A dense layer of high clouds rolled in last night and settled above the mountain. The cloud layer trapped the heat and blocked longwave radiation, so the glaciers up high did not go through radiational cooling overnight. As a result, guides were reporting that conditions on their climb were softer than they were during the heat dome, when we had 18,000 foot freezing levels with clear skies. When conditions are warm there’s typically more rapid change to the route. Note that crevasse crossings and ladders can become unsafe in warm weather - be prepared to find an alternative route down the mountain if you’re up high when things change!
|Dark clouds and rain above high camps on Mount Rainier.|
Last night, while some groups were up higher on the mountain, the ice fin that was being used to access the Disappointment Cleaver was taken out by rock fall. Parties were able to get off the Cleaver (going down), but getting on it (going up) adds an extra challenge.
The ladder at 13,500' elevation has been melting out rapidly and sometimes left unanchored. Be cautious if you choose to use the ladder.
It's always good to remember to not simply cross a bridge or ladder just because many people have before you. Rainier offers a very dynamic environment and right now it is changing rapidly - did we mention that already? Changing routes is the name of the game when ascending glaciated terrain in August. Keep some extra in reserve in case you have to find an alternative route! See you on the mountain.