Friday, June 03, 2022

Emmons-Winthrop 6/1

Independent parties, guided groups and climbing rangers all made successful summit climbs via the Emmons-Winthrop route on the 1st of June, 2022. A route from Camp Schurman following the Corridor was established with hard work and lots of trail breaking thru wind blown snow. This route ascends The Corridor and continues above it up to around 13,000' before trending right thru the bergschrund and continuing to contour to the crater rim. 

The Emmons glacier is coated in a thick blanket of snow for this time of year, and the need to end-run crevasses is minimal. Many may remember the cold and snowy Junes of a decade or more ago.  This season is very similar. 

There are multiple ways of climbing the Emmons currently and the main factor at play in the establishment of the current route is snow stability and avalanche danger. The upper mountain is continuing to receive snow and its being moved around by strong winds. When climbing in the coming weeks keep your winter avalanche assessment hat on and think twice before launching into steep, exposed or unsupported slopes with signs of a recent snow load.

A route to the summit.

View from Camp Schurman

Travel up to Camp Schurman has not been without challenges as well. The trail from White River to Glacier Basin is patchy with snow for the first 1.5 miles.  Recent snow and warming have made for numerous loose wet avalanches above glacier basin and this avalanche cycle has largely run its course in the 5-8000 ft range.. The snow pack is still in a state of settlement and parties without skis or snowshoes for flotation were finding themselves endlessly post-holing up the Inter Glacier. This will hopefully improve in the coming days, but we are a long way from a consolidated summer snowpack.

Wet Loose Avalanche activity above Glacier Basin.