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Monty

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About Monty

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  1. Mt Rainier Trip Report (27 April 05) (Disappointment Cleaver Ascent and Ski Descent): Our two-person team planned a Fuhrer Finger ascent and ski descent. Due to avalanche conditions after the April storms we opted for Ingraham Direct instead. Departed Paradise 25 April at approx. 1300. Late start due to low clouds/fog. It was actually clear above Paradise unknown to us until later that afternoon (note: no climbing Rangers available early season). Arrived too late for summit attempt that morning. One other party at Camp Muir attempted Gibraltar Ledges that AM but returned due to avalanche conditions in the chute. Hung out at Muir during the day, letting avalanche conditions settle. Two other teams arrived that evening. Awoke at 0130 on 27 April for our summit bid. The Nisqually Cleaver team had already left and returned due to avalanche conditions. Other Gib. Ledge team decided to follow us later but turned around prior to Cathedral Gap for unknown reasons. We departed Muir across the Cowlitz on skis at 0230 and got to the Ingraham flats at around 0400. Cathedral Gap was snow covered and firm. The moon was out and cast a shadow from Gibraltar rock and made navigation through the Ingraham Glacier in the dark impossible. Rather then waste time until light, we went up the DC that had no crevasse problems and was in the moonlight. Hard snow at the bottom then turned into breakable crust/windblown snow that was difficult to break trail in. Avalanche danger was assessed as acceptable, though with afternoon heating it could become problematic on the steeper slopes. No other parties had been up recently; there were no boot tracks or wands anywhere. We snaked our way around crevasses at the top of the DC and the snow became hard/icy with patches of soft, windblown snow. Topped out at around 1030 at the crater rim. Clouds began moving in at the summit. We had considered skiing the Emmons Glacier which looked great on the way up, and we thought about even going down the Ingraham even though we did not ascend it. But with the clouds threatening a whiteout, we opted to ski our ascent route down. We knew the terrain, had left wands and could go faster there unroped. The first 500’ was in a whiteout then we broke out of the clouds and beat them down to Muir. It took 45 minutes to get back to Muir from the crater rim, stopping for numerous photos. The extra weight of the skis paid off on the descent! From Muir to Paradise the descent was very warm with heavy/wet snow. The route had melted out considerably from two days ago and several rock sections had to be negotiated sans skis. We were still able to ski to the lot at Paradise. Good luck! Monty
  2. Mt Rainier Trip Report (27 April 05) (Disappointment Cleaver Ascent and Ski Descent): Our two-person team planned a Fuhrer Finger ascent and ski descent. Due to avalanche conditions after the April storms we opted for Ingraham Direct instead. Departed Paradise 25 April at approx. 1300. Late start due to low clouds/fog. It was actually clear above Paradise unknown to us until later that afternoon (note: no climbing Rangers available early season). Arrived too late for summit attempt that morning. One other party at Camp Muir attempted Gibraltar Ledges that AM but returned due to avalanche conditions in the chute. Hung out at Muir during the day, letting avalanche conditions settle. Two other teams arrived that evening. Awoke at 0130 on 27 April for our summit bid. The Nisqually Cleaver team had already left and returned due to avalanche conditions. Other Gib. Ledge team decided to follow us later but turned around prior to Cathedral Gap for unknown reasons. We departed Muir across the Cowlitz on skis at 0230 and got to the Ingraham flats at around 0400. Cathedral Gap was snow covered and firm. The moon was out and cast a shadow from Gibraltar rock and made navigation through the Ingraham Glacier in the dark impossible. Rather then waste time until light, we went up the DC that had no crevasse problems and was in the moonlight. Hard snow at the bottom then turned into breakable crust/windblown snow that was difficult to break trail in. Avalanche danger was assessed as acceptable, though with afternoon heating it could become problematic on the steeper slopes. No other parties had been up recently; there were no boot tracks or wands anywhere. We snaked our way around crevasses at the top of the DC and the snow became hard/icy with patches of soft, windblown snow. Topped out at around 1030 at the crater rim. Clouds began moving in at the summit. We had considered skiing the Emmons Glacier which looked great on the way up, and we thought about even going down the Ingraham even though we did not ascend it. But with the clouds threatening a whiteout, we opted to ski our ascent route down. We knew the terrain, had left wands and could go faster there unroped. The first 500’ was in a whiteout then we broke out of the clouds and beat them down to Muir. It took 45 minutes to get back to Muir from the crater rim, stopping for numerous photos. The extra weight of the skis paid off on the descent! From Muir to Paradise the descent was very warm with heavy/wet snow. The route had melted out considerably from two days ago and several rock sections had to be negotiated sans skis. We were still able to ski to the lot at Paradise. Good luck! Monty
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