Thursday, July 28, 2022

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.