Friday, September 06, 2019

Emmons Winthrop End of Season 09/05/2019

View of Glacier Basin September 2019

As summer winds down, so does the climbing season on Mount Rainier. No parties have attempted the Emmons Glacier route recently. Climbing Rangers have finished doing patrols of the route for the year, and all guided climbs have ceased. Although it is probably still possible to forge a route above Camp Schurman, all parties attempting such a late-season attempt should expect a very long day and circuitous, complex navigation requiring honed glacier travel and ice climbing skills.

Beware that autumn storms often deposit enough snow to obscure any remnant of this summer's climbing route and can thinly cover open crevasses. Serac fall has also been observed recently. Be prepared to do all of your own navigation, route-finding, and decision-making if you choose to attempt the mountain this late in the season.

This will be the final update for the Emmons Glacier route for the 2019 climbing season. If you're planning a climbing trip to Mount Rainier next season and are doing some pre-trip planning follow these links to view our in-depth route briefs on the Disappointment Cleaver Route, the Emmons-Winthrop Glacier Route, the Kautz Glacier Route, and Liberty Ridge.

Thanks for a great summer season!  Happy Autumnal Equinox and see you next year!

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Muir Snowfield Update 9/4

As we transition into September, the Muir Snowfield is becoming more of an "Icefield" than a snowfield.  The majority of the hike beyond Pebble Creek has exposed glacial ice with a number of open crevasses above 8500'.  Where there is snow, the surface conditions are quite sun cupped and capped with a fine layer of rock and dust.

The crevasses that are present on the upper portion of the snowfield are easy to spot and navigate around, but caution should still be taken as the surface condition adjacent to these features are firm and icy.  Take caution while descending from Camp Muir, as a couple of these cracks can be difficult to spot from above.

While navigating the Muir Snowfield, we recommend bringing sturdy footwear that are capable of accepting micro-spikes or crampons which will greatly aid in security.  Trekking poles are also very useful!

Water is present around the lower rock outcroppings as well as on the top of Moon Rocks.  Beware though, as the Muir Snowfield sees a large amount of traffic and filtering the run-off is highly recommended.

Safe Climbing!

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Trash & Waste + Route Update

September vistas of Camp Muir
Rangers have been experiencing an uptick of trash and human waste left on the Disappointment Cleaver Route.  We ask you to please pack down what you bring up.  Understandably, it can be difficult to maintain wrappers and micro trash, but please do your best to keep a handle of these items.  These unsightly attractions detract from the climbing experience for all visitors.  Please do your part and leave mountain in better condition than how you found it!

While on patrols of the DC, rangers have noted more human waste directly off the boot pack.  The Paradise Wilderness Information Center (PWIC) offers blue bags free of charge to climbers.  Please be responsible and use these blue bags to collect and carry off your waste, otherwise, others will have to do this.

We have also found a number of soiled blue-bags left both at Ingraham Flats as well as along the route.  Not only are these climbers not doing their part in removing their human waste, they are now littering and leaving plastic in a delicate alpine environment.  Please, if you go through the effort to use a blue-bag, do your part and dispose of it into a designated blue-bag barrel at Camp Muir.

Human waste, blue-bags and trash left along the route

The DC route is largely unchanged since the last blog post update. When approaching rock features along the route, use cation and be on the lookout for hollow moats and ablated glacier ice.

There is still only one ladder on the route, currently located at 13,100'.  This is configured in a vertical orientation.

As we make our way into September, climbing tactics have to adapt to the changing conditions.  Be aware of more rock and ice fall.  A fair amount of the route has ablated glacier ice present as well as firmer snow conditions.  Come prepared with the appropriate climbing equipment such as crevasse rescue equipment, ice screws and pickets than can be easily be placed from a self-arrest position.

Safe Climbing!

Unstable boulders perched on ablated glacier ice, viewed from Cathedral Gap, looking towards the Ingraham Glacier
Looking towards the base of the Disappointment Cleaver from High Crack

The Bowling Alley from the
Disappointment Cleaver over to the Ingraham Glacier
Top of the cleaver, looking at the Upper Mountain
Climbers descending the ladder

Climbers descending the upper mountain, just above the top of the cleaver

Current track as of September 2nd, 2019