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JayB

Kautz Glacier Conditions

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Heading up there this Friday. Any info on the condition of the route, good bivy sites, etc. would be appreciated.

 

 

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Cool. Let us know how it goes. Some current beta especially on the approach would be nice.

 

Gracias!

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Here's some information on the route for folks pondering a trip up the Kautz this summer. 1282route.jpg

 

 

Route Conditions as of 6/1/03.

 

Nisqually Glacier Crossing.

1282nisqxing.jpg

 

Everything is still pretty tight, with only a few cracks opening up here and there. In fact, most of the crevasses on the way to "The Fan" are so narrow at this point that even Karen Carpenter could not fall all the way in them at this point.

 

The Fan:

 

The Chute on the opposite side of the Nisqually Glacier. There was ample evidence of recent wet-slide activity on the way in on 5/30, and there were a couple of fridge sized rocks that rolled through it between 5/30 and our exit on 6/1.

 

Top of of the Fan to the Base of the Turtle.

 

Wet, granular, isothermal snow beneath a thin frozen crust. There's a good spot to camp on a broad, flat snowfield atop the ridgeline at about 8500', and a rocky camp on the ridge at 9,000 feet that can accomodate about 4-5 tents. 1282lcamp2.jpg

 

 

Turtle Snowfield.

 

More slush beneath a relatively firm crust. The best campsites we found were at around 10,500 feet. The three platforms we dug out here should last for at least another couple of weeks. 1282hcamp.jpg

 

 

The Chute:

 

Mellow kick-stepping at this point, a condition that will probably persist for at least another couple of weeks. I've heard people estimate the pitch of the upper chute at anywhere from 30 to 60 degrees, but after having been on it somewhere in the mid-to-high 40 degree range sounds about right. If you are at all comfortable with your ice axe, a single piolet will be more than adequate at this point, but later in the season a third-tool would probably be nice for extra security. There were a wide range of experience and comfort levels in our group, but everyone was extremely comfortable with a running belay consisting of one picket per rope length (3-4 total) under the conditions we encountered.

 

Upper Mountain.

0highkautz.jpg

 

Firm neve' above the chute to the top, after last weekend there should be a pretty distinct boot-pack all of the way to the top. Very few open crevasses (1-2 tops) on the upper Kautz at this point.

 

Other Routes:

 

-The Kautz Headwall, Wilson Glacier Headwall, Fuhrer Finger and Fuhrer Thumb all looked like they were in pretty good shape at this point. We saw evidence of a pretty large slide at the base of the Finger on 5/30, and a couple of fellows who had done the route the previous day said that it cut loose on the 28th, the day before their climb, so hopefully things should be nice and stable now.

1282whftrtes.jpg

 

Wilson Headwall (Left), Fuher Thumb (Right)

 

0khwall.jpg

 

Kautz Headwall

 

 

Other Notes:

 

If you do this route, make sure that the nighttime temps get below freezing before you contemplate wandering underneath the Kautz Ice cliff. Also - consider getting a very early start and/or setting a fairly early turn-around time on this route if you will be coming back down the route as opposed to carrying over. We passed back under the cliff at about noon, but if I come back and do the route again I'd like to have passed under the cliff before 10:00 rolls around. 128283172327305_0_alb.jpg

 

1282kautzice.jpg

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Nice pictures!

We probably saw you descending - we were at ~13500' coming up from Nisqually cleaver.

 

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Yeah - the pictures came out okay. I've been trying to summon up the will for a TR but have yet to do so. I suppose it will ruin the story yellaf.gif if I give away the ending, but right after we hit the crater rim and I was about to say "We should just drop the packs and tag the summit from here if we are going to make our turn around time" my body said "Actually, what we need to do is engage in a massive fit of vomiting that the rope team a few hundred feet down the mountain will hear loud and clear." I think that we were at about 14,000 feet or so when that happened, and my ropemates graciously agreed to accompany me when I said that I should probably head down. I wish I would have had a camera to document it, as it was in all likelihood a record setting performance. I felt fine after losing a couple thousand feet of altitude, as was the case the last time I got hit by the altitude around 3 years ago. fruit.giffruit.giffruit.giffruit.giffruit.giffruit.gif

 

Note to the 3 guys I met while picking up the remains of the mystery camp that blew to pieces* - I have the photos of your group and will mail a CD to someone if you'll post your address here or send it to me via the e-mail address listed on my profile.

 

* More in the TR whenever I get around to it.

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I hope you used a blue bag to properly dispose of your vomit. I hate getting chunks of half digested mountain house in my crampons. cry.gif

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lemon said:I hope you used a blue bag to properly dispose of your vomit. I hate getting chunks of half digested mountain house in my crampons. cry.gif
Or in my glacier pure water. bigdrink.gif

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lemon said:

 

 

I hope you used a blue bag to properly dispose of your vomit. I hate getting chunks of half digested mountain house in my crampons. cry.gif

 

It was all Cytomax and Gu. Consider it an emergency stash, ready for all of my fellow climbers to melt and re-use.

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JayB said:

 

It was all Cytomax and Gu. Consider it an emergency stash, ready for all of my fellow climbers to melt and re-use.

 

Yummy, stomach bile! HCL.gif

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Hey Jay,

Sounds like the rest of your climb was badass aside from the puking part. rockband.gif Anyway, we had a long ass day after reaching the top we descended the Ingraham and then all the way down to Paradise. It was sweet aside from the second degree sunburn... Anyway, that would be awesome if you could send us those pictures, my address is PO Box 3061 Durango, CO 81302, or if it would be easier to e-mail them my e-mail address is wbamosiii@hotmail.com. Thanks again!

 

-Bill

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Nice going Bill!

 

I should be able to burn the photos onto a CD today and get them in the mail next week. Some of them didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, but I think one or two of them will be worth hanging on to.

 

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JayB said:

We passed back under the cliff at about noon, but if I come back and do the route again I'd like to have passed under the cliff before 10:00 rolls around.

 

There is a decent exit crack leading to the ridge across from the lower end of the Ice Chute. It's probably 5.0 with a pack and may have a rope hangin in it. It puts you in the rocks just below camp Hazard and eliminates the need to climb up to and under the Ice Cliff on the return.

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Hey whoaaa, back the truck up!!! Can we get alittle more clarification on the "exit crack"? I believe that turning the corner and running up that bowling alley back up to Hazard is the worst part of that route, especially on a warm day. How long is it? Thanks Ned.

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Agreed about the bowling alley. I had the same question. Here's Ivan's reply from another thread...

 

"on the way down from the chute, homeward bound, descend to the level of the bottom tongue of the icefall, then cut strait across the debris path to the far wall (to the east, towards muir) the far wall is safe from ice/rock fall from the ice cliff, but itself could have rock fall from above (there's a real nice cave area though, big enough for two people, and a source of shade in the hot afternoon with a wild view of nature gone mad just a few feet away)

 

this area you cut strait across is at the same level where you'd turn the corner if you were climbing the route, had run down the debris path, and were then turning back up hill

 

once you've crossed to the eastern wall and are largely out of danger, stick tight to the wall and go downhill about 50-100 feet...i assume this area might form a moat in later season, as the rappel line that's fixed was locked into the snow and was protecting what was a pretty easy climb...the rock portion is a little awkward in crampons, but still simple...it takes you out onto a snowfield that connects over to camp hazard

 

we didn't see anything come crashing down from the cliff, but there's no shortage of evidence to the contrary in the blast zone...this way is definitely the fastest to cross danger area (i still think our variation on the way up was more enjoyable though) "

 

 

 

 

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Planning on climbing Kautz this weekend, weather permitting. Trying to decide whether to carry over and down the dc route or descend the climbing route. Any suggestions?

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If you are going light (my definition 30-35lbs or less) a carry-over might be the way to go. Otherwise, an early start from high camp would be a better plan IMO. If I were to do the route again I'd shoot for being out of harm's way, e.g. past the bowling alley beneath the ice cliff by 10:00AM or so. If you do descend the route, the alternate exit from the chute described above is a much better option.

 

Also - you may want to take a look at RMI's schedule for the DC route. I'd personally rather deal with the seracs than weave through that many people on the way down...

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downclimb the kautz....as has been said here a number of times, if you're really unsure of being able to downclimb it, you probably shouldn't go up it...at any rate, it'll have immense bootsteps already kicked in and the exposure to objective bullshit from the cliff is so short, especially if you take the sneaky way, that if you do get killed doing it, it's a sign god hates you anyway madgo_ron.gif and you probably better die 'fore he thinks some truly fucked up shit for you

 

if not, why then be a tool of god the_finger.gif yerself and trundle some rmi folks on your way down the cleaver

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bcollins said:[/b]

Hey whoaaa, back the truck up!!! Can we get alittle more clarification on the "exit crack"? I believe that turning the corner and running up that bowling alley back up to Hazard is the worst part of that route, especially on a warm day. How long is it? Thanks Ned. [/quote

 

The description below is correct. My sis and I came up Furher Finger and out the Kautz last July. The exit is about 150--200' below the lower Kautz where you cross the little pressure ridge onto the bowling alley. Go to the rock wall, turn south and look for the fixed line in the obvious weakness on the wall. It's about 30' up loose, sharp rock to a secure stance. Easy, and well worth it, especially if you're camped lower and don't need to climb up to a camp at Hazard. We encountered no moat or access problem whatsoever. This should be the normal route for warm days or pm returns. thumbs_up.gif

 

 

JayB said:

Agreed about the bowling alley. I had the same question. Here's Ivan's reply from another thread...

 

"on the way down from the chute, homeward bound, descend to the level of the bottom tongue of the icefall, then cut strait across the debris path to the far wall (to the east, towards muir) the far wall is safe from ice/rock fall from the ice cliff, but itself could have rock fall from above ...

this area you cut strait across is at the same level where you'd turn the corner if you were climbing the route, had run down the debris path, and were then turning back up hill...once you've crossed to the eastern wall and are largely out of danger, stick tight to the wall and go downhill about 50-100 feet...i assume this area might form a moat in later season, as the rappel line that's fixed was locked into the snow and was protecting what was a pretty easy climb...the rock portion is a little awkward in crampons, but still simple...it takes you out onto a snowfield that connects over to camp hazard...this way is definitely the fastest to cross danger area "

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