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Dulton

Spring Routes

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Favorite/Safest springtime Rainier routes from Muir. Gib ledges? Ingram Direct? How are these two routes or mabe even Dissapointment Cleaver in terms of rockfall, icefall and avy danger this time of year, also how are the crevasse navigation on these routes this time of year? I know these are pretty general and even obvious questions, but I've never cilmbed Rainier this time of year (i've only climbed in July) and I'm putting some serious thought into a summit attempt in the next few weeks so any Beta would be awsome THNX! laugh.gif

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your best option is probably the ingraham direct... little rock fall issues, little ice fall issues (this time of year) and though there may be some avalance issues, they are no more than anywhere else on the upper mountain.

 

i climbed the ID route this winter and it was in EXCELLENT SHAPE. i can only assume that its getting better as the spring snows have increased and saved our summer climbing season. in fact folks, i would say that were setting up for an EXCELLENT climbing season on rainier... lots on snow up high, quick approaches... come visit the moutain, no verification necessary just to have a good time,

 

mike

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erik said:

YOU MIGHT TRY EMAILING DAN -, I HEAR HE IS AN EXPERT.

 

yellaf.gif

 

friggin' hillarious!! yelrotflmao.gif

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Any word on how is FF shaping up? Isn't there typically a big spring avy that then sets up the route nicely.

 

Thanks

-Mike

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Alpine_Tom said:

What about Gib Ledges -- any idea how that looks?

 

gib ledges is not an option unless it is very cold. and even then beware of direct-sun loosened rocks (rockfall).

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j_b said:

Alpine_Tom said:

What about Gib Ledges -- any idea how that looks?

 

gib ledges is not an option unless it is very cold. and even then beware of direct-sun loosened rocks (rockfall).

 

Thanks very much. That about sums it up for the conditions, huh? Except, maybe, like, the actual conditions on the route. Like, say, snow? or ice? Whether it's seen much activity this spring?

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j_b say: "gib ledges is not an option unless it is very cold. and even then beware of direct-sun loosened rocks (rockfall)."

 

Uh.....I don't know where you heard that. It ain't Willis Wall. I climbed it once on an average July 4th and it was great....hundreds of people on D.C. and just me and a buddy on the ledges. We timed it so that we hit the ledges just as there was enough light to see our way across and had a pleasant stroll to the chute. Never saw a stone fall. However, we did not linger and we descended the D.C. route. I think that's a good strategy, and wear a helmet.

I've descended Gib Ledges in the winter but I wouldn't recommend doing that in the summer. I met a couple guys at Muir once who were utterly terrified after their afternoon descent.

Historically, Gib ledges was the guide route and it still is quite a nice direct way to the top. It was apparently a lot more easier than it even is now until a key section slid away in 1936.

 

According to Dee Molenaar ("Challenge of Rainier", 1st edition): "Early accounting of numbers is vague, but doubtless several thousand climbers reached the crater rim of via the "Gib Route" between 1870 and 1936, the last year the original ledge trail was intact....In 1936, following several sumers when ever-increasing quantities of dripping water and icicles were a feature of the overhanging section of the Gibralter trail, and a few days after the final climb of the summer, a large section of the ledge tumbled away in a rock avalanche, leaving only a vertical scar at the site of the trail...For the next 11 years numerous attempts were made to find a way across the Gibraltar face but all were thwarted by discouraging rockfall and loose footing. Finally.....seasonal park rangers, found a way by dropping to a lower ledge system, following this around several points and alcoves in the face of Gibraltar, and climbing to rejoin the upper end of the original trail. This exploratory effort re-opened Gib and in subsequent years it again provided the most direct route to the summit snows from Cap Muir. Even then, however, spasmodic barrages of rockfall tended to relegate the Gib route to a secondary choice among mountaineers. The route is now recommend only with caution for small parties of fast-moving climbers. Hard hats are strongly recommended."

 

There are additional interesting comments in Molenaar's book regarding rockfall statistics, etc. that interested climbers might enjoy reading.

 

- Dwayner

 

 

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Thanks for all the great beta! I have Catbird's TR from his Gib Ledges ascent this year and I'm looking that over too. With the snow this year is the "Ingram Headwall" (described by Becky) doable, or would it be better to go up towards the top of Dissapointment or to the climbers left above Gibralter?

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dwayner: i choose to not do climbs that see spontaneous rockfall unless it is very cold. i have done gib ledges a couple of times (in march) and had rockfall on both occasions during the descent. based on the above and what else i have heard from other climbers, i don't see the point climbing the route when it is warm out while there are other safer and equally attractive mountains, routes, etc .. it is obviously a personal choice.

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I see no good reason to descend via Gib Ledges, except in mid winter and even then Ingraham Direct is faster if you take Cadaver Gap. The descent ends up being much later in the day when rock fall increases. Go down via Ingraham Direct or DC.

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Ya I wouldn't think about descending the ledges especially when the temps are getting warmer.

 

Catbird, I remember you telling me that there was nothing falling (no rock, no ice) when you were up there, do you remember what the temps were like?

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good point on using a different descent. if we agree that rockfall hazard increases very significantly later in the morning on clear winter days, what can we say about it during warm summer nights? does rockfall frequency increases only with direct sunlight?

 

perhaps there exists modern data about this route? Mike?

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I shouldn't say there was nothing falling. A couple of small rocks came down. One pebble hit Tomcat on his (helmeted) head. It was about 7 or 8 am and the temperature was about 20-25 degrees F.

 

The sun can warm the rock even if the temperatures are below freezing. The entrance to the ledges faces south. You want to get there before sunrise. The exit of the ledges faces more west. As long as you are onto the exit chute before mid-day, the rock above will remain in shade. In the afternoon, it is all in the sun, then watchout, here it comes!

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