Monday, July 31, 2017

DC Update and Emmons/Winthrop Merge Navigation Tips

There are a few notable facts about the DC route in it's current incarnation:
  • You hit the 12,400' elevation band 4 times while climbing up and down the route.
  • Total distance is almost 8 miles from Camp Muir to the summit and back.
  • There is a 300' descent and subsequent climb in the middle.
  • You begin the climb heading due North and reach the summit travelling due South.
  • You will cross 4 glaciers en route, the Cowlitz, Ingraham, Emmons and Winthrop.
DC Route on 7/30/2017
The trail above the Cleaver is good but the route is quite long. Most of the climbers on the July 29/30 weekend reported that they underestimated the physical effort required to tackle the DC. The climb back from southern margin of the Emmons Glacier to regain the Cleaver seemed to be the area that gave folks the most trouble. Regaining that 300' in the heat of the day can be extremely taxing. You can mitigate this by climbing early on hot days and by maintaining a consistent pace throughout your climb.
The DC route traversing to the north and gaining the Emmons Gl.

Finding the correct descent route hasn't been as much of a problem this week as it was last week but here's a few tips on successfully making it back to your camp.

#1 Carry a GPS and track your progress. You can then simply reverse your path. The rangers do that and it's how we produce the track logs used in this blog.

#2 Check your compass bearings on ascent and descent. The general direction of the DC is SW. The Emmons/Winthrop is NNW.

#3 Use large, obvious landmarks to keep you on track.

Climbers descending the DC and heading towards Little Tahoma.

#4 At the very least note and remember critical points on the trail.
The DC and E/W Merge from above. The path leading straight down heads to Camp Schurman, the path to the right leads to Camp Muir.
Climb safe and have fun!