Trip: MRNP - Gib Ledges Trip Date: 02/13/2018 Trip Report:
On Monday afternoon, Taylor and I skied up to Camp Muir under bluebird skies with temps
hovering around freezing and the wind blowing what felt like about 15-20 mph. Upon arriving at
the hut, we were greeted by 2 other guys with the same plan to climb Gib Ledges.
On Tuesday 2/13/2018, Taylor and I left the hut at 2:30am and summited at 10:50am via the
Gib Ledges route. Several of the ledges consisted of less cohesive, larger granule snow. I
assume this is an effect of proximity to rock that cooks the snow from the inside during solar
Aside from the ledges, we encountered consistent styrofoam wind-buffed snow with pockets
of softer wind-transport and firmer sastrugi. The only cracks we came across on the way up
were within the first 100m above Gib Rock and they were less than 1m wide. Most less than
50cm. We assumed we would encounter ice and bulletproof snow so we opted to leave our
skis at Camp Muir. Mistake. Oh well..
Upon reaching the crater rim, we were greeted with consistently stronger wind with intermittent
gusts of what felt like about 40mph. This was my first time going above Camp Muir and
Taylor’s first time to the park, therefore, neither of us knew which ‘mound’ along the rim was
the true summit. We decided that one of two prominent features on the other side of the crater
had to be it so we set off walking (counter-clockwise) around the rim, cutting off sections by
walking through the crater on the supportable surface.
On our walk over, clouds engulfed our destination so we made our way back to the rim to
follow the ridge. Wind was stronger now and the temperature felt significantly colder. Upon
reaching the first ‘mound’ which was just off the rim, we seemed to think the next ‘mound’
further along the rim might be taller so we left our first possible summit and kept walking, now
getting blasted even harder by wind and tiny ice crystals. Upon standing atop the second
potential summit, we decided that one of these two had to be it so basked in our efforts for a
sec and decided to get the f#$k off the top.
We continued along the rim, admiring the awesome power of the wind. As cold as we were, our
psych to be there was higher than the summit. We continued in a counter-clockwise direction
and found where we initially crested. We had a quick laugh at our little circumnav and started
walking back down attempting to follow our tracks as the wind rapidly blew them away.
As we lost elevation, we looked back at our progress and saw that we had just exited one of
the classic lenticular clouds that often hangout atop the mountain. We agreed that we were
stoked to be on our way down, with less wind.
We ran into the other party of two on our way down about 500m from the top of Gib Rock at
about 11:30am. They told us they had left Camp Muir at 6am. They let us know our boot track
was great. They were wondering about weather at the top so we let them know about the wind
and lenticular. We parted ways and looked back every so often as they approached one of
several false-crests of the slog to the top.
We decided not to down climb the ledges route in order to stay out of rock fall from Gib rock.
We opted to take a direct line down the gut of the Ingraham glacier which was filled in and firm
at the top. Our plan was to pop through Cadaver Gap and walk back to Muir and ski back
down to the car.
The bottom few hundred meters of the glacier leading to Cadaver Gap was pretty damn broken
up. Slower-going, careful navigation and down climbing allowed us to safely pick a line to the
Upon reaching the gap, we down climbed the couloir/chute feature. At this point the snow
there was solar effected, soft and really loved to ball up on our crampons making down
climbing the steep snow quite tenuous and slow going. All I could think about was how
awesome the turns would be on skis…
After descending the pitch we walked back to the hut and packed our stuff for our ski decent
back to the car. Obviously we ran into Amar who was just getting to camp muir as we left the
hut. After a brief catch up and chat we skied down the wind-blasted snice/sastrugi to the ice
rink that was Pan Point and down to the soft fun snow below Pan Face all the way to the
Paradise parking lot.
It was an awesome first trip up Tahoma and certainly will not be our last!
Wish we brought skis to the summit... Approach Notes: