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#1084408 - 10/03/12 11:17 PM [TR] Mount Rainier - Kautz 9/30/2012
Jacob Smith Offline

Registered: 08/13/12
Posts: 80
TRs: 10 Photos: 2
Loc: Mill Creek, Washington
Trip: Mount Rainier - Kautz

Date: 9/30/2012

Trip Report:
On the afternoon of the 28th of September myself and Ryan Hoover drove down to Paradise to jump-start our Kautz attempt. Leaving the visitor's center around 4:30 we made it to the Wilson glacier by sundown. the Nisqually was not too difficult to maneuver through but the chute up to the Wilson was an unpleasant mix of scree and dirty ice.

Saturday morning we climbed up to a campsite about 200 ft below Camp Hazard, stopping midday for a couple hours of ice climbing practice in a crevasse. When we left to stash some gear at the rappel point our tent was blown nearly off a cliff by the wind and partially torn.

On Sunday we started our summit attempt at 1:30 and made the top of the ice chute by first light. The lower section we simul-climbed, although it included some challenging ice steps, while the chute itself we did in four pitches. The middle two of which were quite pumpy and difficult to find belay stances on. Much of the ice was of quite poor quality and secure pick placements were sporadic, but the slope was moderate enough that the climbing was not technically challenging - just hard on the calves.

Above the chute sun cups and many open crevasses made progress slow and we summited at 11:45 after traversing up and around until we hit the last 100 feet of the DC route.

The descent proved simple at first, but then the trail seemed to disappear in a smooth icy section of what was probably by then the Emmons Glacier. After searching for a way over to the top of the Disappointment Cleaver, which was above us by this point, we gave up and re-ascended about 1500 ft before finding a side-trail that led to an earlier variation on the route, one that involved down climbing a nearly vertical slope on sun cup steps to finally reach the DC itself. From there the route was simple enough and we reached Camp Muir just as it got dark and hiked out to Paradise by head-lamp, arriving at the parking lot a little after 10 pm.

Additional photos can be found here

Gear Notes:
We brought two tools each, 9 ice screws, two pickets, and a light-weight single wall tent. The pickets we used only for the ice-climbing practice on the Wilson. We probably could have gotten away with less ice-screws, but we would have had to spend more time making v-thread anchors.

Approach Notes:
There are some reports of a better way to get to the Wilson, a gully somewhere left of the waterfall, we saw no indication of this but would not repeat our route, as it forms a funnel for much of the debris coming off the upper Nisqually.

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#1084436 - 10/04/12 11:14 AM Re: [TR] Mount Rainier - Kautz 9/30/2012 [Re: Jacob Smith]
PuckerJunkie Offline

Registered: 07/21/11
Posts: 61
TRs: 4 Photos: 25
Loc: Portland, OR
Nice work on figuring that out! A buddy and me were gonna give it a shot this weekend but opted not to since neither of us have been on the DC in either direction.

Last year I attempted the same climb but my partner got sick, right about where you took your 3rd posted pic. Looked almost exactly the same.

There is another fairly wide snow chute (well it was snow last July) to the left of the waterfall when you climb off the Nisqually, you can actually see it in the contours on Google terrain.

So after the Wilson, was it just a rockfest or is there any snow left to walk on before the ice?
Sanders 2016!

#1084463 - 10/04/12 12:56 PM Re: [TR] Mount Rainier - Kautz 9/30/2012 [Re: PuckerJunkie]
Jacob Smith Offline

Registered: 08/13/12
Posts: 80
TRs: 10 Photos: 2
Loc: Mill Creek, Washington
There was a band of scree between the Wilson and the Turtle, and then pretty much just rock until the Kautz.

#1084654 - 10/05/12 04:22 PM Re: [TR] Mount Rainier - Kautz 9/30/2012 [Re: Jacob Smith]
Woodcutter Offline

Registered: 10/08/10
Posts: 207
TRs: 3 Photos: 79
Were the ladders still in place on the DC, or did you manage to descend after they were removed?

#1084658 - 10/05/12 05:13 PM Re: [TR] Mount Rainier - Kautz 9/30/2012 [Re: Jacob Smith]
B Deleted_Beck Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/03/11
Posts: 790
TRs: 8 Photos: 175
Good job.. super jelly- I tried this route about a month ago, and the trip fell apart on me.

Did you see nothing break off the upper Kautz? I watched a pretty good size piece come off, when I was up there. I'm surprised it's still climbable, if sub-optimally

Edited by Ben B. (10/05/12 05:19 PM)

#1084711 - 10/06/12 10:18 PM Re: [TR] Mount Rainier - Kautz 9/30/2012 [Re: Woodcutter]
Jacob Smith Offline

Registered: 08/13/12
Posts: 80
TRs: 10 Photos: 2
Loc: Mill Creek, Washington
The ladders and fixed lines were removed earlier that day by an IMG group, which we did not find out until we checked the mount rainier climbing blog when we got home.

Edited by Jacob Smith (10/06/12 10:18 PM)

#1084712 - 10/06/12 10:20 PM Re: [TR] Mount Rainier - Kautz 9/30/2012 [Re: B Deleted_Beck]
Jacob Smith Offline

Registered: 08/13/12
Posts: 80
TRs: 10 Photos: 2
Loc: Mill Creek, Washington
We heard quite a bit of icefall from the headwalls on either side of the ice chute, but the route itself is fairly safe. climbable is a relative term.


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