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mzamp

DC Route Questions

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I attempted the Kautz route about 6 years ago, only to get turned back from white-out/blizzard conditions at about 13,800 feet. This time I am planning the overly crowded DC route to help improve my chances of finally gaining the summit.

- I know there are always trade-offs but what is the thought of not carrying avi gear (beacon/shovel/probe) assuming we won't climb unless conditions are favorable?

- Wands, do we need them? Isn't the route well marked by the guiding companies?

- 2 or 3 days? Do most descend all the way to Paradise on summit day or stay in camp for another night? I was planning day 1 to Muir, day 2 Summit with the option of day 3 summit based on weather. So we would have enough food and fuel to spend up to 3 nights on the mountain.

- Any other advice or hints to increase our chances of success?

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

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what is the thought of not carrying avi gear (beacon/shovel/probe)?

 

Don't need them, don't take them. Any avalanche that occurs will likely kill you. The most dangerous places for avalanches are on the Ingraham Glacer, below the seracs. Don't stop there. The Cleaver itself has seen fatalities when a wet snow avalanche sweeps the team over the nose of the cleaver. Be off the glacier before it gets hot enough to cause wet snow avalanches.

 

- Wands, do we need them? Isn't the route well marked by the guiding companies?

 

Don't need them, don't take them. The route is well marked.

 

- 2 or 3 days? Do most descend all the way to Paradise on summit day or stay in camp for another night?

 

Most active climbers take 1 or 2 days to do the DC, and descend from the summit to the parking lot on the same day. I think it is very rare for a climber to intentionally spend an extra night at Muir after summiting. After climbing most folks want burgers and beer, a shower, and clean, dry clothes.

 

If you have 3 days to kill, you would be better off making the approach on day 1, spending day 2 drinking water, relaxing, and acclimatizing at Camp Muir, perhaps making a short day trip to the base of the Cleaver, and then summiting and descending on day 3.

 

I was planning day 1 to Muir, day 2 Summit with the option of day 3 summit based on weather. So we would have enough food and fuel to spend up to 3 nights on the mountain.

 

I always plan to have enough food to spend an unexpected extra day out, and fuel for two additional days.

 

- Any other advice or hints to increase our chances of success?

 

you may find some relevant information in this article:

http://www.summitpost.org/so-you-want-to-climb-mt-rainier/507227

 

FWIW, I've climbed the DC and Gib Ledges routes a half dozen times and shared the route with only one or two other small climbing parties. It depends upon the time of year. If you are concerned about over crowding, go mid week.

 

 

Edited by DPS

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Ditto what DPS said. If you have three days, consider moving camp from Muir to Ingraham Flats on day two. With a three day window you also have some flexibility. If day three forecast looks bad but day two is good, push for the summit on day two.

 

And don't downplay the DC, I've always found it an engaging route. You get to see several different aspects of the mountain and I enjoy the enthusiasm and anxious energy of all the climbers at Camp Muir. It may not be a wilderness experience but enjoy it for what it is.

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Thanks for the responses. Confirmed my suspicions.

 

New Questions:

- Would skipping Muir and camping at Ingraham flats make for a slightly easier summit day? Or is it not worth carrying the heavier pack up higher?

 

- No avi gear, but I assume still bring a team shovel for making camp/building wind blocks?

 

Thanks again.

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I've done it several times both ways. I like leaving from IF better. The biggest drawback to me is the hike out. You get down from the summit to camp and rest/relax for a bit, then have to rope up again to get down to Muir. If you're leaving from Muir, when you get down from the summit to camp you can pack everything away and relax a bit more. There's no wrong answer here, both options work fine.

 

Yes, still bring a single group shovel to smooth out a tent platform.

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I agree with what they said. A night at Muir and moving up to IF the next day was the most enjoyable Rainier climb I have done. It shaves 1000 ft and at least an hour off the summit bid, which you can use to either sleep in a bit or get ahead of the crowds.

 

It's never a bad thing to bring a shovel, but I have done it without having one and without much issue found a vacant tent platform on a busy summer weekend. no guarantees you can find a vacant one though.

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Mzamp, don't underestimate the effects an extra 1,000' of elevation may have on you trying to push onto IF for your day 1 camp. As well, there's real value to starting your summit day off right with a crap in one of the DC outhouses rather than shitting on the snow at IF and managing the blue bag.

Edited by Bigtree

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Mzamp, don't underestimate the effects an extra 1,000' of elevation may have on you trying to push onto IF for your day 1 camp.

 

When I climbed the Casaval Ridge on Shasta, my partner and I originally planned on camping at 10k. We ran into a soloist who asked to join our party. He had researched the route extensively and convinced us to camp at 11k, which was a really good idea, except my partner does not acclimate well and ended up becoming very ill. Had we camped at 10k, he would have been fine. The extra 1,000 feet made him too sick to summit the next day.

 

As well, there's real value to starting your summit day off right with a crap in one of the DC outhouses rather than shitting on the snow at IF and managing the blue bag.

 

To me, the convenience of camping at Muir outweighs any gain from camping an hour farther along the route. It will be much more difficult to dig a platform at IF than at Camp Muir, if you have to dig one at all. Camp Muir is a safer place to camp as well.

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My suggestion ... go back and try the Kautz again. More varied and fewer people. If the weather is shit yer not going up regardless of the route.

 

If you want to really enjoy yourself, camp at around 7-8k in the moraine the first night. It makes for a nice stroll from Paradise. Then hop up to Camp Hazard at 11k. You will be there by noon. Enjoy hanging out acclimating, check the route for the morning, and the seracs. You have been there before it will feel like home. Get up and blast the route, carried up and over. We made a stop on Point Success before walking over to Columbia Crest. Then blast down the DC. Enjoy a beer back at the parking lot.

 

As for your specific questions leave that stuff at home. Bring fuel for an extra day. You can always space food out but ya gotta have something to drink.

 

The best chance of success comes with weather. Sometimes it has been pissing down low and we have hiked to high camp and out of the soup. Sometimes we have got the opposite and been hammer up high. Having carried all of our crap we bivied for the night, got up in the morning, topped out, and hiked down.

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