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mescalito345

Edmunds Headwall route on Rainier

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Thanks for the reply. Our group is planning to go there on July 1. If we can’t get to the Edmunds Headwall, is there an alternative route nearby?

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How do you plan to approach? Mowich Lake or West side road? The issue is that between low snow years and climate change the cracks open up earlier. 

Edited by ScaredSilly

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Thanks for the reply. We’re planning to drive to Mowich Lake. According to the rangers, the road will open on June 28. One of my friends has been on the Edmunds Headwall route before. On summit day, do most groups carry everything up and over the summit, or is returning to high camp (after summitting) a reasonable option?

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If coming from Mowich Lake you are going come via Spray Park to cross the North Mowich and then Edmunds Glaciers. I have crossed the North Mowich a couple of times late May and mid June but that was a decade plus years ago. It was not bad then. We crossed the Tahoma and South Mowich over Memorial Day this year. Again not bad. But this year there did not seem to that much snow - parts of Sunset Ridge were already rock and a huge bergshrund at the base.

As for the route, carry over as there is no feasible option unless you leave a camp really really low. And then it is still a PITA.  The Mowich approach is probably the least desirable approach because of the car shuttle. I would check with rangers to see if they have done any recent flights with pics. They usually post them to the blog. Here is photo from 10 days ago, to be honest it does not look bad. The shrund at the base might be the biggest issue.

 

20180612_133954%25282%2529.jpg

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Thanks for the photo. We have two cars available for a shuttle, in case we decide to descend via Camp Muir. If we decide to descend on the west side instead, would the Sunset Ridge route be a better choice than the Edmunds Headwall?

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Sunset is a +/- 45 degree slope for a long ways. Not something I want to descend unless I needed to do. If I have already carry my crap to the top (which I have done seven times) I am going down either the Emmons or DC/Ingarham much easier. The other option is the Tahoma ... but it can be complicated. Though coming down you will be able to see more.

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Thanks again for your suggestions. You actually know more about these NW routes than the climbing rangers at Paradise. If we descend via the Tahoma Glacier, could we eventually traverse back to high camp at the base of the Edmunds Headwall?

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It could be done with some work. Take all this with a grain of salt as I do not know the Tahoma terrain all that well. When descending the Tahoma one needs to descend to around 9000' to the Puyallup Cleaver. From there one could traverse over and down to the South Mowich at 8500' which is the base of the Sunset Ridge. If one then climbs to 9500'  you reach a gap that leads over to the Edmunds. So if you camp low that would work. It would be temping to traverse from St. Andrew's Rock under Sunset Amphitheater and drop from there to the South Mowich but from the pictures I have always seen below around 10k it is pretty jumbled. That said, in Fred's book he shows where it possible to traverse on to Sunset Ridge at about 10.5k from St. Andrew's Rock. I would say to try that early season but not this year because on the Tahoma side it is already bare rock and there is a bergshrund on the Sunset Ridge side that goes pretty much across the whole of the ridge at around 10k.

The other reason why I would suggest a carry up and over is that end of the difficulties at the top of the Mowich is 12,800' or so and is a fair distance from Liberty Cap. Even further to Columbia Crest. So if you start low it is going to be a really long day.

 

 

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The Edmunds HW is an incredible route. I climbed and snowboarded the thing a few years ago in middle of July. It might have been the single stupidest decision I've ever made, because crevasses were absolutely yawning open, and the rock fall was just constant and terrifying. It was also too late for good corn snow, because it was basically 2 inches of slush on top of blue glacier ice. Almost lost my edge a couple times, and ended up down climbing a certain section that was super exposed to the giant cliff lining the base of the face, on looker's left. Since that experience, I just want to go climb it. From there, do a carry over and snowboard the Finger on the south side. 

The face itself is a sustained 45* with a couple 50 degree parts. Its absolutely perfect for hybrid french / american crampon technique. 

Oh, also, the most dangerous part of the day BY FAR was climbing up the giant pile of rubble shit to regain lower Ptarmigan Ridge. I had a car size rock roll over my toes after it pulled loose when I yanked on it. Only reason my foot wasn't catastrophically destroyed was because of how soft the volcanic "sand" was in that particular spot. It just mushed my foot into the soft shit. That was sketchy! 

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