team is ready to care for itself in these drastically changing conditions. We've had a lot of activity with search and rescues and close calls on the mountain these past couple of weeks. Your team's preparedness could save your life. It starts with your trip planning and preparation. Choose a route that is appropriate for your team's skill level, train up on your fitness and hone in your skills (e.g. glacier travel technique, crevasse rescue, wilderness first aid).  As you climb: manage your risk, maintain situational awareness, check in with yourself and partner(s). Remember that the summit is only halfway. If things aren't lining up, remember that the mountain will be there later. 

Mount Rainier can offer us an escape, mental and physical challenge, and solitude many of us crave. And it can be swift to remind us of the natural consequences the modern world has begun to shelter us from. Remember that and respect it.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Conditions Update - 6/02/2019

It has been a busy weekend on Mount Rainier. Climbers and skiers have been attempting many routes and generally have reported good conditions, albeit a bit warm with the 11,000-13,000’ freezing levels. Below are a few updates on conditions we have received in the past 24 hours.

Kautz Glacier: Most parties are approaching the route via the Wilson Gully and not The Fan. There are reports of running water at The Castle, but this has varied day-by-day, so plan to melt snow for water. Campsites are still almost entirely snow-covered at The Castle and Camp Hazard. The rock step has refilled with blown-in snow and is only a short downclimb presently. The upper pitches are thinly covered with snow (4-8”), making for fast climbing and readily attainable ice screw protection. At the Wapowety Cleaver crossing around 13,000’, there are a few ways of getting onto the upper Nisqually Glacier, but these have been changing frequently.

Fuhrer Finger & Thumb: Both of these routes have been skied and climbed in the last two days. The bergschrund is still quite filled-in for both lines, though it is starting to become tricky on the Thumb. Icefall from the Wilson Headwall has been reaching the altitude of the traverse from The Castle to the base of these lines, so watch overhead and move efficiently across this terrain. From the top of the couloirs, parties have reported that there is a well-established track with smooth snow surfaces through the upper Nisqually Glacier to the summit. Spontaneous, natural rockfall has been reported in both gullies.

Tahoma Glacier: Reported to be very broken around the 10,000’ level with very difficult navigation through many open crevasses.

Liberty Ridge: Parties report gaining the ridge on the climber’s right side at the bottom. Good travel conditions along the route up to the Black Pyramid, where a few hundred feet of knee-deep snow was found. The bergschrund has one short section of overhanging snow to navigate at the top. Ice screws were useful above Thumb Rock. Spontaneous, natural rockfall has been reported on the lower ridge and at Thumb Rock.

Gibraltar Ledges: The approach from Camp Muir to the ledges remains readily climbable with multiple options. The ledges proper are are fairly melted out with lots of exposed rock and some water ice. Above the ledges, the Upper Gib Chute is still snow up to Camp Comfort. Lots of evidence of recent rockfall along the route. 

Emmons Glacier: See this blog post

Ingraham Direct / Disappointment Cleaver: See this blog post

Ingraham Direct Route Update - 6/1/2019

Looking down the Ingraham Glacier from 12,000'
Guide services and independent climbers are still using the Ingraham Direct (ID) route to the summit of Mount Rainier.  6/2 UPDATE: THE GUIDE SERVICES ARE CURRENTLY TRANSITIONING TO USING THE DISAPPOINTMENT CLEAVER ROUTE.  THE ID WILL PROBABLY BE IMPASSIBLE IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.  STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION. Multiple guided and independent parties reached the summit on Saturday.  The route is straightforward, going more-or-less straight up the Ingraham Glacier from Ingraham Flats camp and then heading slightly climber's left above Camp Comfort.  From there, it is a fairly direct ascent to the top.  The only notable feature to report is a couple of ladders at about 11,800 feet.  The lowest ladder is pretty short, but the second ladder is about 6 feet long over a large crevasse.  It's not for the faint of heart!  It is anchored with pickets and there are also hand lines on either side.  Consider clipping a tether with a carabiner (NOT prusik) to one of the lines as you cross, and/or belaying across or turning around if you aren't comfortable with the exposure.  As with any 'fixed' gear on the route that you did not place yourself, carefully assess its integrity before committing your safety to it.  Below are some pictures of the route.  For those looking to ski from the summit, the ID is not a great option right now due to the ladders and several other step-across crevasse crossings.  The Muir Snowfield is still skiing great, however.

The upper mountain from Camp Comfort.  The route does not go to Camp Comfort, it traverses above it.  

Looking up the Ingraham Direct route from above Ingraham Flats

The longer ladder at 11,800'.

ID track log from 6.1.2019

Friday, May 31, 2019

Emmons-Winthrop 5/29/19

View of Camp Schurman & Steamboat Prow from 11,000ft. 
Stormy conditions over Memorial Day weekend kept crowds to a minimum on the east side of Mt. Rainier but high pressure building over the week/weekend will undoubtedly bring many climbers to Camp Schurman and up the Emmons. As of 5/28, cloud caps, new snow instabilities and thinly covered crevasse bridges had kept anyone from the top of the route but multiple parties found success in the later part of the week.

A view of the Emmons and Winthrop Glaciers from atop Steamboat Prow.
Memorial Day weekend storms dropped significant precipitation (up to 50cm) accompanied by strong winds that left the route blanketed in snow and many crevasses covered up by thin bridges. There were multiple incidents and reports of climbers punching through bridges that showed no evidence of their existence. As freezing level continue to rise throughout the weekend, climbers should pay extra attention to the boot pack they are following as bridges soften and crevasse fall hazards increase.

Teams leaving camp Schurman for the top.
Weather forecasts have been fairly accurate over the last few days calling for calm, clear skis in the morning and thunderstorms in the evening. Despite the ideal early morning and afternoon climbing weather, these thunder cells have grown rapidly and intensely as they move up onto the mountain by mid afternoon. Climbers should plan accordingly to be back off the route before these storms move in and should take head as they start to see signs of cumulus buildup.

A tracklog photo from Camp Shurman to the summit. Notice the route climbs
"the Corridor" on the Emmons Glacier before traversing north around 12,300"
in order to link up & ascend the Winthrop Shoulder. Again at 13,600" the
 route cuts climbers right towards Liberty Saddle and on to the summit.
Under current conditions, multiple routes to the top of the Emmons and Winthrop Glaciers exist for those that are willing to route find on their own. The 'standard' route has been taking climbers up the corridor, across the Alpine Meadow, up the Winthrop Shoulder and traversing out towards Liberty Saddle. Slight variations will undoubtedly occur on a regular basis as last week's snow sees it's first major warm up. Climbers should stay heads-up on their climb, keeping an eye out for sagging bridges, holes in the boot pack and fissures on the snow surface. Sunny skies and moderate winds over the weekend will no doubt build for one of the better climbing windows of the 2019 summer season thus far!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day 5/27/2019

Ski tracks with Mount Rainier in the background

Memorial Day

A day of remembrance. This holiday, originally known as Decoration Day, was created after the Civil War. Following World War II, the holiday gained favor from the public and was renamed Memorial Day in 1967.  This three day weekend is the unofficial beginning of the summer climbing season on Mount Rainier and mixes in a time for reflection with a change of the season.

View down the Winthrop Glacier
The climbing ranger staff takes time this weekend to remember our own rangers who have left us.  Phil Otis and Sean Ryan lost their lives during an overnight rescue on the Winthrop Glacier on Mount Rainier in 1995.  Nick Hall lost his life during an upper mountain rescue on the Emmons Glacier in 2012.  A Valor Memorial was constructed in Longmire to honor rangers who lost their lives at Mount Rainier while in the act of saving or rescuing others. The memorial can be found across the Nisqually River from Longmire, near the Community Building.

Winthrop Glacier with a view of the Puget Sound in the background
Wherever you find yourself this Memorial Day Weekend, take a moment to reflect.  The landscape and views around Mount Rainier can offer insight and perspective to memories, and hopefully be a place to create new ones full of wonder and awe.  

If Mount Rainier is your destination remember to check the local forecast and park website for  road openings. This can be a busy time of year for park visitation and entrance stations are working hard to keep traffic lines to a minimum. Park Webcams are another good way to see current conditions. Have fun, say safe, and be kind to your neighbor.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Inter Glacier May 26th, 2019

Views down the Inter Glacier into Glacier Basin 
With the opening of Highway 123, Highway 410, both Chinook and Cayuse Pass and the White River road, the Inter Glacier and Camp Schurman are now much more easily accessible for the summer season. Climbing rangers were able to snap a few shots of the route up the Inter Glacier just before the stormy, weekend weather settled in. Surprisingly, the only evidence of activity in the area was one set of ski tracks down the middle of the glacier.
Plenty of  untouched snow looking toward Steamboat Prow
Despite the relatively high snow line this spring, good snow coverage still exists from Glacier Basin and above. Skiers can expect to be hiking there skis up the trail, through patchy snow for roughly 2.5 miles before coverage becomes consistent enough for skinning. Coverage on the glacier remains very filled in and planar with minimal open crevasses. Climbers and skiers should still use caution when approaching any of the convexities within the terrain as they often harbor crevasses.
Widespread natural avalanche activity throughout the area
Although surface conditions held good corn in the late morning hours, natural avalanche activity was prevalent throughout the basin.  Stormy weather over the weekend continues to produce strong winds, low visibility and new precipitation that will undoubtedly decrease the stability of the snowpack. Skiers should come with the necessary equipment and skill sets to assess the snow stability and the terrain appropriately. Once the weather clears out and the new snow begins to settle, there will be plenty of great skiing for those willing to come and get it!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Ingraham Direct - 05/17/2019

Storms stacked up across the Pacific Ocean. Photo: NOAA

After an exceptionally dry and sunny period in early May, the weather and snow conditions on Mount Rainier have returned to a more typical pattern for this time of year. The upper mountain has received well over a foot of new snow in the past few days. Guides and the Northwest Avalanche Center have reported significant wind slab and storm slabs above Camp Muir. In fact, no group has gone above Ingraham Flats in the past few days due to this increased avalanche hazard. It may take some time after these storms for the snowpack instabilities to stabilize. 

Visibility has been fair-to-poor for most of the week and navigation has been challenging, even on the Muir Snowfield. There are no wands on the snowfield and the bootpack has been frequently obscured by new snow. If you are planning a trip up the snowfield, be prepared with a GPS and knowledge of how to use it before you leave the parking lot. It is easy to get disoriented on the snowfield, especially on the descent, and many parties have become lost in similar conditions in the past.

Remember to check the Mount Rainier Recreational Weather Forecast and the park webcams as part of your planning process before coming to the mountain.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Emmons-Winthrop 5/9/2019

Emmons-Winthrop Glacier as seen from the prow.
Rangers climbed the Emmons-Winthrop with good weather and varied snow conditions. The route can be climbed several different ways right now. Rangers made tracks from Camp Schurman to the summit on routes climbing up the Winthrop shoulder and the Corridor. Overall the routes are straightforward and crevasses are filled in making for relatively direct travel to the summit. The route options above 13,400’ that cross the bergschrund have not been explored yet for the season. The current tracks traverse out to Liberty saddle at this elevation before returning to the summit. 

Climber approaching 13,400' on the Winthrop Shoulder

Surface conditions along the traverse to Liberty Saddle

The uphill travel on the Winthrop Shoulder is favorable over the Emmons Corridor. The surface conditions on climbers far right side of the shoulder holds excellent cramponing with supported smooth scoured snow all the way to 13,400'. Most of the large crevasses on the Emmons taper down as they reach the shoulder so the crossings are smaller and there are less of them to navigate. Climbing up the face of the shoulder is steep but can be managed easily with good travel technique. A few small crevasse crossings and sagging snow bridges will be encountered between the face and Camp Schurman. An early start is recommended, once the sun has softened the snow on the surface it can make the face considerably more difficult to climb.

Surface conditions in the Alpine Meadow
The Emmons Corridor route is holding a large amount of wind blown snow in the alpine meadow zone. This section of the route between 11,000' to 12,600' has unsupportable soft snow with boot top penetration. Getting from the Corridor to the Alpine Meadow is not straightforward as it has been in the past. There are different options, but all of them with unique route finding. The traditional snow passage leading off the corridor to the meadow is a mix of large seracs, sloping blue ice, and drifts of deposited snow. Use caution when passing through this zone as surface conditions warm. The corridor from 11,000' down to Camp Schurman is generally smooth with minor crevasse hazard. 

Climber approaching the traverse to access the Alpine Meadow
Corridor surface conditions

With a high pressure system in place over the past week, the mountain has been beautiful, sunny and warm with freezing levels rising over 10,000'. The extended forecast is calling for more of the same. Go to the Mt Rainier Recreational Forecast to get the latest.

Climber on the Winthrop Shoulder just above the face

The early birds get the best view!  Have fun, be safe!

North and West Side Conditions Update 5/10/2019


Carbon glacier and Liberty Ridge
      This past week of excellent weather allowed a pair of climbing rangers to circumnavigate the mountain and get eyes on many of the climbing routes. As a general trend, many of the routes on the mountain are holding less snow than average for this time of year but are still in good shape. This post will focus mostly on the routes on the North and West sides, for specifics on the Kautz, DC, or Emmons-Winthrop, see those specific blog posts.

Curtis Ridge: The lower half of the route to the Gendarme is snow covered. The upper cliff bands appear to be quite dry and ice runnels were not plainly visible.
Curtis Ridge and the Carbon Glacier, viewed from the Russell Glacier
Liberty Ridge and the Carbon Glacier: The lower Carbon is relatively filled in, allowing what appear to be at least 2 viable approaches to Liberty Ridge
The Carbon Glacier and North side of the mountain
 Mowich Face Routes: All routes appear to have possible bergschrund crossings, the Edmunds Headwall presents the most complicated looking bergschrund crossing. No ice fall debris was evident, but the cliffs still loom quite large.
The Mowich Face and Edmunds Headwall
Sunset Ridge: The approach via the Puyallup and South Mowich Glaciers are filled-in and present few navigational challenges. The ridge itself appears snowy all the way to the top.
Lower Sunset Ridge from the South Mowich Glacier
Tahoma Glacier: This route appears to be quite broken above about 9500 feet. The lower Tahoma Glacier from Glacier Island up to 9500’ offers reasonable passage to the Tahoma Cleaver. The Sickle has recent-looking debris from serac fall.
The upper Puyallup Glacier
Success Cleaver: Largely snow covered with bits of rock poking out.
Success Couloir: Bergschrund still appears to be passable. Headwall melting out with lots of exposed rocks
A Climbing Ranger ascending early in the morning. Success Couloirs in the background.
With the unseasonable warm temperatures forecasted for the coming weekend, be prepared for changing conditions on many of these routes. Be cognizant of your travel timing, and be aware of the possibility of wet loose and wet slab avalanches on all aspects. As always, check the weather forecast before departing and be prepared.