Monday, September 26, 2022

Autumn is here!

Autumn is here! Though with the gorgeous sunny days, it feels like we are still getting to soak up a little more summer. People who have ventured up to Camp Muir have had gorgeous views with very few people around. 

View of Mount Rainier's south side from Pebble Creek

The climbing season on Mount Rainier has slowed down significantly, and already stopped for many of the guide services. Along the Muir Snowfield are cracks and skeletal ice making travel difficult to and from Camp. Above Camp Muir the climber's route across the Cowlitz Glacier has seen a bit more active rockfall than usual, with one big slide stopping right at the boot pack. There's significant rockfall hazard and tricky loose-rock-on-steep-ice terrain to cross to get to Ingraham Flats. From Ingraham Flats to the Cleaver presents various challenges as well. Near High Crack, there are several large hollowly bridged crevasses going latitudinally and longitudinally. As for route adjuncts, at High Crack (around 11,400 ft.) there is a horizontal triple ladder and getting onto the cleaver there are also some fixed pickets. The route above the Cleaver is very difficult to navigate due to large crevasses, and with the freezing levels staying above 10,000 feet all of the glaciated portions of the route seem to be changing rapidly. It's definitely an advanced climbing route - not the "easier standard route" that it typically is.

The traverse onto the Cleaver from the Ingraham Glacier

Climbers attempting a summit climb at this time of the year should be prepared to be entirely self-sufficient. The climbing ranger season is winding down and we aren't regularly staffing either of the high camps. Any emergency rescue is not just hours, but most likely days away - which will feel like a very long time for any ill/injured climber. We cannot stress this enough - be prepared for self-rescue and self-care in the event of an emergency - and choose to turn around, or not push upward, if you're unfamiliar with the mountain and it's hazards and/or the skills needed to navigate, perform crevasse rescue, ascend a rope, etc.

Thin snow bridges exist on route between Ingraham Flats and the Cleaver

Permits are still available in-person until October 12th at the Longmire Wilderness Information Center and the White River Wilderness Information Center. Getting an in-person permit allows you to talk to a ranger and get updated weather and route information, it is definitely the way to go! Check out this page for updated hours of the Wilderness Information Centers. At Paradise there is a Self-Registration area at the Old Ranger Station (see this blog post for more details). Don’t forget to pay the annual climbing fee before going up! 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Camp Schurman and the Emmons Winthrop

The season has come to an end at Camp Schurman for 2022. Visitation has been next to zero for the past few weeks. Access up the Inter glacier is on exposed glacial ice and challenging travel. The Emmons and Winthrop glaciers continue to have several large crevasse systems above the Corridor that continue to thwart any climbing attempts.

Inter Glacier and Ruth Ridge

If you do chose to take and adventure and travel to Camp Schurman this Fall be aware that there are no open toilet facilities, but a Blue Bag barrel does remain available. You may have to clear off a bit of snow to find it.  Also, be aware that the climbing rangers are no longer regularly staffing Camp Schurman.  Be completely self-reliant - any rescue could be hours and even days away!

Climbing and Wilderness permits are still required thru the Fall and Winter for travel on Mount Rainier above 10,000 feet and on its Glaciers. These can still be acquired at the White River Ranger Station in person or via self registration. 

Camp Schurman
Have a great Fall and Winter Season and we look forward to seeing you back at Mount Rainier and Camp Schurman in 2023.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Disapointment Cleaver Update 9/14/22

Camp Muir has been quiet lately with only a few guided groups and independent parties coming through. On the Disappointment Cleaver Route has had large crevasses open up on the upper mountain, making it difficult for ladders to span the gaps. This heavily broken terrain makes for challenging climbing conditions. If you plan to head up the mountain, keep in mind that there are fewer people around during this time of year. Having enough equipment so your team can be self sufficient is vital because any search and rescue efforts could take days!  

A nighttime view from Camp Muir looking down at the Goat Rocks Fire (long exposure)

Lastly, the weather is changing! Washington has had many wildfires in the last few weeks, but the damp weather in the last few days has reduced the smoke. As more precipitation works it's way into the forecast, be wary of rain events with a dropping freezing level. This can cause icy surface conditions and make for dangerous travel conditions. 

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Disappointment Cleaver Update 9/10

The Disappointment Cleaver route has been reestablished with a reroute to the Emmons Shoulder. The route currently has two ladders. One is just above Ingraham Flats and horizontal. The other is at around 12,700' and vertical. All route adjuncts have been changing quickly due to high freezing levels. Assess ladders, hand-lines and any other route adjunct on a use-by-use basis - don't use it if it's not safe! The last major feature on the route is a crevasse at 13,900' that can be crossed via a fin of snow.  

GPS track from 9/8
The summer season is winding down, but the guide services continue to climb and maintain the DC route.  This means there's less people on the route - so you'll have a bit more solitude up on your climb and don't have to worry about bottle-necks, but the route definitely isn't as direct and contains more challenges than earlier in the season.  Make sure to bring your A-Game and see you on the Mountain!

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Disappointment Cleaver Update 8/28

Looking up at the DC from just below Ingraham Flats.

There’s some crisp fall notes in the air this week! A blip of 7000’ freezing levels rolled through and cooled things down.  The route still continues to be in reasonable shape - especially for this time of year! Climbers have been making it to the top with reasonable trip times, mostly due to the direct nature of the route.  Ladders and planks are still in place. The cleaver itself is mostly rock now.  A couple of steep snow fins on the upper mountain and a couple of skeletal glacial ice patches lower down have melted out. Be sure to have the proper mountain boots and crampons for glacial travel.  

Crossing the ladder just before traversing onto the cleaver.

Also, as a reminder, you must do two things before climbing Mount Rainier:

All climbers must pay the fee and each group must have a permit - don’t leave the trailhead without doing both of those things!  While paying the Climbing Fee is pretty straightforward, some of the steps to getting a climbing permit can be a bit confusing, but don’t fret! This late in the season there’s generally plenty of walk-up permits - just come on in and say hi to the rangers and we’ll help you through the process of getting one.  See you on the mountain!  

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Muir Snowfield 8/24

The Muir Snowfield as Viewed from Above Pebble Creek

The route up to Camp Muir is melted out up to the Pebble Creek crossing, and the snowfield above is in generally good shape. There are medium-sized sun cups along the route, and the texture of the snow  varies from soft to firm as you ascend. As the route continues to melt with sun exposure, expect to see an increase in icy patches and crevasses opening up on the snowfield below Camp Muir. Even if your objective is just to climb to camp and return, you may find it handy to bring some sort of traction device for your shoes to provide better footing if needed. 

Trampled ground in Paradise - Make sure to stay on trail!

In some areas on the upper snowfield, glissade tracks are in place which aim directly at rock outcroppings. Make sure to evaluate your path before committing to a track. Glissading climbers and hikers can pick up speed quite quickly! Below the snow line on the Skyline Trail and all throughout Paradise, climbers and hikers walking off track continue to have a huge impact on vegetation in Mount Rainier National Park. While the trails may feel crowded, we do ask that you remain on trail to help protect this fragile ecosystem. Stepping to the side may seem like the easier option, but the impact this has over time lasts far longer than your trip to the Park! All the patches of dirt by the trail you pass by would be covered in greenery if they hadn't been trampled.

Signage marking routes around new construction

There are also some new segments of trail being constructed in Paradise, and some small older sections have been closed off to allow for this. Please make sure to follow any posted signage about these closures.

Emmons Winthrop Update 8/25

Looking up at the route on 8/23/22

The Emmons Winthrop has not seen much, if any, climber traffic in the past few weeks. There were reports of a party which made it to the top of the corridor before turning around. A large and wide crevasse spanning directly above the corridor has proven to be a significant challenge. The Winthrop shoulder is also quite broken, and unlikely to present a better alternative.

There is potential that an alternate route could be taken past the corridor, but with no recent path in place independent decision making and route finding will be crucial for any party deciding to travel this side of the mountain.

Are you comfortable finding your own route and assessing crevasse crossings in terrain without any other groups to follow? Are you willing to turn back at any point if you can't devise a safe route through the terrain you're in? Do you feel comfortable deciding what extra protection is necessary on a route and implementing that for your party?

Make sure you're having an honest check in with your group about these factors before deciding to climb this route at this time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Disappointment Cleaver Update 8/20

A little wild fire haze in the sky 

The past week saw a number of climbers make successful summit climbs on the Disappointment Cleaver route. Conditions on the Disappointment Cleaver route are continuing their march into the late climbing season with more rock exposed and dwindling snowpack. The overall location of the route remains the same as previous weeks, but small route changes and ever thinning crevasse crossings are requiring climbers to remain alert.

As the climbing season wears on, expect the continued use of ladders and planks to stitch together a summit route. Currently ladders are being installed at High Crack just above Ingraham flats. The Ladder at 13100' has been re-positioned to a vertical orientation. A wooden plank has been added at around 13500' and fixed pickets for a running belay exists a 13800' crossing.

The route runs primarily along the spine of the DC.

The Disappointment Cleaver is over 90% rock and travel on it has proven challenging for a number of parties. To ease your time on the cleaver shorten the rope distance between the members of your climbing party while ascending and descending. This makes moving up the lose rocky terrain significantly easier and reduces the chance of causing rockfall.

Cooler weather predicted for the weekend will help hold the mountain together as the 2022 climbing season continues into September.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Emmons Winthrop 8/6


Climbing conditions on the Emmons-Winthrop route remain similar to those detailed in the last post. 

With diminishing climber numbers and evidence of older iterations of the route clearly visible in many places, there is no one clear route up the Emmons Winthrop at this time. Consider taking a tracklog as you ascend.  In some places, older boot packs lead directly to the edges of now widely gaping crevasses. Use caution and evaluate crevasse crossings you decide to take, and take alternate routes if crossings are no longer safely viable. 

Crossings above the corridor continue to erode

There is a series of crevasse crossings above the corridor which have continued to melt out.  Consider  implementing further protection where necessary while making these crossings.

There are still no crevasses visible on the inter glacier, although the snow has continued to melt with warmer temps. It's that time of year for them to become more of an issue, however, so keep an eye out for crevasse hazards - especially while descending.  

Route as viewed from Camp Schurman

Disappointment Cleaver 08/06/2022

Little Tahoma from the top of the Disappointment Cleaver

The Disappointment Cleaver route remains in good condition and saw a lot of successful summits from guide services and independent parties this weekend. The route track has not changed significantly since last week's update.

Disappointment Cleaver route from the top of the cleaver

High freezing levels and calm winds this weekend have led to melting and poor overnight surface condition recoveries. Cathedral Gap and the Disappointment Cleaver are about 50/50 rock and snow at this time. Transitions between rock and snow increase likelihood of catching a crampon. Keep a short rope through rocky sections to protect your rope and minimize chances of knocking rocks on parties below. 

Looking towards Camp Muir from the top of the cleaver

Warm temperatures lead to slushy snow, which is unsupportable and not conducive to self-arresting. Constantly evaluate while climbing and consider fall potential before it happens. Climb early and be rewarded with better conditions. Cooler temperatures returning this week may improve conditions.

Second ladder at 13,100' with handline to the right

There is one ladder on the route at this time, which is a single horizontal ladder with lumber across them. The ladder has a handline spanning them as well.  Handline ropes are intended to be handlines ONLY, clipping or prusiking onto them them will do little or nothing to catch a fall.  Evaluate the anchoring of the ladders, pre-placed running protection, and handlines before use. Picket placements that were secure on the ascent may be melted out by the descent.

To increase security at ladder crossings, consider utilizing running protection and keeping a tight rope between party members. Slack in the rope system leads to longer crevasse falls. 

Congestion on the route at Ingraham Flats

Many of the other routes on the mountain are out-of-condition for the season and climbers are funneling to the Muir corridor. Expect bottlenecks, congestion, and a busy camp. Be patient at technical portions of the route and take strategic breaks. Time your climb around guide services and other independent parties.

Little Tahoma at sunrise

The Disappointment Cleaver route remains in good climbing condition. It has more snow than your typical August ascent and has a fairly direct shot to the summit. Enjoy cooler temperatures returning this week and have a great climb!

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Emmons 8/2


Emmons/Winthrop as viewed from Steamboat Prow

The Emmons/Winthrop route still remains navigable. Crevasse bridges, especially above the Coridoor are weakening and separating.  Previous iterations of bootpacks are visible but some exist on bridges that are not currently viable crossings given the warm weather. Use caution and understand that your party may need to route find while climbing or descending.  The general flavor of the route remains similar to the last Emmons post.  Climbers are still traversing to Liberty Saddle, and crevasses are opening wider along the route.

Travel from Schurman to Emmons Flats and accessing the Corridor is relatively straight forward and no ablated glacier ice is visible yet.

No crevasses are visible on the Inter Glacier, although snow-line is slowly creeping uphill towards the lower nunatak and will most likely be disappearing in the next few weeks if the temperatures remain warm.

Looking up towards the Inter Glacier

2021 vs 2022 Glacier Comparison

2022 brought unseasonably late spring weather with a lot of precipitation. It is amazing how different the mountain looks now compared to this time last year. Here are a few photos to compare how the east side of Camp Muir and the Emmons-Withrop route looked in 2021 vs 2022.

Emmons-Wintrop Route August 3rd 2021

Emmons-Winthrop Route August 3rd 2022

East side of Camp Muir August 3rd 2021

East side of Camp Muir August 3rd 2022

It is easy to see that the Emmons-Winthrop and the Disappointment Cleaver routes are holding up well as we get into August! In recent years by early August, the Emmons-Winthrop route has become very indirect, glacier ice has been present, and there has been increased exposure to crevasses. However, this year things are still hanging in there! The Emmons-Winthrop Route has minimal adjuncts, and it is still fairly straight up the mountain. On the Disappointment Cleaver side in past years, even the access onto the DC has become difficult and exposed to rockfall. Crevasse and route-finding problems on the Ingraham Headwall have contributed to long routes with many ladders and adjuncts through, around, and over serac problems. Overall, this year has had great climbing conditions even though the climbing season started a little later in the year than normal. 

Monday, August 01, 2022

Disappointment Cleaver 7/31

The Disappointment Cleaver is still in good shape, however, warm temperatures are impacting snow stability.  Slushy snow isn't as strong as "coral reef" snow!

Descent Track From 7/31

We are still in the midst of long period of high-pressure, resulting in freezing levels hovering between 15,000 - 17,000ft in elevation for nearly the past two weeks. While this has led to some beautiful days in the mountains with great visibility, it also means that the route is changing rapidly and climbing conditions are quite variable.

Traverse onto the Disappointment Cleaver

The Cleaver is still quite snow-covered for the beginning of August, however snow is melting daily and quickly exposing underlying rock. Late morning and afternoon temperatures have led to unsupportive, often shallow snow. This can make the descent more challenging and easier to snag crampons on unseen rocks. 

Be heads up for other parties above and below you, especially when on the Disappointment Cleaver itself. The initial traverse onto the Cleaver as well as bare patches of rock on the cleaver are greatly susceptible to rockfall from other parties above. 

Cracks opening up above the cleaver

Wands crossing off old route around 13,100 feet

There are a number of route changes in the past week that avoid suspect snow bridges. Many of these are marked with wands to deter climbers from getting sucked into older variations. While these route aids are nice when they are present, climbers are encouraged to analyze their decisions when picking the best route. Don’t blindly follow the path most traveled. Consider options to end-run hollow bridges, take a different path, or if it’s not feeling right head back to camp. The mountain will always be here!

Ladder around 13,100 feet

The handline and ladder pictured above was one of two total on the route on 7/31. There is a multitude of "fixed" pickets on the route. If your party chooses to use these, please check each placement. Rangers do not maintain fixed protection on the routes, and with warm temperatures many of these route adjuncts can melt out providing little protection.  

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Emmons-Winthrop Update 07/26/2022

Emmons-Winthrop climbing route from Camp Schurman

Independent parties and guide services are successfully summiting via the Emmons-Winthrop route this week despite the heat advisory. The heat is making travel conditions challenging and have resulted in a longer and more demanding route.

Tracklog of Emmons-Winthrop descent from 07/23/2022

With the current heat advisory, Mount Rainier saw 17,000 foot freezing levels today.  The high freezing level and relatively calm winds are adding up to poor overnight snow-surface condition recoveries.  While the snow surface may be frozen during early morning hours, conditions deteriorate rapidly, and travel has been challenging on the Inter Glacier and the Corridor in the afternoon sun. Snow bridges are softening and crevasses crossings are becoming more interesting. Icefall and rockfall have been calving off Russell Cliff and the Womb all night, reminding climbers of the melting occurring above them.

There are two crevasse crossings between the corridor and the alpine meadows that are giving climbers some difficulty. The first crevasse is wide with a soft snow bridge spanning it. Independent climbing parties reported a body sized hole in this snow bridge and a subsequent self-rescue. 

The second crevasse above the corridor was reported to have a fallen bridge. Independent parties were following the boot pack and jumping across this crevasse on their descent. It is difficult to judge the distance with tired eyes and difficult to execute a jump with tired legs. Jumping across crevasses is not a good idea, especially with crampons on. A caught crampon combined with the forward velocity of a jump can easily break a leg. If unable to step across a crevasse, it may be time to utilize your contingency plan. Guide services reported chopping a step in this crevasse to more easily step across it.  Consider placing running protection above crevasse crossings to help prevent pulling the entire team into the crevasse.

At 13,000 feet, there is no snow bridge allowing a direct crossing over the bergschrund. The route traverses hard climber's right to the Liberty Saddle to end run it.

Rangers crossing a poorly-bridged crevasse using running protection to manage fall risk in consequential terrain

Snow bridges that were crossable during the ascent may no longer be supportable or present on the descent. Think about contingency plans on the climb up. What will your party do if a bridge is gone on your way down? Have you already examined the crevasse from camp the afternoon before? Can you end run it? Can you find an alternate descent? Can you use other skills to get across? The safest contingency plan may be to climb back up to the summit and descend the Disappointment Cleaver route. Leave enough gas in the tank to do so. Bonus vertical is not fun, but neither is a shiver-bivy.

Climb at night, plan for a longer route, make conservative decisions, develop contingency plans early, and have a great climb.

Disappointment Cleaver Conditions 7/23/22

Camp Muir Viewed from above

Route conditions on the Cleaver remain quite good. The route itself is virtually identical to this route track from 7/19. The section from Ingraham flats to the transition onto the Cleaver is relatively simple, but this is an area with a lot of overhead hazard from ice and rock fall, and we recommend moving quickly through this point, and avoiding stopping while in areas of higher risk. 

Handlines coming on to the Cleaver

As you move onto the Cleaver itself there are a series of handlines on the route, if you choose not to use them just be aware that they'll be underfoot, and avoid getting your feet tangled in them. The Cleaver is still almost entirely snow covered with the exception of a few short sections of exposed rocks, and the route above the Cleaver is a straightforward series of switchbacks leading to the summit, with a number of crevasse crossings along the way. There are currently two ladders on the route, placed by the guide services to facilitate crossing crevasses that have fallen out.

Warming Temps and Changing Crossings

We are moving into a week of warmer temps, and as things warm up the condition of crossings on the route is going to keep on changing as things melt. Pickets are in place near many of the crevasse crossings for use as protection or for setting up belays, but it's always good to examine the state of any placement before you rely on it. We were asked the other day whether anyone went out each day to check the state of each crossing or adjunct in place, but the adjuncts on the route are placed and maintained by the guide services, and may not even be checked on a given day at all, while conditions can change massively throughout a single day. It's your responsibility to make decisions about the safety of any crossing, place protection as needed for your team, and investigate alternate routes if needed.


Warm temps and nice weather have brought more climbers to the mountain, especially on the weekends. Areas like the steeper switchbacks above the Cleaver, and some of the more complicated crevasse crossings can be prone to creating bottlenecks as climbers move through them. With more consolidated snow, just remember that you can move out of the boot pack to politely work past slower teams in areas where the terrain allows, and if you find yourself waiting to cross a point as other groups pass through, remember to stay patient and cheerful, this can even be a great chance to move off to the side and take a quick snack break with your team.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Please Rope Up

Recently there's been an increase in the number of climbers travelling un-roped.  This includes climbers ascending the Emmons glacier to Camp Schurman, coming off rope as they descend the corridor, and even travelling off rope for their entire ascent of the upper mountain. This is extremely ill-advised! Significant hazards are always present in these areas.  With warmer temperatures, the odds of punching through into an unseen crevasse are even higher.

Crevasse falls are surprisingly more common than you would think.  Some parties experience a crevasse fall and a party member gets injured, but they are able to self-rescue back to the surface.  This type of scenario will still trigger a rescue because the patient can no longer walk out. More often, the party does not have the skills (or enough people) to effectively get the party member out of the crevasse.  Many parties think they have trained, but find once the crevasse fall happens in real life, they don't have the equipment or skill or the number of people they need to get their party member out.  Also, imagine when you’re tired, sleep deprived, have cold fingers, and the wind ripping around you AND THEN having to deal with a partner in a crevasse.  On your ascent, you should always keep the crevasse fall potential in mind and have enough of a energy and safety margin to deal with it.  

Climbing rangers wish that they could pass the tragic lessons on to you that many other parties have learned over the years.  One of our ranger’s first body recovery due to a crevasse fall was in 1992 (that’s 30 years ago!) on the Emmons Glacier.  The surviving member of the party wrote a book about his experienced title The Ledge.  And this party was roped up!  During the subsequent three decades there’s been scores of other tragedies and near misses due to climber’s not being prepared to deal with a crevasse fall.  Please take this hazard seriously!  

Climbers next to the crevasses right below Camp Schurman on the Emmons - roping up is advised here.

Ski mountaineers have also been seen travelling un-roped.  When done well by experienced and well-thought-out mountaineers, skiing can mitigate crevasse falls and be a fun, faster, and less exhausting way to get up and down.  However, when it's not done well, it is turning out to ADD risk to many unknowing climber's trips.  The rationale for ski mountaineering in its most simple application is sound.  Having skis on as you cross the glacier distributes your weight over a larger area and this minimizes the potential for falling through an unseen snow bridge.  But, there’s common pitfalls that many skiers don’t anticipate..

Skiers need to have partners and we recommend carrying ropes, too.  To avoid accidents, skiers also should know when to take the skis off and put a rope back on while they ascend or descend!  Ski mountaineers who chose to descend un-roped should carry two separate ropes in their party in order to effectively rescue a partner who has taken a crevasse fall. A ski mountaineer carrying their skis on descent has no flotation advantage from their skis and should act and protect their climb just like any mountaineer.  Skiing down a steep glacier roped-up is not a good idea, nor fun.  So skiers generally un-rope as they ski down. This would not be a big risk if it weren't for two factors: 1) the slope angle, and the 2) surface conditions.  

From 13,500 to 11,000 feet, Mount Rainier is steep, often greater than 35 degrees.  It isn't groomed, of course, and surface conditions are often either rough, broken, or icy.  Because taking skis off is inconvenient, skiers will often attempt to ski through areas of great exposure like a steep corner around a serac with a crevasse below it.  If you haven’t climbed the route you’re about to ski, use extreme caution.  Also, please realize that skiers do fall and every skier has taken a fall, and many times it’s not predictable.  It’s why bindings are manufactured to release.  Simple tumbles, especially in unknown terrain can often be deadly on Mount Rainier.  Skiing off the mountain at these high altitudes isn’t great skiing most days (think survival ski turns) and tumbles often result in uncontrollable falls. Very skilled skiers have been seriously hurt and killed on Mount Rainier.  Don’t plan on your skiing ability to prevent a serious injury or death.  Climbing your ski route, waiting for fortunate conditions, down climbing icy sections, and always having the appropriate rescue equipment is essential.  Skiing is rarely good above 11,500'.  Our best advice is to plan on using normal climbing techniques for ascending AND DESCENDING from and back to this altitude in the summer.

What we've seen lately is befuddling!  Skiers have been walking down un-roped on lower sections of the glacier where it is warm and late in the day.  In the specific places we've seen this happening, it was the worst of all worlds.  No rope, no skis, warm afternoon conditions, and crossing crevasses.

The climbing rangers have had a serious rescues off the upper mountain almost every week.  Crevasse falls are a major cause of these rescues.  Please think about removing these commons errors from your scenario that will keep you from falling in in the first place.

Please rope up while on glaciers!  It is always the crevasse that you’re not planning on falling into that causes the most problems.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Disappointment Cleaver 7/19/22

Overall the Disappointment Cleaver route is in good condition. High freezing levels will continue to cause frequent route adjustments such as widening cracks and less supportive bridges.

A route tack recorded on 7/19/22.

With warmer temperatures we witnessed increased rock and icefall. The cleaver is still fairly snow covered. However, as the snow continues to melt be aware of parties below you as you walk on exposed rock. Consider pausing until there are no parties below you and be aware of parties climbing above. 

As conditions soften, pickets may begin to melt out with the warm temperatures. we recommend inspecting the integrity of the placement before trusting any route adjunct - this goes for fixed lines, fixed pickets, ladders, and planks.

Handline on the Cleaver. 

If you find yourself considering jumping across a crack, consider looking for another way to cross. While jumping across a crack may work, it is also an easy way to catch a crampon. Many people are injured attempting to leap across cracks.

Both photos above: Crevasse at 12,800'.

As the weather warms, ladders placed over crevasses may begin to melt out, test the stability of the board before committing to crossing over. As a testament to the rapid pace of change on the upper mountain, this board, pictured below needed to be moved repeatedly on 7/20 

Crevasse crossing at 13,200'. 

Please double check your campsites, the public shelter and break points along your route for trash you or others have left behind and leave the area better than you found it, thanks for your help in keeping Mount Rainier clean. 

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Emmons-Winthrop Update


For this point in July, the Emmons is holding up quite well. Mount Rainier has experienced consistently high freezing levels in the past week (~14,500ft) and the extended forecast is predicting this trend to continue into next week. With this warming, expect to encounter suspect snow bridges, widening cracks, and a continually changing route.

View of the Emmons-Winthrop

Even though there may be a well worn boot-pack in spots, this route may have been established when bridges were more supportive and conditions were different.

Snow Bridge at 11,400

Snow Bridge at 12,800 

Climbers are encouraged to analyze their decisions when picking the best route, don’t blindly follow the path most traveled. Consider options to end-run hollow bridges, take a different path, or if it’s not feeling right head back to camp!