Wednesday, June 24, 2020

"Standard Route" Remains Unclimbed

Recent poor weather has hindered any summit attempts from Camp Muir – no climbers have made it past Ingraham Flats; the Ingraham Direct and Disappointment Cleaver routes remain unclimbed. Climbers have been successful on the Emmons-Winthrop Glacier Route from Camp Schurman to the summit over the last few days.

Aerial Photo of the Disappointment Cleaver 6/22/20
For some climbers, the current situation on the upper mountain can be a delightful new adventure across an untrammeled glacial landscape. For others, the prospects of forging a path up thousands of feet of untracked snow may sound too grueling and uncertain. Whatever your disposition, the conditions on the upper mountain demand humility and lowered expectations of reaching the summit.
There is no “path” to the summit from Camp Muir currently (Wednesday, June 24th).

There are no guiding operations on the mountain right now; this means three important things:
1) No guiding presence in the Muir Corridor means there has been no route work, no trail markings, and no path to the summit. All route navigation, hazard avoidance, and crevasse crossings will have to be made independently.
2) Climbing routes from Muir will require advanced route finding techniques, expert cramponing, and possibly belayed climbing across steep slopes or over crevasse bridges.
3) Route finding on the upper mountain is arduous. Climbers may have to retrace their steps many times to find ways to the summit.
Aerial View of upper mountain above Disappointment Cleaver 6/22/20

Other climbing routes on the mountain are starting to see some traffic. If a non-standard route like the Kautz, Tahoma, or Liberty Ridge is on your list, consider this: there is no route kicked in back to Camp Muir.  Consider descending the route you climbed up or descending the Emmons-Winthrop Glacier Route instead of trying to make it to Camp Muir from above. A top-down descent of the Ingraham Direct or Disappointment Cleaver Route would be extremely difficult without a route already kicked in.

Strong winds mixed with alternating snow and rain drifted into large patches of 6-8”of new snow above Camp Muir last weekend. Warmer weather Monday and Tuesday (6/22-6/23) should help snow stability improve but could also lead to wet loose avalanches in steeper terrain above 40 degrees. Furthermore, rangers have noticed an uptick in rockfall over the last 24 hours as temperatures have climbed. For the most up to date weather information, check out the links provided in the weather tab above.  See the latest update on the Emmons-Winthrop Route below for more snowpack observations.  Also, please read through the new permitting process described online on the park's climbing website thoroughly.  A lot has changed this year and it is bound to change some more!