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.