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crampon_retread

Any info on Gib Ledges or Nisqually Icefall?

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the gib ledges route looked like it was in AWESOME shape the other day (i.e. yesterday). i wasn't climbing, but i did eye-ball it from paradise (while skiing on EXCELLENT SNOW!!!). tons of new snow on the mountain, the ledges looked as though they were filled in nicely. the upper mountain looks pristine.

 

i looked at the nisqually glacier route too. it seems to be OK, but i did notice that i could us a bit more snow to fill in all the cracks. it probably goes, but may involve some creative crevasse navigation.

 

all you need is a partner, weather window, strong legs, and warm clothes. good luck, maybe i'll see you up there.

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Greetings Careless_Ev,

 

Thanks for taking time to share firsthand observations about Gib Ledges and the Nisqually Glacier. I'll pass them along to my climbing partners.

 

Best wishes for a good Holiday Season,

 

Greg

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Careless_Ev said:

but i did eye-ball it from paradise

I wish I could assess routes from that far away. I usually have to stick my face in it to really know.

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David_Parker said:

Careless_Ev said:

but i did eye-ball it from paradise

I wish I could assess routes from that far away. I usually have to stick my face in it to really know.

 

That's too bad that you're unable to do this David. I find that looking at routes from a distance before I climb them helpful. But its good that you can recognize your shortfalls.

 

Mr Crampon, David "might" be trying to make the point that you're unable to assess the route from far away... and for specific info, that is true. But what matters on this route is:

 

ample snow cover on the ledges,

good weather (well, that's ideal),

a solid partner (unless you prefer solo),

and good physical conditioning (makes breaking trail up the Cowlitz Cleaver a LOT easier).

 

You may experience avalanche "hazards" in the chute (which takes you off the ledges and onto the upper mountain), but the larger avalanche hazard generally exists between Muir and Camp Misery (i.e, the base of Gib Ledges.) That hazard needs to be analyzed the day you climb the mountain.

 

While we're at it, the upper mountain may be crevassed too, and the winds may be fierce, and the snow on the ledges could be sugary, or icy... but all of that information can be dealt with along the way. My point was, the route looks climbable and I encourage you to go! The snow conditions may be soft or hard, the avalanche hazard may be crazy or safe, but you'll never know, till you go... Anyway, at least the ledges are covered, and the crevasses on the mountain are starting to look filled in... If the ledges don't work, try the Ingraham Direct.

 

The winter climbing (skiing) season is upon us. bigdrink.gif

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When we climbed the ledges last February, there was lots of unconsolidated snow on the Cowlitz and we were concerned about avy danger, not to mention that we were postholing. We went around the problem by ascending Cowlitz Cleaver and going behind the Beehive then rapping down a short step. It worked out pretty well, although it was more time consuming.

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catbirdseat said:

When we climbed the ledges last February, there was lots of unconsolidated snow on the Cowlitz and we were concerned about avy danger, not to mention that we were postholing. We went around the problem by ascending Cowlitz Cleaver and going behind the Beehive then rapping down a short step. It worked out pretty well, although it was more time consuming.

 

Jeeze Catbird, couldn't you see those issues from Paradise. What the hell is wrong with you?

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As far as I was concerned, I couldn't see shit from Paradise. At the time Gator was saying, "Gib Ledges is in". I'm thinking he had been up there, but no. It was marginal.

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David_Parker said:

catbirdseat said:

When we climbed the ledges last February, there was lots of unconsolidated snow on the Cowlitz and we were concerned about avy danger, not to mention that we were postholing. We went around the problem by ascending Cowlitz Cleaver and going behind the Beehive then rapping down a short step. It worked out pretty well, although it was more time consuming.

 

Jeeze Catbird, couldn't you see those issues from Paradise. What the hell is wrong with you?

yellaf.gif

 

I don't think that I said you could analyze the specific conditions from Paradise? I think that I said the route looks doable because of snow cover. By all means, if you prefer to wait till someone gives you a first hand report, then more power to you.

 

Generally, I prefer to go find out for myself, even when others say "no go." It often seems that climbers have differing opinions of the conditions and situation.

 

Cat's statement jives with my comments... That is, the conditions were problematic and they still summited. And look: avalanche conditions on the Cowlitz, deep postholing.... rolleyes.gif I wonder if there were a few crevasses to contend with above Camp Comfort? I wonder Cat, did you have a few partners? And did you exchange leads to break up the postholing labor too... But hey, I'm just guessing because I wasn't there that day, and I couldn't see him from Paradise...

 

Crampon guy from the land of sunny Sequim, I say go find out. The route is in winter shape, and even if the climbing conditions are difficult, this route can often be summited.

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BTW, if I get up there this winter, I'll happily provide a route condition report. But then, that really wont mean much either, b/c by the time you arrive, the actual conditions and specifics will have probablly changed...

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Parker, you made your point. To really know the conditions on a mountaineering route, you have to actually go try it. However, if you've been around the range for a while and particularly if you are familiar with the way conditions evolve on that mountain, you can indeed tell a great deal by looking at it and considering the last week or two's weather history. Ev was clear that he had not actually been on it, but that it LOOKED like it was in awesome condition -- and I bet he was right.

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Careless_Ev said:Cat's statement jives with my comments... That is, the conditions were problematic and they still summited. And look: avalanche conditions on the Cowlitz, deep postholing.... rolleyes.gif I wonder if there were a few crevasses to contend with above Camp Comfort? I wonder Cat, did you have a few partners? And did you exchange leads to break up the postholing labor too... But hey, I'm just guessing because I wasn't there that day, and I couldn't see him from Paradise...
There were four of us and we did exchange leads above Gibraltar Rock. There is no way we would have made it otherwise. I'm sure there are guys that could have done it as a party of two, but it would have been way hard.

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It seems to me that any winter climbing or travel will always be more adventurous, require more skill, strenghth, and commitment than the other seasons of the year. However that is what makes it so rewarding and so frustrating. bigdrink.gif

 

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Yes Matt, I agree. You know me well enough that I take beta like a grain of salt. I have been told things are "not in" more than they are "in" and the report was not correct in my opinion. But the original post said "awesome shape" which to me implies they had to have stuck their face in it to make that comment. I looked at Rainier from Crystal on Monday and I couldn't really tell if there was loose, unconsolidated snow, bad wind slab or killer neve. Would that keep me from checking out Gib ledges? No! I know it would be a good route to consider at this time of year. I guess I choose what to report or how to report it a little more carefully.

 

Hey, the waterskiing looks friggin' killer on Lake Washington right now!

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David_Parker said:

I take beta like a grain of salt.....

 

Hey, the waterskiing looks friggin' killer on Lake Washington right now!

I agree, take route reports with a grain of salt. thumbs_up.gif I just wanted to be encouraging.

 

As for Lake WA,,,, let's go.... thumbs_up.gif

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Anyone game for "putting your face in it" on the 17th, 18th? Or are you all going to be waterskiing? grin.gif

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Since the forecast has snow through the 16th, it doesn't appear that Rainier would be in condition on the 17th. My rule of thumb has been to allow at least three of four days of no new snow before considering Rainier in winter. However it might be fun to just go up to Camp Muir and check things out.

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Hmmm. Good point. Muir might be fun. I really want to get up something a little steeper and technical. But conditions could be too snowy everywhere. Maybe it's time to get out the tel skiis.

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Since the forecast has snow through the 16th, it doesn't appear that Rainier would be in condition on the 17th. My rule of thumb has been to allow at least three of four days of no new snow before considering Rainier in winter. However it might be fun to just go up to Camp Muir and check things out.

 

I was wondering what people's take was on the avy danger on the route to Camp Muir. Catbird seems to imply that one should only be concerned with the terrain above Muir, but at least on the Forest Service site they claim there is a large danger even at Panorama Point. I have yet to set a foot on Rainier, but was thinking of heading up to Muir in the next week or so.

 

-Justin

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Most of the way up to Muir is sufficiently low angle to be safe, but to get up onto Pan Point you have to go up a steeper slope. The "summer path" has slide danger whenever it gets sufficiently loaded. I've certainly seen evidence of wet slides there. Keeping to the SW ridge line on ascent would usually be the safest policy, but (obviously) is no guarantee of safety in bad conditions.

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Thanks a lot, Norman. Good Info.

 

If you go up the SW ridge, is the remaining danger going to be from slides above you on the ridge or is it due more to being below adjacent slopes, such as Glacier Vista? Are things pretty much clear once you're above Pan Point?

 

Much appreciated, Justin

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The danger will be mainly from the slope you are on (SW), which is steepest on the upper section. Most likely this will be triggered by hikers rather than natural causes, the slope eases up near the top-then goes flat, then you bear left. Once you get above Alta Vista, the danger will minumize except for the lower section of the snow field, when you go by some ridges on the climbers right that have cornices that may form.

Make sure you take a compass, altimeter and map, and a GPS if you have one, as whiteouts occur quickly.

Watch out for a cornice that forms above cliffs if you wander to the right of Muir peak while going up, and glaciers on both sides of the snow field while going down.

Post a trip report when you get back fi you climb the mountain cool.gif

TTT bigdrink.gif

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