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dave schultz

Rainier in early-July questions ...

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Good Morning PNW,

 

I am planning on a trip to MRNP in early-July (8-15).

 

Questions:

 

How much liquid water access is there, obviously elevation and route dependent, but what is a general experience? Not possible, 100% snow melt; or possible, might get lucky but don't count on it ...

 

Do people have a standard quantity of fuel / person / day for the summer season? I have my winter calculation, and am planning on that, but I was curious if anyone had another number to compare to mine.

 

Two tools (Cobra/Quark/etc) vs single tool and Sum'tec (43cm or 53cm)? Consider routes like Ptarmigan Ridge, Kautz Glacier, Success Cleaver, descending the Tahoma. I realize this can change day to day or even throughout a single day. I am thinking that it would be better to have two tools and need them (but can still use them) than to have one tool and an axe and really be slower because two tools would be better. If two tools are brought, a normal axe would still be brought. Thoughts?

 

Mt. Baker had a pretty unbelievable snow year (I think the biggest since their record), has Rainier seen the same near-record snowfall? Do people gather a sense that in early-July the seasonal snowpack will still be pretty deep (and this affect on the crevasse bridging at the various elevation).

 

Thanks for your help,

 

Dave

 

Edited by dave schultz

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One rarely finds running water at the high camps (we did on Mowich), if you want to save on fuel bring plastic bags and put snow in them. We do that regardless because at some camps you will be bivying on dirt.

 

Ptarmigan Ridge is the only route you list that two tools are needed. But by July the route might not be in shape. Lots of people take a second tool for the Kautz but it will be used for less than 200' of 45 degree climbing (i.e is not needed). Regardless of the route bring ski poles.

 

For the Kautz Glacier or Success Cleaver go up and over and come down the DC. much faster descent. For Ptarmigan. Mowich Lake is probably the best approach these days butting back is a PITA. Most folks slog in from White River. BITD we came and went via the Carbon.

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I agree with SS. I find that for most steep volcano routes, a semi technical piolet (e.g. Petzl Summit Evo) paired with a 50 cm hammer, (Sum'Tec would be golden) is a very useful combo. On Liberty Ridge or NR Baker, Coleman Headwall on Baker, much of the route is not super steep and having a full length axe beats bending over a short tool. For Ptarmigan Ridge, I would bring a pair of tools. There is a lot more steepness than on Liberty Ridge, for example.

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Thanks for the tool and pole recommendations.

 

Still looking for opinions on the snowpack and if anyone has a fuel usage calculation.

 

Thanks,

 

Dave

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Still looking for opinions on the snowpack and if anyone has a fuel usage calculation.

 

 

Yes, there will be a snow pack. It may be higher than normal this year and glaciers may be in better shape than the past few seasons. I suspect that will be the case given the amount of early season snow this year.

 

During the first two weeks of July there will be lot of running water below 8,000 feet. Bring a filter or Chlorine Dioxide tablets. Once on the glaciers, I would not count on running water, but the snow should have a high water content.

 

Fuel consumption is really hard to predict. What kind of stove are you using? The new stove systems (JetBoil, MSR Reactor/Windburner) are more efficient than a non stove system. Are you using a liquid fuel stove, like an MSR XKG, or a canister stove? What kind of pot are you using? Steel, aluminum, or titanium? Is it anodized? What color? Will you be using it in a shelter? Do you use a windscreen? What elevation are you camping at? Are you melting snow to just melted or to boiling? Are you cooking things like pasta or using freeze dried add hot water meals? How much coffee do you drink? What about warm drinks in the evening?

 

I use an MSR Pocket Rocket with a windscreen/heat exchanger I rigged up. I use a black anodized aluminum 1 liter pot. For two people, for a two day climb, I use less than 8oz of fuel, but I fill up all our bottles/bladders with running water before stepping foot on the glacier.

 

I'm also careful with the stove, I don't run it at maximum output, I insulate the bottom of the canister from the cold ground or snow, and in cold weather I put the canister in a shallow dish and dribble warm water over the canister to improve performance.

 

Every trip I take I end up with a partially filled 8oz gas canister. I take another full one and use up the previously used one first. I can sometimes get two, two day trips with two climbers out of an 8oz canister.

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Thanks Dan.

 

All of our estimated overnight stops will be above 8k, with the average around 10k.

 

We'll be using Jetboil 1.8 and 0.8 liter titanium and aluminum pots.

 

My usage in the winter is about 63g/person/night (2.2oz/person/nigh) for sustained day-after-day usage. For a two-day, two-person climb I bring a 4 oz canister of fuel. For 7 days and three people we are planning on the above allowance, and bringing about 1350g of fuel.

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