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Ingraham Direct TR

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Started out this trip with my climbing partner, Greg, forgetting his ice axe (signs of things to come maybe??). So we drove down from Sunshine Point to the Summit Haus to rent him a good ol' RMI 10lb ice axe WOOHOO!! Hiking our way up to Muir under a solid deck of clouds that finally broke up at around 8700ft to blue skies. Arrived at Muir in 2:56 mins (no, i don't have GPS waypoints to prove it rolleyes.gif) to gusty winds and a hopeful weather forcast. We learned that we would be one of only three teams attempting the Ingraham Direct route the next morning after a huge summit day previous. Picked up a third member for our rope team to make three (a german guy named Christian). Started at about 2:00am under clear skies and a steady 25 mile an hour sustained wind at Muir with heavy gusts. When we arrived at Cathedral Gap 20mins later we looked out over the clouds and lo-and-behold Norther Lights lit up the sky!!! It was the coolest thing! As we continued up the Ingraham glacier the route was very well traveled (solid boot path, hard to miss) and a very well wanded route. We wove our way through the icefall over solid snowbridges that were pretty thick at least 5 feet thick and in pretty good shape. This route won't last long, however, as high freezing levels and lots of sun exposure is melting the bridges quick. There was quite a bit of Serac debris on the route as well which was cause for concern, however an early start is the best solution. Continued up under steadily stronger winds to about 13,600 feet (according to my altimiter) where we had our bit of adventure. Our German friend Christian came up to a fairly large crevasse that had no snow bridge. It was probably only 4 feet wide but the steep angle of the slope meant that it was also about 4 feet tall. Well Christian descided he wanted to climb on over this thing without any kind of belay or even much warning to me and Greg.... and surprise, surprise, he slipped off the edge and down in to oblivian. So I jumped on my axe and yelled for Greg to set an anchor so we can get him outta there. As Greg is getting ready to clip the sling onto the rope (as I wait on my axe struggling to keep from sliding backwards) out pops Christian! He had fallen 20 feet and taken all the remaining slack out of the rope but hit an intermediate ledge of soft snow and was able to climb part of the way out, WHEW!! So we belayed him the rest of the way out untill he was safe. We checked to see if was he was ok and then attempted to set up anchors for a belay across the crevasse so we could conitinue our way to the summit. That was succesfull, but as soon as we crossed we turned around because of really really high winds and crazy gusts from every direction that made climbing next to impossible. So we jumped back over the crevasse and started our way down. Lost some sunglassess, and a disposable camera on the route, so if anyone finds these, please let me know tongue.gif!

Talked to the Rangers quite a bit and they are saying that ID will be out in a week or so and most people will have to go up DC. Gib ledges is still in good shape and there is a boot path pretty much all the way. They also said that the Kautz is shaping up really well as well as Furher Finger. Oh, and a heads up... the rangers are now channelling everyone up the "summer route" instead of the "winter route" because the rock has melted out and vegetation is getting trampled. The conditions this summer on Rainier are gonna be great, especially on the less crowded routes, LETS GO!!! fruit.giffruit.giffruit.gif

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