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Billygoat

Rainier in April

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I am looking for beta and opinions on the likely April conditions from Paradise to Muir and on through Gib ledges to the top.

 

Will there be a post hole super highway to Muir or would skis be the way to go?

 

I would prefer to ski and if I do, how high could I get on that route before likely removing my skis? To the base of Gibralter?

 

Would anybody here recommend taking a newbie (my cousin) on this route? Is it too exposed along the ledges?

 

If not, how 'bout if I brought along another team of seasoned ridge runners to strengthen the party?

 

Any takers?

 

Cheers, bigdrink.gif

 

Goat

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depending on the snow level from the winter, i would say cadaver gap, but it all depends of hos much pow pow we get... i wouldn't say exposure would be bad, but would you trust him to drag your ass out of a crevasse? that is the main question. time will tell... hopefully we get some more pow pow soon! rockband.gif

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Just a thought, but I would be pretty apprehensive about taking an inexperienced climber up Gib ledges and I also wouldn't rope up through the ledges. There isn't any place for pro and if you or your inexperienced partner slipped, theres probably not a very high likelihood that you will have enough time or space to arrest the fall. I think the start of the ledge system has the most immediate exposure, but it is also has the widest portion of the ledges.

 

Skis would be great all the way up to Muir and as long as it wasnt to icy you could probably go all the way to the Bee Hive and leave them there, From the Hive back down to Muir would be a nice little ski after coming back down from the summit.

 

my .02

 

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CBS, how about in a larger more experienced group? If not , then what, Cathedral?

 

How wide are the ledges below Gibraltar? I read it is 45 degrees where it meets with the chute. Easy on snow but Ice would be another thing.

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Billygoat said:

CBS, how about in a larger more experienced group? If not , then what, Cathedral?

 

How wide are the ledges below Gibraltar? I read it is 45 degrees where it meets with the chute. Easy on snow but Ice would be another thing.

It's not the crevasse rescue aspect that would have me concerned. It has to do with individual skills. Part of that ledge is unprotectable and should be done unroped. It's a must-not-fall situation. A better route for mixed skill levels would be the Ingraham Direct. You can stay roped the entire way and protect the steeper sections using pickets, if you like. You don't need to wait until April, either. That is probably the first winter route that comes into condition. I did it in early February last year and it was good. Very few open crevasses, very direct. The headwall is steep. We chose to rappel the headwall on the way back (single double rope rap).

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thanks CBS thumbs_up.gif Good Beta

 

My cousin is coming out in April hence the time. I am not too worried about crevasses either. I am more worried about Avy danger. I think I would like to have one other experienced person along. I might try and scope it out before I would take him up there.

 

So Gib ledges is narrow and I suppose pitched. Ingrahm direct sounds good but looks longer. How far could we ski up before resorting to post holing and would many people be going that way that time of year?

 

Goat

 

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With the exception of last year, I have normally headed to Rainier either on the first or second weekend of May. Over the last four years I have generally experienced good weather (clear and sunny) but have been turned around twice do to high winds, once when we had just topped out on Gib rock from Ingram headwall and the other at Muir when the winds were so strong you could barely keep your feet on the ground, and we were turned once by a storm that came in during the night and dumped an additional 8" on the upper mountain.

 

Every time I've gone there are always a few other people around and usually some kind of boot track to up to Muir, although wind swept at times. Its hard to say how many others would be there, it would all depend on what kind of weather the mtns been having prior to your trip. Ingram is a longer route, but really straight forward and if you go in April most of the crevasses should be good and filled in around the ice fall and up to the lower portions of the headwall. If you have the time, take the full two or three days to do it and enjoy the mountain.

 

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Billygoat said:

thanks CBS thumbs_up.gif Good Beta

 

My cousin is coming out in April hence the time. I am not too worried about crevasses either. I am more worried about Avy danger. I think I would like to have one other experienced person along. I might try and scope it out before I would take him up there.

 

So Gib ledges is narrow and I suppose pitched. Ingrahm direct sounds good but looks longer. How far could we ski up before resorting to post holing and would many people be going that way that time of year?

 

Goat

At that time of year, the time to do the route depends more on conditions than on distance. It took us 5 hours from Muir to Summit to do Ingraham Direct, but 8 hours for Gib Ledges. In the former case, we had good hardpack, but two weeks later, we were postholing.

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Count me in. I am also looking for a party to do Gib Ledges this winter. There are a couple accident reports over the last few years about inexperienced people on Gib Ledges. I will try to find them for you. I personally would not be roped to anybody for most of the Gib Ledges portion. There was another accident on the chute portion where the entire roped party was yanked by one newbie and slid 600 feet. I think there was only one broken bone but a lot of soiled gortex. shocked.gif

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How w i d e are those "ledges"? Where they connect to the chute I understand that the pitch is between 45 and 50 degrees. Is that the crux or is it earlier on in the ledges?

 

Bug! I'd love to head up there with you laugh.gif

 

I think I might go up with some others like Bug and Tom and do the ledges and scope out the Ingraham Direct on the descent in preparation for an attempt with my cousin.

 

cheeburga_ron.gif

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Let's just say that in November, there is absolutely 100% no friggin' way of guessing 1) what conditions will be like, 2) if it will be postholin' or skiing on the muir snowfield, 3) how high one could ski if one can ski, 4) what the snow/ice condition will be like in april!!! in fact, i'll be that even the night before the climb, you'll still be guessing...

 

i re-emphasize the general consensus that gib ledges in april isn't the most ideal place to introduce your kin to the mountain... wait until august...

 

cheers!

 

 

 

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Hey Dutchess, I remember that you were on Gib ledges last winter right? Wasn't it you that told the story about the party that got yanked on the chute?

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wow. that was a great trip report. but no, i don't think it was me that told any stories? but maybe. you never know with me.

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on the subject of skis: i have never found skis to be necessary or desirable when climbing rainier in the winter. the muir snowfield has wind blasted snow/crust most of the time which, in general, makes booting up the preferred mode of travel (and the extra weight of the skis ludicrous). granted it'd make the descent faster (yet, skiing with a heavy pack on windblasted snow ...) and perhaps the climb up to panorama point easier. if the snowfield had enough fresh snow to make skinning up advantageous, i'd ponder carefully the safety of upper slopes on the mountain, probably reconsider the summit attempt and go skiing instead.

 

if your plan is also to yoyo ski out of muir then it is an entirely different matter.

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Billygoat said:

How w i d e are those "ledges"? Where they connect to the chute I understand that the pitch is between 45 and 50 degrees. Is that the crux or is it earlier on in the ledges?

 

I've only done the route once, but I think the word "ledges" is a misnomer. It was more walking on steep scree and volcanic rock than anything else. I never felt like I was on a "ledge".

 

As other people have said it's a don't fall situation and I wouldn't rope up as there is really no way to protect the route.

 

That said, I felt that anyone with reasonable scrambling skills and balance could handle the route no problem.

 

About the skis, if the Ingraham is in shape I'd be inclined to take my skis up via Gib Ledges and ski down the Ingraham.

 

Scott

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Thanks j_b for addressing the ski issue. Wind pack does not sound good with a heavy pack. I thought that travel would be faster and more fun, but I would have the added weight of the extra gear. If there is a fresh dump, skinning up and skiing down would be in order (after considering the avy potential). Conditions will dictate action. And partners...

 

bigdrink.gif

 

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I do a lot of ski-mountaineering. More than once, I've skied up the lower slopes of Rainier and Hood and then carried my skis down because of a breakable wind crust which I was just too tired to deal with. For the overall easiest trip, I'd say wait for a time when it will be hardpack and walk. If you want to ski down Mount Raininer, that is quite another thing - but it generally won't be "easier" or safer than walking.

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Actually Scott, that was my original idea (sabretooths work on tele boots) because it would be easier to get my cousin up Gib ledges than down it and if we ditched our skis at camp misery and couldn't return that way we'd be in for a lot of extra work to recover the gear.

 

j_b does have a valid point; survival skiing in variable conditions with a heavy pack, at altitude does have enormous drawbacks. we would have to go light on summit day and the conditions (as well as our conditioning) has to be appropriate.

 

Thanks for the good replies all thumbs_up.gif

 

cheers bigdrink.gif

 

Goat

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