Thursday, July 29, 2010

Changing Seasons

So if you haven't already heard, summer is fully upon us here on the Mountain. Since the beginning of this month we have had thousands of climbers and skiers coming out to play on Rainier. Looking around the mountain last week from the side window of a Chinook helicopter we saw evidence of people climbing and skiing almost everything around. There were ski tracks down all the standard routes, plus a good many down some more technical non-standard routes. This was pretty amazing considering all of it was happening in mid to late July, a time of year people usually put away their skis and stop attempting routes like Mowich Face and Liberty Ridge.

With all of the beautiful weather we have been blessed with over the past few weeks our large snowpack is starting to morph into its usual mid-summer condition. This means that while most routes on the mountain are still in very good shape and holding lots of snow, climbers may start to encounter some ice poking through the snow in steeper areas, and some crevasses opening up forcing climbers to do a little more routefinding and endrunning of large cracks.

Over the past week Climbing Rangers have been out climbing Mowich Face and Ptarmigan Ridge along with all the standards like the Emmons and DC. Reports have been of excellent conditions in all places. Want to get an early August ascent of some steeper west side routes? Now is the time! With great snow-free trail conditions making for fast approaches and snow still clinging to most everything above 10,000' the stage is set for some great climbing. Just be aware that with warm days rockfall and icefall hazard increases, so climb at night when it's cool and be aware of what and who is above you at all times. Ya know, like when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em, when to climb and when to run. Speaking of running check out the fracture on Lib ridge below Thumb Rock! Although not normal at all for this time of year it is a testament to how much snow we have received and how warm the days have been.

Check out the new route updates and photos from the past week of climbing, training (always), and flying. Come on up and enjoy this seasonal transition with us here on Rainier!