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Mike_Gauthier

Recent Conditions

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i've been getting lots PMs about the upper mountain conditions... here's some recent info on the topic.

 

as of today, friday the 7th, the route to muir is in great shape. folks have been booting in the trail all week. the snow is somewhat firm for most of the snowfield, as the wind has been blowing quite a bit the last few days. most of the wind has been from the EAST... we took a few board runs down the big chutes/gullies that drop into the nisqually glacier... the snow was firm, but spooky... a lot of windblown snow was piled in the chutes by the easterly winds. be careful as the afternoon sun softens them, i fear that the avalanche condition will sky rocket...

 

as for muir and above, things are looking quite good for climbing. we spent the better part of the week up there however we didn't summit. the wind was blowing HARD and no one was up for 4 K of postholing through deep snow and high winds.

 

in general about the routes:

 

the mountain received a lot of snow last week, and a lot of wind this week. we were rather nervous about this on tue/wed/thur. things seems to be stabilizing out nicely now that the winds have died down. it seems as though most of the loose snow on the mountain has been blown off (probably over to crystal mountain...) bigdrink.gif

 

the ID is in great shape. there is lot's of snow covering the crevasses, etc. a few weeks ago, we climbed the center of the glacier and went climbers left to the top of gib rock (camp comfort). as i heard at muir yesterday from credible sources, things are still in great shape on this route. the guide service kicked in a trail up cathedral rock, but things look good through cadaver gap too. either way will get you there.

 

Gib Ledges: they are in great shape!! NO, primo shape!!! go for it. i recommend against ANY rappels off the ledges unless you want to waste your time looking for the "obvious descent gully. " smile.gif the only rappel on this route that climbers "sometimes" take is at the BEEHIVE, which is near 11K on cowlitz cleaver. we were there yesterday, the rap station is in, but you can avoid this rap if you climb the cowlitz glacier instead of the ridge behind muir.... again, either way works.

 

gib chute: in, but dangerous, probably good for ridding/skiing at this time.

 

nisqually ice cliff and cleaver. these routes also look good, especially the cleaver. the typical route up the ice cliff has changed over the years but it still a go. it is scary however, move fast if you do this one.

 

nisqually icefall. seems to be a lot interest in this route this year. not sure why, it's certainly been in better shape before. this is definitely a way up the ice fall, but it's neither direct or safe. your team will be exposed to icefall at numerous points on route, especially down low. the route should go however, just make sure you hustle. we noticed numerous ice falls and avalanches off the nisqually during our days at muir.

 

hope this info helps and inspires you to get out. the mountain is looking primo for climbing.

 

mike

 

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Sergio and I climbed The Castle in the Tatoosh yesterday. Though there were only four cars in the Narada Falls parking lot when we set out at 9:00AM, there were maybe 60 there when we returned at 4:00PM. It was a zoo!

 

At any rate, the road-only travelers and skiers and snowshoers have beaten a path all the way up to the the saddle east of The Castle. Sergio used his splitboard but I went on foot (forgoing my snowshoes at the time). Off of the beaten path, the snowcover was about a foot of soft powder except for where it had become crusty or windswept.

 

After we finished off The Castle (easy), we hiked (this time me with my snowshoes on) down to the saddle about a half-mile east of The Castle. From there, Sergio boarded down into the basin bearing toward Louise Lake. Excellent powder skiing/boarding of about a foot depth (even for the downhill snowshoer) on top of a crusty/icy surface. Lots of people have gone down this slope. If you're a cross-country skier, the Tatoosh offers wonderful playing terrain.

 

I would expect that for as long as the weather stays dry and cold the north basins of the Tatoosh will remain powder heavens.

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