Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
erichardson

[TR] Mt Rainier - Central Mowich Face (IV, AI2, 60 degrees) 07/13/2019

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Trip: Mt Rainier - Central Mowich Face (IV, AI2, 60 degrees)

Trip Date: 07/13/2019

Trip Report:

 

@nkimmes and I climbed the Central Mowich Face on Rainier July 13 - 14, 2019. We left the skis at home for once and sent it in a two day push from Mowich Lake to White River. Approach from the Mowich Lake campground was straight forward for the early miles. The trails winds up through wooded hills toward spray creek and eventually gains a large, open alpine landscape. The trees gave way to alpine brush and small talus that undulated with the movement of glaciers long gone. After a fairly long cross country section we reached the benign Flett Glacier. This permanent snowfield is situated low on the flanks of the mountain under Echo and Observation Rocks. Our path took us between them, close to the east side of Observation. Visibility was not good. Low hanging clouds roiled over the rocks and the landscape around us. The glacier seceded to loose volcanic rock. Our footsteps sank with each stride to gain Ptarmigan Ridge.

 

This point marked the end of the easy terrain. From this point we knew that previous parties had found a fairly heinous down climb/scramble over steep, loose rock to the glacier below. Some beta also indicated that there might be a permanent snowfield. Ultimately we decided to drop off the side of the ridge at just over 8200 ft. It was loose as promised, but overall the slope was not treacherous. Eventually we did run into a snowfield that made downhill travel a bit easier until we reached the outer edge of the North Mowich Glacier at 7200 ft. We roped up for the first time and travelled through a beautiful jigsaw of monster crevasses. We took a direct line toward the base of the route, instead of circumventing the core of the glacier out toward the Edmund Headwall as described in the guidebook. One crevasse was crossed by down climbing the wall on one side to access a depressed, knife edge bridge about ten feet below the lip of the crevasse. We tiptoed across and climbed back up the other side. After 12 hours on the move we reached a rock band at 10,200' above the double bergshrund guarding the route. We pitched the tent, melted snow and attempted to drink sand filled water and made funny videos condemning Jet Boil for being shit in the wind.

Sleep did not come easy. The wind had picked up substantially and after a brief 30 minutes in my sleeping bag, heard a large crash from up high on the mountain. Seconds later, from the darkness of the tent, my heart sunk as a massive boulder plummeted past our perch to the glacier below. Sleep didn't come at all. The alarm went off at 1am and we started up at 3am. Conditions were perfect. We rolled out of the tent to clear skies, no wind and cruiser neve except for a small vein of AI2 near the top, at the start of the grade IV variation that leads out onto a ramp above the EH instead of traversing left through the rock band at the top of the CMF. We felt secure and free solo'd the entire 3000' face to 13,200'. From there it was slow going as we slogged through high wind up Liberty Cap and over the plateau to summit on Columbia Crest. After an involuntary nap looking out over the top of the DC, we traversed the mountain with a descent dow the Emmons Glacier. It had been a big trip. We were wrecked and stoked that it had gone so smooth, especially since i was supposed to catch a flight to Boston the next day.

Cheers!

 

C436FBEF-23AB-4A10-AED1-B1DA76965D64.thumb.jpg.1c9ef3dc627ae4e08b9b46c1fcb7856b.jpg

The route as seen from the road to Mowich Lake.

53928931-D58F-4AD8-B394-4C255933E855.thumb.jpg.3b253c1a3749f6662c56bb852564922c.jpg

The early part of the North Mowich Glacier after the descent from Ptarmigan Ridge.

52BE3F65-A236-4E7A-924F-ED514DA1B25D.thumb.jpg.fdf06f7c305947ead43554796191423e.jpg

Monster crevasses that could eat a semi-truck.

095E65E5-C741-4FDA-955C-E113843E2B9D.thumb.jpg.5716da539f53362ccd9b8628ee0396e0.jpg

10,200' bivy sunset was something else.

2DCA4E9A-3665-452B-B2DD-04C16B8CE7FE.thumb.jpg.00212d73393d74982ced3da49663b750.jpg

@nkimmes on the main face as the horizon started to get light.

IMG_4456.thumb.JPG.bdb836874b3ad3c179cb0e07873273ef.JPG

Perfect other than my crampon kept falling off.

287F4B1E-711A-4A73-813E-EE138791DC31.thumb.jpg.a4def6d914285022ed0478ee2939ad91.jpg

Near the top of the face at the AI2 vein.

9F0214B1-4A3F-43A1-896E-18E360613793.thumb.jpg.15803647d13aa4e6debc3e0bcaff511d.jpg

No words necessary.

67BF57ED-A5D2-47D7-AD35-9B86E7BA6A9E.thumb.jpg.15f178e53010b6c11260897766db5f4c.jpg

Stoked!

2E85A246-5835-4297-9C4F-73CA0D697B47.thumb.jpg.d4cd7b434c5ab5a470a21bd143802e2f.jpg

Summit!

 

Gear Notes:
Pickets, couple screws

Approach Notes:
Mowich Lake TH

Edited by erichardson
  • Like 7
  • Rawk on! 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice!  Looks sweet!

Great to see something new, something to keep the fires stoked. Although I gotta say, in this weird and claustrophobic time it’s a hell of a goddamn tease.

Thanks for pulling one out of the stash. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice one. I have attempted to climb rainier 3 times, each a failure due to severe altitude sickness. Some just can’t catch a break. I don’t dream of this Mtn much anymore but when I do it is of this route. Thanks for the stoke. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, mountainsloth said:

Nice one. I have attempted to climb rainier 3 times, each a failure due to severe altitude sickness. Some just can’t catch a break. I don’t dream of this Mtn much anymore but when I do it is of this route. Thanks for the stoke. 

I had a colleague who had worked as a guide for Mt Travel Sobek, guiding 22,000 ft mountains in the Andes. He had never been able to climb above 12,500 ft on Rainier. Some people just need more time to acclimatize/ A typical two or three day schedule is not enough time to really acclimatize, at that pace you are essentially out running altitude sickness. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, DPS said:

I had a colleague who had worked as a guide for Mt Travel Sobek, guiding 22,000 ft mountains in the Andes. He had never been able to climb above 12,500 ft on Rainier. Some people just need more time to acclimatize/ A typical two or three day schedule is not enough time to really acclimatize, at that pace you are essentially out running altitude sickness. 

Yea, I’ve tried 2, 3, & 4 day trips with a variety of altitudes we stopped at and every time I got sick on the second day. 🙄 

Yet many of my friends have been up and down Rainier multiple times in a 24 window and never felt a bit of sickness. 
everyone is different. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/31/2020 at 6:50 PM, erichardson said:

We felt secure and free solo'd the entire 3000' face to 13,200'.

Just like Honold! :D

 

Thanks for posting the TR on a lesser known route!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool report. We did the Edmunds (Western MF) exactly a year earlier and the conditions on the CMF were definitely sketchier. Lots of stuff coming off those upper rock bands.

In 2017, we were foiled by the massive bergshrunds and had to retrace our steps back to Mowich Lake.  Which meant climbing back UP that 1200+ feet of Ptarmigan Ridge :( -  it was like trying to climb a massive pile of broken bowling balls, or one of those trash piles from Wall-E.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×