Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Variation to Emmons Climbing Route

Crevasse at 13,000'
Rangers from Camp Schurman proofed a variation on the standard climbing route on Sunday. As the glaciers open up more and the route changes adding more distance to the climb, this new route takes a more direct approach up the Emmons Glacier.
Variation to route up the Emmons Glacier
Leaving from Camp Schurman the route negotiates a heavily crevassed section of glacier until you reach Emmons Flats. The crevasses in this area are traditional to the route this late in the season and are mainly composed of skeletal ice.
Looking down at Camp Schurman from atop Steamboat Prow

Crossing the Emmons Flats and lower "football field" is mostly sun-cupped soft snow. Several large snow bridged cravasses at the base of the corridor are well supported and easily crossed. Take a look under the snow bridge to see what is supporting it. If it seems questionable then look for other options.

From the top of the corridor, approx 11,000’ the route can be climbed out to the right, following the standard summer line of ascent, or out to the climber's left into the upper Emmons Bowl. This upper bowl holds large deposits of winter snow making it challenging uphill travel early season. The large expanse of smooth snow is a great option for late season when the snow pack is consolidated and boot penetration is minimal.

Route finding through the upper Emmons Bowl to 13,000’ is relatively easy with the majority of the landscape visible. Taking a low approach (climber's left side of the bowl) will offer some distance from seracs and occasional ice fall that releases on the right side the bowl. The left hand side will also give a more direct ascent line to end run large crevasses extending across the slopes.

At the 13,000’ elevation there is a large vertical fin of snow that marks the top end of the bowl.  This also marks the beginning of the route finding. The landscape above is hidden from view, but with every new crest additional large expanses of smooth terrain will appear.

Climb right of the fin at 13,000' to end run two parallel crevasses. From this point the route trends left, but doesn’t meet up with the Disappointment Cleaver Route - not that far left! Climbers will find small snow bridges where the seemingly impossible crevasses narrow down to the point where small snow bridges provide passage.
New route
If you're looking for adventure on Mount Rainier and want something new, then try a late season Emmons Climb. This route doesn’t disappoint!