Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Disappointment Cleaver - 8/28/2018

The DC is holding on.  The number of independent climbers has dropped off considerably over the past couple of weeks.  The scene at Camp Muir is a stark contrast to the middle of July. The smoke has cleared out and there has been a brisk hint of Fall in the air over the past few days. There are also several large crevasses around Camp, so beware!

A large crevasse on the 'wind roll' near tents. 

The route itself is in late season condition and therefore a little more exciting than usual.  There are several ladder crossings and hollow bridges to contend with, along with increased rockfall exposure.  The guide services are still running successful trips and a handful of independent parties summited this week as well.

Approaching Ingraham Flats.  The Disappointment Cleaver is entirely melted out and the route ascends the 'spine' of the Cleaver to its top at 12,300'.

As rangers descended the route on 8/28, guides were putting in a ladder above Ingraham Flats. This should help cut out some extra distance on the route as it was previously going high to end-run this crevasse.

A new ladder near 'high crack'. 

Additionally, there are ladders at 12,700' and around 13,000'.  Both of these are actually several smaller ladders lashed together to span 10-15' wide crevasses.  These crevasses are over 100' deep.  The ladders have hand lines but are still a bit precarious.  If you are uncomfortable walking across these ladders then don't be afraid to turn around.  As with all 'fixed gear' it is important to assess their integrity.  Don't just blindly step onto them.  Make sure both ends are resting on either side and that all of the pickets are sound.  It is a good idea to clip one of the hand lines with a tether/locking carabiner attached to your harness for additional protection.  Falling off of one of these ladders without clipping in would entail a large fall and swing.  There are pickets on either side for 'running pro' and you should also clip your rope in as you go across.  Consider belaying your partners across these ladders if there's any doubt about falling!

The 12,700' ladder on the descent.  

The 12,700' ladder. 
The ladder at 13,000' - taken on the descent.  This ladder is not quite as long as the 12,700' ladder.  

A hollow section around 12,800' with a hand line.  
8/28 track log.
All in all it's a nice time to be on the mountain as we transition into Fall. Those looking for a more challenging DC climb will not be disappointed.