Thursday, September 26, 2019

Disappointment Cleaver Final Update for 2019

Clouds surround the summit as a storm rolls in. September 25, 2019.
Fall is upon us at Mount Rainier and that means winter-like conditions on the upper mountain. There has been significant snow on the mountain in the last two weeks and we are expecting more in the next few days.

This creates a particularly hazardous condition where the crevasses are as open as they ever get, but are now thinly covered with a veneer of new snow. We have had several parties experience crevasse falls in the last few weeks, thankfully with no injuries.

Icy, steep serac walls and newly formed wind slabs are other hazards that climbers will encounter this time of year. That's along with the usual rockfall, icefall, and altitude hazards that occur year-round. 

Now that snow has returned to the mountain, ski conditions are starting to improve, but skiers/boarders still have to hike 2000 feet up AND down since the snow doesn't start until above Panorama Point.  Due to thinly covered crevasses use extreme caution when skiing the snowfield between 8,500' and 9,500' and if you're venturing onto the Paradise Glacier. There was a remarkable turnout considering the variable conditions of skiers and hikers this past Saturday.  Don't ruin this winter season by getting injured in poor/rocky conditions this fall. 

When traveling to Camp Muir this time of year, be prepared for Winter weather! The Muir Snowfield is statistically more dangerous than a climb to the summit, with the majority of major incidents and fatalities occurring because of poor weather, lack of preparation, disorientation, and exposure.  

Guide services will continue to run summit trips through the first few days of October. After that the upper mountain will be cleaned of wands and route adjuncts. If you're planning a summit attempt between then and early May plan on being totally self-sufficient.

Seasonal climbing rangers are off duty for the season and while there is a skeleton crew of climbing rangers through most of the winter, high camps are not staffed regularly and any response to an injury or incident will take hours, even days. 

The Self-Registration Kiosk for Climbers can be found just inside the entrance of the Guide House
The Paradise Wilderness Information Center is also closed for the season. Climbers can still self-register at Paradise using the self-registration kiosk (currently located in the hallway of the Guide House) or register in-person at the Longmire Museum.

The Climbing Fee and Registration are mandatory for all climbers/skiers venturing on glaciers or above 10,000'
If you're reading this blog while planning a climbing trip to Mount Rainier next season 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 and see you next year!