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jstluise

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Everything posted by jstluise

  1. Arc'teryx Bora 80 backpack, size Regular (18-21" torso), 77 Liters. Excellent condition! I bought this pack shortly after getting into mountaineering, around 2009. I only used it on a few trips over a couple years before I realized it was just too large for my needs. I've held onto it because it's an awesome pack, but I haven't used it in years so I think it's time clear some space in the gear closet. $300 OBO Located near Seattle.
  2. Trip: Mt. Rainier - Tahoma Glacier Trip Date: 07/03/2020 Trip Report: The Tahoma Glacier piqued my interest the last couple seasons as I explored new routes for my next Mt. Rainier climb. The low starting elevation, long approach, and remoteness of the route was especially appealing to me. Covering that distance and elevation on a route that receives very little traffic would be a fun challenge and great test of mountaineering skills. I was also excited to experience the mountain up close from a different perspective since I had only been on the west side of the mountain once before during a Wonderland Trail hike. However, with the park shutdown due to COVID-19 we were uncertain if we would get a shot at the Tahoma Glacier before it was too late in the season. We planned the climb for the weekend of June 19th and were excited when MRNP announced they would reopen that very weekend. Unfortunately, as the date approached the weather was not looking too promising. Reluctantly, we postponed the climb to the 4th of July weekend when we both had time off work. This time the weather forecast was looking stellar: clear, light winds, and cold (~11000' freezing level). And we would have a full moon. Game on! Our plan, which we later learned would be a bit ambitious, was to reach high camp (~9600') on day 1 (Friday), summit Saturday morning, and either exit the same day or stay one more night and hike out Sunday morning. For the approach, we decided on the more direct Emerald Ridge/Tahoma Glacier approach over the St. Andrews Park/Puyallup Cleaver approach. We knew we were getting into the tail end of the season for the route, but with our good snowpack this year we were optimistic that we could navigate the lower Tahoma without too much trouble. Also, there seemed to be an option to bail to the Puyallup Cleaver shortly after gaining the Tahoma Glacier if we found the glacier to be too broken up. The two of us set off from the West Side Road parking lot (2850') at 10:30a with cool temps and a partly cloudy sky. After a short hike on the road we arrived at the beginning of the Tahoma Creek Trail, marked by a drum for disposing of blue bags and a "trail closed" sign not far off the road. The Tahoma Creek Trail follows the Tahoma Creek until it joins with the Wonderland Trail at the impressive suspension bridge across the creek at 4200'. From there, you continue on the Wonderland Trail to the top of Emerald Ridge where you can gain the lower Tahoma Glacier. We followed the Tahoma Creek trail and other tracks the best we could, but with parts of the trail washed out we eventually lost it and ended up hiking along the edge of the floodplain. We kept our eyes peeled and in time we saw some cairns and orange marking tape at around 3500' which led us back to the proper trail. From then on, the trail remained intact and joined up with the Wonderland Trail where we continued on to the top of Emerald Ridge, passing by the occasional Wonderlander. Consistent snow began around 5200' which is where we stashed our trail runners and booted up. Tahoma Creek Floodplain: We parted ways with the Wonderland Trail at 5600' and made the short scramble to the top of Emerald Ridge and the toe of the Tahoma Glacier (6000'). Here we took a break and donned our glacier gear while taking in the views of Glacier Island and the true size and length of the Tahoma Glacier. Getting onto the glacier was straightforward and the cracks were small and manageable all the way up to a flatter area of the glacier at 7200'. Top of Emerald Ridge, looking back at the Wonderland Trail: Toe of Tahoma Glacier, Glacier Island on the right: At 7200' we stopped to assess our progress. It was already 6:00p (7.5 hours from the car) and we still had a good amount of glacier to cover to get to high camp. We were also low on water so we would need to melt some snow to replenish our bottles before continuing. At our pace, it didn't seem feasible to reach high camp that night at a reasonable hour and be ready to summit the following morning. We discussed our options and ultimately decided to establish a low camp at 7200' for the night, move up to high camp the next day, and summit on Sunday morning instead. We were due back home Sunday night, so that would leave us with a long hike out after summiting Sunday morning, but this plan would give us the best chance for success and make the trip much more enjoyable. Luckily the weather for Sunday was supposed to be just as good as Saturday. We set up camp and called it a day. Lower Tahoma Glacier: View from Camp 1, looking toward Tokaloo Spire: Sunset from Camp 1: On Saturday we woke up to clear skies and a great view of the upper mountain that was covered in clouds the day before. We took our time getting going and scoped out a route up the lower glacier. It was definitely more crevassed than what we had already traveled and the best looking route was in the direction of the Puyallup Cleaver and the looker's left side of the glacier. We broke camp and set off around 10:30a. Morning view from Camp 1, looking toward the summit: On the way up to Camp 2: The crevasses we encountered on the way up to high camp were growing in size but were still easy to cross with a short hop or snow bridges. Nothing too sketchy even with the sun beating down and snow quickly softening up. Our route did meander a bit as we searched for the most efficient way up the glacier, so it did take longer than expected. We reached 9400' at 2:00pm where we thought about setting up camp. This is where we would have joined the Tahoma Glacier had we taken the St. Andrews Park/Puyallup Cleaver approach; however, the ramp to get off of the Puyallup Cleaver did not look to be in the best shape. There was likely a path off the ramp onto the glacier, but we were glad we chose the approach that we did. Ramp at 9600': After a long break we pushed on a bit further through ankle and shin deep slush up to 10400' where we found a good spot for a high camp. I had read about other parties camping at this location as well. It was 4:30p at this point, 6 hours after leaving camp 1. From here we finally got a really good view of the upper glacier and the potential routes. Earlier in the day we saw that the looker's right side of the glacier may be a good option, but now we could see right up the center of the glacier and the Sickle variation. The Sickle looked to be in good shape with not a lot of evidence of icefall, but the seracs at the top of the route were intimidating. We decided against the Sickle and to attempt one of the other routes. We would make that decision in the morning under the full moon light once we gained some more elevation. We set up camp, ate, melted snow, and tried to get to sleep as the sun was setting. I fell asleep to the very faint sounds of 4th of July fireworks way off in the distance. Upper Tahoma Glacier: Camp 2: Sunset Amphitheater: Tahoma Glacier: The next morning we set off at 2:00a under a very bright full moon that lit up the mountain. It was right around freezing with no wind and the snow had firmed up nicely. We were excited to start the journey up the main route, but less than 30 minutes out of camp we thought the trip was over. We found ourselves on an island of ice with a pretty sporty jump to continue on. We contemplated it for a while but just didn't want to risk it, especially on the descent when the snow would soften up. Damn! That jump seemed like the only way, but we backtracked some and skirted around where we got stuck and luckily found a crossing! Phew! We wondered if this was going to be the theme of the entire ascent. We continued on and at this point chose to continue right up the center of the glacier rather than traversing over to the far right side option we saw. Full moon: Contemplating the jump.: The snow conditions were great and took crampons very well which made for very efficient stepping. We took the path of least resistance and just crossed our fingers it would go. There had to be at least half a dozen times when we thought our luck ran out, but a lone and thinning snow bridge (which probably wouldn't last another week) was there to let us continue on. Besides the first obstacle we encountered we didn't have to do much backtracking, but we did have to snake our way around the crevasses to find acceptable crossings. We each carried a traditional axe and had a few screws and two pickets between us. We contemplated bringing a tool, but from all the beta we could gather a tool wasn't really necessary on this route. Turns out that was the right call. We did encounter a couple short sections of solid ice compared to the rest of the route which was a nice sun crust. Front pointing and a low dagger axe took care of the ice sections, but we did protect them with a screw and picket while simul climbing. Short ice section: Soon we found ourselves at the top of the glacier where the slope begins to ease up at around 13000'. With the main part of the climb behind us it was just a slog up to the summit! We ascended directly up the west side onto the summit plateau and reached on Columbia Crest at 8:30a, 6.5 hours after leaving camp. Sunrise: Liberty Cap: Summit Crater: Summit Headstand! After getting some pictures on the summit and saying hello to a party of 4 that came up the Kautz, we dropped off the summit for a break and then took off back down the mountain at 9:15a. Being western facing, the Tahoma Glacier doesn't get sun right away in the morning which is good since we wanted to be down off the bulk of the upper glacier before it started to warm up. The descent went well and we followed our tracks down. We did downclimb one of the ice sections with some protection, but other than that we moved fairly quick down the glacier. We returned to camp at 12:15p, 3 hours after leaving the summit. Tahoma Glacier, Puyallup Cleaver, St. Andrews Rock: Tahoma Glacier: Tahoma Glacier: It would have been nice to take it easy and stay another night, but we still had a long road ahead to get back to the car that day. We made some water and packed up camp, then took off down the glacier at 2:00p following our tracks from the day before. The hike out was uneventful and we covered the 9 miles and 7500' back to the car in 5.5 hours, descending a total of 11500' for the day. Success! What a climb! We both felt really proud to do this route. It was a true test of our endurance and mountaineering skills, especially with navigating the very crevassed glacier. Oh, and we had the entire glacier to ourselves...we didn't see a single person between leaving the Wonderland Trail and the Summit. Being on our own without any tracks to follow made the trip even better. Day 1, Car to Camp 1, 6.7 miles, +4400', 7.0 hrs Day 2, Camp 1 to Camp 2, 2.5 miles, +3200', 6.0 hrs Day 3, Camp 2 to Summit, 2.8 miles, +4000', 6.5 hrs Day 3, Summit to Camp 2, 2.8 miles, -4000', 3.0 hrs Day 3, Camp 2 to Car, 9.0 miles, -7500', 5.5 hrs Total Mileage = 23.8 miles Total Elevation Gain/Loss = 11500' GPX track can be found here: https://caltopo.com/m/7M3P Gear Notes: Light glacier rack, a couple screws. Used screw and picket on icy section. No need for a 2nd tool. Approach Notes: Approached via Emerald Ridge/Tahoma Glacier.
  3. Helmet found and returned!
  4. I made a trip up to Steamboat Prow today and unfortunately, during my transition at the top, a gust of wind sent my helmet flying down the slopes of the Inter Glacier into the basin. I thought I might find it on my way down, but no luck! If you find a helmet let me know!
  5. Sauk River Road Access?

    Just did a quick look around and there is a trip report from a couple days ago that says the road is passable: https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/trip-reports/trip_report-2020-05-27-0675102672 Out of curiosity, can you point me to the webpage where it says the road is closed? I wasn't able to find anything. We were planning to climb Glacier Peak last weekend but we postponed because of the weather. I wasn't aware of the possible closure, that would have been a surprise!
  6. I'm looking for a new boot to bridge the gap between my Lowa Mountain Expert mountaineering boot and my Asolo Powermatic 200 backpacking boots. I've had the Lowas for 10+ years and only use them a few times a year. They're nice but overkill most of the time for when and what I climb. Everything else I've managed to get away with using the Asolos. With something in between I could wear them for pretty much everything I do. At first I tried out the Trango Tower Extremes, Trango Tower, and Scarpa Charmoz. Extremes were more than I need. Charmoz were nice, but the Towers felt the best. Was ready to settle on those, but decided to try the Trango Cube as well. The Tower and Cube feel very similar, which was kind of expected because the outsole/midsole are similar. The Towers do have slightly more room (height) in the toe box. The difference is in the uppers, with the Cube having the unique seamless upper with rubberized exoskeleton. Pretty neat. The Cube also has the adjustable tongue which I guess is cool, but I didn't notice too much difference in playing with it. I've read a couple accounts of the eyelets pulling out of the exoskeletons, but other than that a majority of the complaints for both boots come down to wear of the outsole and rand. So it seems both boots are also pretty similar in terms of longevity. I'm still leaning towards the Towers because of the slightly larger toe box, but just wondering if anyone else has experience with either of these boots that could sway me one way or the other. Same sole stiffness. There's only a 1/2 oz difference in weight between the two pairs. The Cubes have a slightly higher price tag. Thanks! -------- Oh, and if someone runs across this looking for sizing info, I can confirm the Cubes run small like all the reviews say. The Towers are true to size for me. I bought the Towers in 43.5 and 44, and Cubes in 44 and 44.5. In terms of size comparison, Tower 43.5 = Cube 44, and Tower 44 = Cube 44.5. The outsole/insole lengths match up exactly for those sizes. Not sure why La Sportiva did this...maybe so they can say a 44 Cube is lighter than a 44 Tower, which is true, but when you compare models of the same length they are nearly the same weight.
  7. Welp! I had a change of heart! I switch to the Cubes and that's gonna be my final decision. After my test of the Towers, I continued to wear them both around the house and the Cubes grew on me. They seem to fit my foot/ankle better without any pressure points across the top of my foot and most importantly lock my heel down better without really cranking on the laces. I think a lot of it has to do with the Cube's upper being more flexible out of the box, and I suspect the Towers will fit similarly after some break-in. But, because the Cube's feel good now I'll play it safe and go with them. I took them out on the trail yesterday and they felt really good, no heel lift at all. My one minor gripe with both shoes is the "climbing zone" toe when hiking on a damp trail. The toes are slippery! Just something to get used to and be aware of I guess depending on the trail, so overall not a big deal. I'm sure the toe is great on rock!
  8. Really interested in skiing Fuhrer Finger this year if anyone else wants to plan something or already has plans and is open to adding another person. Happy to just climb to the top of the Finger or Wapowety Cleaver and ski from there, but totally game for making a run at the summit and skiing off the top! Background: multiple Rainier summits (several DC, a couple Emmons, Gib Ledges, Kautz) along with plenty of other similar climbs. Strong skier. Avy 1 and WFA. Let me know!
  9. Leukotape is awesome! I was introduced to it a few years ago and quickly added some to my first aid kit. I've been fortunate over the years to not have many blister/hot spot problems but I'm glad I had the Leukotape last year when we climbed Jefferson. I wore my mountaineering boots on the long approach and due to my laziness of not stopping to tighten/readjust the boots, I ended up with some hot heels by the time we got to camp. Threw on some Leukotape and my heels were happy all the next day. First time I used the stuff and was definitely impressed with how well it stuck and stayed in place.
  10. After much deliberation and wearing the boots around the house, I decided to go with the Towers. I took them out for a few miles on a nearby trail and they felt okay. I did get some heel rub, but I kind of expected that with new stiff boots on mostly flat trail. They did feel a bit looser across my foot than what I'm used to, but it wasn't like they were sloppy. Still, this likely contributed to the heel rub. In my OP I mentioned the toe box size. I realize now that I should have been talking more about the midfoot. While the Towers might have a touch more room in the toe compared to the Cube, a lot of the difference I was feeling was across the midfoot. After the hike I played with the lacing and I was able to get them feeling better across the midfoot, similar to the Cubes. The area around the tongue on the Towers are just a bit stiffer because of the traditional tongue, so it takes a little more effort to snug them down. Easier to do on the Cubes with the different tongue. So I'm hoping with a little break-in the Towers will get better across midfoot. Not sure what the point of this post was. Maybe just to say that shopping for new boots is the worst!
  11. Interesting! Are we talking during each trip or over the life of the boot? With my Lowas the toe box is always a bit snug at the start of each trip but loosen up as the day goes on. Rinse and repeat for the next day or trip. But they're leather.
  12. Thanks for the input. I agree they both seem like great options for climbing around the PNW. Looking forward to using one of these on long approaches...I've done way too many trail miles in my Lowas I suppose the Cubes may have have better durability in the upper with protection from the exoskeleton, but there still is some exposed mesh like on the Towers. This will be my first synthetic boot so I'm interested to see how they hold up. The best part is I'll be saving 19 oz. over my Lowas and 8 oz. over my Asolos! As far as the rocker goes, I'd say they are pretty much identical. I wore one of each at the same time around the house and didn't notice a difference besides the slight volume difference in the toe box I mentioned before.
  13. These came off my 2010ish Dynafit Manaslu skis. Thought I would throw them up here in case someone is looking...I'm not sure if they were used on any other Dynafit skis. The plastic bits are trashed (one is okay, partly broken but still has screw holes intact) but the metal pieces are good which someone might be needing. Just send me a few bucks for shipping and they're yours.
  14. I've found the historical snowpack data to be useful when planning trips, particularly spring ski tours when there is a question of road/trail access and if a route is in or not. After reading a trip report I'll just compare that year's snowpack data to the current year. If anyone else runs across this thread the snowpack data can be found here: https://climate.washington.edu/snowdepth/
  15. It was an awesome climb and I'm surprised too that it isn't busier. Definitely one that I would do again. I'm curious how the permitting system work when it is implemented next year... @ScaredSilly, that is interesting. I took a look at the snowpack data for Mt. Hood (closest station to Jeff) and it may explain things a little bit. This year the snowpack was average or slightly above earlier in the year then tapered off in the spring. The year you climbed it, 2014, the snowpack was well below average early in the year but then picked up quite a bit in the spring, which may explain the wide open shrund (lack of winter snowfall) and more snow on the summit ridge (more spring snow).
  16. We were considering tackling Jeff Park Glacier this coming weekend, but it is looking like it will be pretty warm (freezing level shooting up to around 13k). That may steer us away to another objective, but I'm looking for advice from others that have been up on the route around this time of year. I anticipate the rockfall to be quite active while trying to cross the shrunds, and the north ridge to be sloppy. Thoughts? Thanks!
  17. Warm conditions on Jefferson...go or no-go?

    Thanks for the info. We thought we were going to forego Jefferson and head up to Glacier Peak instead, but it's looking like some weather is moving into the Glacier Peak area this weekend and the forecast for Jefferson has slightly improved. So we're going to give Jeff a shot. Good to know about the Russell, and being able to traverse over to Jeff Park Glacier. Wasn't sure about that and didn't want to camp too high. Seems like if you camp around 6800' you should be able to get back pretty easily...higher up at around 7400' I'm not sure. Was planning on the Whitewater, but we'll scope it out when we're up there, the descent down Mill Creek Glacier and getting over to the Russell does look steep which could be interesting in the slop.
  18. Warm conditions on Jefferson...go or no-go?

    Thanks for the responses. Unfortunately it is looking like the forecasted overnight temps for the summit may not even get into the 30s on Saturday morning, so yeah...sloppy. Sounds like it may be doable, but we may bail and save it for another time. The next couple days would probably be much better with freezing levels at 10k. Quick question on the route, specifically getting off the summit and onto the Whitewater - I've read accounts of rapping off the summit (Which direction? South to Red Saddle?) as well as retracing the route to the base of the summit pyramid and then doing the steep traverse along the west side to Red Saddle. And also rapping off the east side from the base (north side) of the summit pyramid? Seems like there are a few options to get onto the Whitewater...just curious what the preferred way is. Thanks again!
  19. For sale: Icebreaker 100% merino wool base layer system. Men's size Large, black in color. Top: 200 Weight Oasis Long Sleeve Crew Bottom: 200 Weight Oasis Leggings (full length, no fly) New in box, never used. Retails for $180+. $150 OBO, local pickup in Seattle area or I am willing to ship.
  20. New in box, never worn, Men's Icebreaker Oasis 200 merino wool base layer. Size: Large, Color: Black, Top: Long Sleeve Crew, Bottom: Full Length Leggings (no fly) $120 firm for local pickup around Seattle/Bellevue area. Add shipping costs if you would like me to ship.
  21. Colder weather is approaching, so I figured this would be a good time for a bump. $100 firm for local pickup, or $100 + shipping if you want me to ship it.
  22. New with tags! Eddie Bauer First Ascent Men's Downlight Stormdown Jacket, size Tall Medium (extra inch or so in sleeves/torso). Color Navy/Navy. 800 fill down insulation. I bought this a few years ago but it never made it in to my regular rotation of jackets. $140 shipped, or if you want to meet locally (Seattle/Bellevue) we can agree on a lower price. PRICE REDUCED! $100 firm for local pickup (Seattle/Bellevue) or add shipping if you want me to send it.
  23. Brand new! Too much tent for me, so I am looking to get something smaller. http://www.rei.com/product/750077 $150 ($250+ Value) Item is located near UW, Seattle
  24. Trip: Colchuck Peak & Dragontail Peak - North Buttress Trip Date: 08/11/2018 Trip Report: After thru-hiking the Enchantments a couple years ago, it has been on my list to get back in the area and tackle some of the surrounding peaks. I'm not sure why it took so long! Just looking for a scramble, we decided to do the North Buttress route on Colchuck Peak and then hit Dragontail on our way to Aasgard Pass and back down to Colchuck Lake. From a bit of reading it seemed that staying on the west side of the ridge would make for some class 3/4 scrambling, while staying on top of the ridge would give some low 5th class climbing. We had some awesome weather, great views, and fun climbing. We arrived at the trailhead Friday night and after a quick bivy we were on the trail shortly after 4:30am the next morning. We cruised up to Colchuck Lake in a couple hours and arrived at the southwest corner of the lake where the approach toward the Buttress begins. It was light out by then and we were pleasantly surprised to see clear blue skies. It was quite hazy the day before due to the wildfires but the incoming weather system must have pushed the smoke out. We stopped at the lake edge to filter some water and then off we went up the talus field toward the notch/col on the route. The scramble up to the notch was straightforward, basically just hugging the right side of the lower talus field and before crossing over some of the vegetation to the upper slope which contained more scree. From there we just made our way straight up the gully to the notch. It took about 45 minutes to ascent the 1,100' to the notch (6,800') where we could finally get a good view of the route, as well as views off to the west where Sherpa Peak and Mount Stuart sit. View of Colchuck Peak and the North Buttress. From the notch we could see a couple options. There was what looked like an easy traverse but it seemed a bit far off the ridge. This may be a way to the Northwest Route but we decided to stay as high as possible on the ridge which turned out just fine. The first couple hundred feet of scrambling was a bit slow. There was definitely come class 4 mixed in and at points we were directly on the crest so we had nice views of Colchuck Lake, Colchuck Glacier, and Dragontail Peak. A little exposed. Eventually this beginning section was over and we started to really gain some elevation. At this point the route turned into an easy class 3 scramble where we followed goat trails most of the time. At points where the trails began to traverse more and deviate off the ridge, we abandoned the trail and went up where more fun and interesting climbing was. A bit of exposure in spots but the holds were easy and plentiful. One great part about this route is that you're in the shade the entire time! The weather definitely cooled down from the day before, but not being in the direct sun was sure nice. It was clear during the climb up to Colchuck with some clouds off in the distance past Mount Stuart. We also got to see a helicopter circling Mount Stuart multiple times. It sounds like a hiker broke their leg, according to the Seattle Times. The rest of the route up until just below the summit was easy going and fun. About 200' below the summit we ended up heading directly up the south side which probably had the most exposure so far in the climb, but we felt comfortable on the rock. There may have been a way around the west side of the summit at this point but we didn't investigate because the route we took looked doable. After that section of climbing we hit the summit! It was 10:30am, a little over 3 hours since leaving the lake. We were moving at a comfortable 1000' an hour. Colchuck Lake, Colchuck Glacier, and Dragontail Peak from the summit of Colchuck Peak. After a quick break we were on our way down to the col between Colchuck and Dragontail, then on our way back up toward Dragontail. Easy scrambling up the gully before we gained the ridge and traversed over to the summit just as a party of 3 was on their way down. At this point we were getting some light cloud cover which gave us some shade. We were on the summit by 12:30pm. Looking down Colchuck Glacier. Argonaut Peak, Sherpa, and Stuart. Colchuck Glacier seen from the ascent up Dragontail. Summit of Dragontail Peak. Looking toward the upper Enchantments. Pano at the top of Dragontail. We had some lunch on the summit and then off we went down and towards Aasgard pass. At this point I realized I forgot about the snow traverse. Luckily the snow was soft and there was already somewhat of a boot pack so getting down wasn't too bad. And we were glad we decided to bring trekking poles as they helped some too. If the snow was harder I think an ice axe would have been nice to have. Looking back at the snow traverse. We made our way down Aasgard pass and back to the lake. A quick break for some water at the lake and we were back on the now very busy Colchuck Lake trail. We arrived at the car at 5:00pm, just shy of 12.5 hours. Here are some stats: Splits (excluding breaks at lake and summits): -Car to Colchuck Lk. - 2:00 -Colchuck Lk. to Colchuck Peak - 3:15 -Colchuck Peak to Dragontail Peak - 1:30 -Dragontail Peak to Colchuck Lk. - 1:40 -Colchuck Lk. to Car - 2:00 Car-to-Car Total Time: 12.5 hours Mileage: ~13.3 miles Elevation Gain: 6'800' Bluetooth Speakers on the Trail: 5 Here is our route and the approach to the North Buttress from Colchuck Lake: GPS Track. North Buttress Approach (track drawn on ridge is not exact). We had a great time on this route! Fun scrambling with options for more exposed terrain. And you can't beat the views! I'd recommend this route to anyone that is looking to get off the beaten path and would prefer a scramble over one of the true rock climbing routes in the area. Gear Notes: Helmets. Trekking poles were useful for snow traverse and descending Aasgard. Approach Notes: Obvious trail that splits off (right) the main trail at SW corner of Colchuck Lake. Follow talus field up and to the climber's right, which leads to a gully below the notch.
  25. Trip: Mt. Rainier - Kautz Glacier Trip Date: 07/13/2018 Trip Report: I met up with two fellow CC'ers at Paradise on Friday morning for an attempt at the Kautz. It was going to be a busy weekend on the mountain which was evident by the line of climbers waiting for the guide house to open at 7am, but we would soon discover that we would have the route all to ourselves. After getting our permit we were back at the cars to gather gear and discuss whether or not we wanted to descend the Kautz or carryover and descend the DC. We eventually agreed on the carryover, and given the excellent weather forecast we left the tent at the car with plans of an open bivy either at High Castle or just below the rock step. We took the essentials and had our packs down around 35 lbs which was a nice change of pace. By 9:15am we were on the trail and heading towards Glacier Vista where we then dropped down onto the lower Nisqually. The Fan is melting out and showed plenty of signs of rock fall so we aimed for the Wilson gully which looked to be in much better shape. We roped up and it was an easy trek across the Niqually and up the gully. There were some cracks starting to open up in the gully but nothing major. From there it was a straight shot to the ridge where we then ascended to just below the Turtle snowfield (9400') where we found plenty of running water. It was around 3pm by this time so we took a good break to replenish our water, have a snack, and enjoy the views. We all felt good so we continued on up to Hazard. By 5:30pm, just over 8 hours from the parking lot, we arrived at 11,100' just below the rock step with a handful of bivy sites to choose from. There was a fair bit of wind but unfortunately none of the bivy sites offered much protection. We did find running water here as well (though it slowed to a trickle by morning). After taking a quick look at the ice chute we settled in for the evening. By this time we had not seen any other parties on the route and we were all alone at Hazard. We did find out after the climb that another party did start out later than us and was bivying at the Castle. I think I managed to get a few hours of sleep with the wind beating down on us all night. I've definitely slept better. We got a bit of a late start, but by 4:30a we were on the move and we were at the base of the ice chute at 5:15a with some good light on the route. We used our rope to rappel off the rock step. The anchor looked to be in good shape, but the fixed line has seen better days. The first ice step was full of penitentes which made for easy solo climbing. We each had an axe and a tool, though the tool wasn't really necessary on the first step. We continued above the first step on the lower angle snow towards the second ice step which looked to only have a short section of alpine ice toward the top. As the steepness began to increase we were still on dense sun cupped snow which made for fun climbing with a tool. This was my first time on steep terrain with a tool so it was a good introduction. I continued up to where the ice began and waited for my more experienced partners to solo the ice. I almost followed but with it being my first time on steep alpine ice had them build a quick anchor and belay me up through the short section of ice. With the ice chute out of the way we continued upwards toward the top of Wapowtey Cleaver, easily navigating the crevasses. We didn't quite touch Wapowtey Cleaver before turning NW toward the saddle between Point Success and the summit. By 10:30a we were on the summit! It was a bit breezy so we snapped some pictures and then retreated into the crater for a break at register rock. We were all alone on the summit as well which we expected since the DC climbers were probably on the summit closer to sunrise. At 11:45pm we started down the hot and slushy DC route. We made good time and got see the impressive icefall that happened earlier in the week. We hustled through this section and arrived at Muir just after 3pm. After a good break to grab a snack and pack some gear, we slogged down the Muir snowfield and were back to the cars by 5:30p. This route was new to all of us and we had a blast! Being away from the crowds and in a new area of the mountain was really great. And I think this was a perfect route for me to experience steeper, more technical terrain. I'm looking forward to getting on more steep ice in the future. Thanks Kevin and Phil for a awesome climb! Paradise to Hazard: 8 hrs Hazard to Summit: 6 hrs Summit to Muir: 4.5 hrs Muir to Paradise: 2.5 hrs Total Mileage: 14.1 miles according to the GPS Photos and GPS track courtesy of Kevin Wilson Gully: Ice Chute: Sunset: Approaching first step: In the first step: Approaching second step: Looking down the chute: Belay: Above the chute/Wapowety Cleaver: Summit headstand: Icefall from above: Icefall from below/Ingraham Flats: GPS Track: Gear Notes: Standard glacier rack. Ice axe + tool. 6 screws. Approach Notes: Wilson Gully. Running water at Upper Castle and at Hazard if it is warm enough.
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