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#462262 - 05/31/05 12:18 PM [TR] Mt. Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge (1934 variation) ***
Chriznitch Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 490
TRs: 17 Photos: 286
Loc: Susanville, CA
Climb: Rainier-Ptarmigan Ridge, 1934 variation

Date of Climb: 5/27/2005-5/29/2005

Trip Report:
as the rising sun lit up the route friday morning, Nate and I knew that we'd finally have our chance at the classic Ptarmigan Ridge. Although the temps were hot, the route looked good! This culmination of countless emails, airline ticket commitments, weather checks, and patience was finally going to pay off...
We arrived at Mowich Lake early Friday and took a 3-hour nap. We set off after some brief gear decisions and a bad pep-talk from an armchair mountaineer about how dangerous the route is.
From beautiful Spray Park we began breaking trail--this didn't stop until the summit of Liberty Cap.



You LUCKY DOGS that followed us the next day!

The bivy was awesome:


We camped 100yds away from the standard camp--separated by a knife edge that we weren't interested in after the long approach.
We got a pretty late start at 5:30am on Saturday and hit the route. It was in good shape--nice snow for kicking steps and good support. Little ice was found--only in the shade. We basically had 4 leads of about 600' each--using a running belay until the gear was gone.





We took the 1934 variation which was incredible--traversing west (climbers' right) over the Mowich Face.



The exit gully was crazy. The crux is only a 10' vertical step, but we found this obstacle verglassed and gathering a lot of the spindrift coming off the Liberty Cap Glacier. As you were instantly soaked, climbing these mixed moves was like trying to climb blind while submerged in ice water. Luckily it was only a short step!
After reaching the upper glacier, things turned for the brutal. We broke trail slowly through 6-18" of soft snow. The final 1600' took 3.5 hours and wore us down good. As we arrived at the Liberty Cap summit some thunderheads were forming and clouds blew in. Eventually a white out was upon us. We didn't have the luxury of knowing that the forecast had actually improved. Luckily after a brief scare the winds kept up and blew the clouds away. All of a sudden the skies were clear again. Snapped a quick photo at the summit

and followed the welcome boot track back down the Emmons Glacier to Camp Schurman where we crashed hard. This was the first sign of humans we'd seen since some tracks in Spray Park.



An early start the next morning put us at White River in 3 hours. We cooked breakfast burritos and relaxed.
Great trip--well worth the flight from AZ!
Special thanks to Mel and Bella for being our support team and driving around the mountain


Gear Notes:
4 pickets, ice screws, ice tool, ice axe, couple pieces of rock pro for gully, 60m half-rope, peanuts
there's a fixed pin in the exit gully on the left

Approach Notes:
breaking trail was gnarly in the soft snow

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#462263 - 05/31/05 01:14 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge, 1934 var
robert Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/12/01
Posts: 330
TRs: 3 Photos: 26
Loc: Kenmore, WA
Nice trip. It is great that the weather cooperated given the long approach from Arizona.

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#462264 - 05/31/05 01:40 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge, 1934 var
sweatinoutliquor Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/15/04
Posts: 759
TRs: 4 Photos: 91
Loc: Local Boyz
Nice TR Chris. Dude, it was awesome to be climbing with you again... Thanks again for coming up from AZ for the trip! I hope it was worth it! I am going to get my photos developed so that I can maybe post a few pics with you in them! Your pictures came out great though, eh? I can't wait for our next adventure!
_________________________
When all else fails, play dead

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#462265 - 05/31/05 02:24 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge, 1934 var
Chriznitch Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 490
TRs: 17 Photos: 286
Loc: Susanville, CA
few more pics...

Nate on the approach nearing bivouac:


working the lower portion of ridge with camp and lower Carbon Glacier in background:


Little Tahoma:

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#462266 - 05/31/05 03:28 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge, 1934 var
MCash Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 615
TRs: 4 Photos: 43
Loc: Covington, WA
Sweet photos, nice job.

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#462267 - 05/31/05 03:53 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge, 1934 var
skyclimb Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 867
TRs: 28 Photos: 140
Hell yeah!
Sweet looking photo's and great write up!
Keep up the good work

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#462268 - 05/31/05 07:02 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge, 1934 var
Pandora Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 04/11/04
Posts: 473
TRs: 3 Photos: 175
Loc: 14, 411
Nice job breaking trail. Sure sounds like you guys timed it well and had a lot of fun!

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#462269 - 05/31/05 09:48 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge, 1934 var
OlegV Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 08/14/04
Posts: 591
TRs: 19 Photos: 244
Loc: Potland, OR
Hey Chris and Nate, you guys did hell of a job breaking a trail for us! Made our climb much more relaxed and
safe. The traverse was nicely fixed - even though
the snow there was mostly sliding mash.
Big thank you!

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#462270 - 06/01/05 08:43 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge, 1934 var
jeffh Offline
journeyman

Registered: 02/17/04
Posts: 56
TRs: 1 Photos: 45
Loc: SW Washington
Nicely done!!! Thanks for posting the pics.

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#462271 - 06/14/05 09:24 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge, 1934 var
catbirdseat Offline
Elite Sprayforce Team

Registered: 10/09/02
Posts: 13214
TRs: 46 Photos: 144
Loc: Costa Mesa, CA
Nice work, guys. Great photos, too. They would be easier to view if you resized them to medium.
_________________________
You don't do an encore if you just played Mahler.

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#462272 - 06/21/05 06:09 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge, 1934 var
Chriznitch Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 490
TRs: 17 Photos: 286
Loc: Susanville, CA
here's a couple late photographic entries, courtesy of Mr. Natro's camerawork...

resized for those with special viewing needs

See sweatinoutliquor's gallery for the full size images


pre-climb bozos


Chris on the approach to high camp


leaving the 2nd belay


view of traverse section from below


awesome morning at Schurman, post-climb

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#462273 - 06/21/05 06:42 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge, 1934 var
Kraken Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/20/05
Posts: 721
TRs: 9 Photos: 172
Loc: 49
I just might have to go to Schurman in a few weeks. Damn, thats one hell of a sunrise!
_________________________
"I don't know about you man, but I'm going to get my kicks before this shithouse goes up in flames"

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#462274 - 06/21/05 08:51 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge, 1934 var
OlegV Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 08/14/04
Posts: 591
TRs: 19 Photos: 244
Loc: Potland, OR
more cool pictures!

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#462275 - 06/22/05 10:06 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge, 1934 var
sweatinoutliquor Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/15/04
Posts: 759
TRs: 4 Photos: 91
Loc: Local Boyz
Ha! Thanks for posting those Chris... I tried a few times and just got the link... Oh well!
_________________________
When all else fails, play dead

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#462276 - 06/22/05 11:46 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge, 1934 var
thelawgoddess Offline
professional

Registered: 04/06/01
Posts: 6215
TRs: 2 Photos: 47
Loc: huntsville, al
awesome. great tr and super pics!
_________________________
"life without passion is life without depth."~j.hollis

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#462277 - 06/28/05 04:42 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Rainier- Ptarmigan Ridge (1934 variation)
Rod_Xuereb Offline
n00b

Registered: 07/04/02
Posts: 25
TRs: 1 Photos: 0
Loc: Bellevue
Nice photos. I did that variation several years ago. That gully over Mowich face was the only solid rock I ever found on Rainier. So what if it was half covered with ice.

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