Thursday, August 08, 2019

Camp Schurman

Approach to Inter Glacier
Getting to Camp Schurman is a beautiful hike through two distinct zones. The trail starts at White River Camp Ground and is forested and gently graded, about four miles to Glacier Basin and offers climbers a wonderful sub-alpine zone experience. From there the trail gains lots of elevation and you enter into the alpine zone, traveling up the moraine of the Inter Glacier. The route up the Inter Glacier is fairly direct gaining 2000’ elevation to Camp Curtis, at about 8700 feet. There is running water at the base of the glacier, which is nice place to fill up.  Crevasses are opening up on the upper section of the Inter Glacier, use cation traveling down this area.  We recommend 'roping-up' for this glacial travel and NOT glissading on your way down.  We've already had two serious accidents in the last couple weeks due to climbers getting out of control during their glissade.  Please descend carefully. 

Crevasses on the Inter Glacier
If you are staying at Camp Curtis, camping is only permitted in the five camp sites numbered by metal signs, elevation of 8685 feet. Please do not build new wind breaks for your campsite around this area - use the existing rock rings.  Note that if you're permitted for the 'Inter Glacier' Alpine Zone you are not permitted to camp on rocks and must dig a tent platform in the snow (which is very difficult this time of year now that the softer snow has melted away and only firm glacial ice remains).
Camp Curtis (8685 feet)
From Camp Curtis the trail traverses down a steep loose rock and sand slope onto the Emmons Glacier.  Expect to travel near several crevasses this time of year up to Camp Schurman.

Trail on Emmons Glacier to Camp Schurman

Camp Schurman is on the tip of the divide between the Emmons and the Winthrop Glaciers which is known as Steamboat Prow. Tents can be set up on the NNW side of camp, on the Winthrop Glacier. Camping is not permitted on the rocks - please camp on the snow.  

Looking down onto Camp Schurman
For climbers staying at Camp Schurman, there are two restrooms in service located behind the ranger hut.  In case of an emergency and there are no rangers around, a radio is located on the front of the hut, mounted to the outside wall in a grey box.  Also, just a reminder to anchor your tent down using a dead man style anchors or something with more strength than the small tent stakes that come with the tent. Winds in this area are strong and unpredictable.  We've had a couple of tents blow away with climber's gear inside. Use caution around both Camp Schurman and Camp Muir - crevasses are opening up in the camping area.

Camping is also available at Emmons Flats located a short distance from Camp Schurman. No services are provided in this area, so blue bags must be used and can be deposited in the container near the restrooms at Schurman. The route to The Flats is becoming more technical with one long traversing crevasse and small snow bridges.

Crossing onto Emmons Flats

Enjoy your time spent camping in the Schurman area and remember to leave the area better than it was found.
Sunrise over the Emmons Glacier

As far as the climbing route on the upper mountain, the route is still in great shape - and surprisingly similar to what the route has been for the last five weeks.  Still direct, still has some ice patches, still traversing out to Liberty Saddle at about 13,500, and still fun.