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[TR] Rainier- Gib Ledges (good we needed another GL TR!) 4/9/2004

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Climb: Rainier-Gib Ledges (good we needed another GL TR!)


Date of Climb: 4/9/2004


Trip Report:

Alex_Mineev, mtnsos, AaronB, and I met at Longmire Friday (half an hour late, sorry guys) and headed up to Paradise, after waiting another half hour for the Longmire ranger office to open from lunch.

This was my first time climbing with any of these guys, but things went pretty smoothly. A beautiful day, of course; we got up to Muir and got spaces in the hut (which filled up so thoroughly that, when we got up, there were three guys sleeping on the floor!) I spread out my sleeping bag next to girlclimber's little snowman.

I've never had the experience of being rained on (indoors) and I was a bit annoyed, but Alex assured us it was a lot wetter upstairs, so I won't complain.

We planned on getting up around 2:00, and ended up leaving about 3:20, to head up to the Ledges.

Instead of following the ridge up to the beehive as Aaron did last time, we headed up along the snow to the right of the ridge, which simplifies things greatly.

An hour of the camp, mtnsos had to turn around because of bad nausea (anyone know if Tums would help altitude-related nausea? Anyone tried?) and Aaron was having bad problems with his feet. His boots were both wet and too small, and his feet were quite cold. So, we stopped at the base of Gib Rock, 2 hrs into the climb, for Aaron to get warm, and continued.

The snow up to the ledges was nice styrofoam snow.

I've never done Gib Ledges, and I've wanted to for a LONG time. It's not really ledges so much as it is snow slopes. Rockfall didn't seem bad (we didn't see or hear any while up there) and in general the route seemed pretty reasonable.

I didn't see the eyebolt that's supposed to be up there either, which was a bit of a disappointment.

Once out of the chute, we roped up and headed, slowly and deliberately, to the summit, which we arrived at around 11:00.

On the way up, we met girlclimber coming down from the ledges and her third summit of the week.

Alex and I trudged over to the summit, slaves to our egos and camera fetishes, and Aaron wisely waited at the rim.

The snow on the upper mountain was perfect; just hard enough for the crampons to grab perfectly.

Headed down the Ingraham Direct, which involved a rather steep traverse down a snow face. The snow got really crummy, soft and wet, and balled up on our campons worse than I've ever seen; it looked like Alex was wearing those disco platform soles people his parents' age used to wear, and mine probably looked about the same.

Once we were out of the way of icefall, we decramponed, and the going got a lot simpler, except for a stretch a few hundred yards long just before Cathedral Gap where it's pretty icy.

We had a real scare on the glacier; we heard the sound of an icefall -- a big icefall!! -- Aaron (in the middle of the rope) ran for cover, since it was coming from right under his feet! Nothing fell, but it was pretty scarey.

The rest of the hike out was pretty routine. We got to see a couple of skiiers descending the Ingraham, looking like they were having a lot more fun than us.

I really hate the scree on Cathedral Gap; Alex wanted to descend Cadaver Gap, and once we were down I wished we'd tried.

The DC already looks awfully melted out. I can't imagine it being at all accessable by, say, July.

One odd thing; we left Muir around 4:00, and the snowfield was filled with people slogging UP -- snowboarders, hikers, skiiers. I guess they don't close the gate as early as the ranger said.

My recommendation would be to do this route fast, and descend back through the climbing route, rather than Ingraham Direct; I think the rockfall danger is less than the icefall danger.

The little bar in the train car in Elbe is friendly; they don't mind smelly climbers, and it's convenient.


Gear Notes:

crampons, helmets, no nitro.

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Sweet TR, Alpine_Tom! The "disco platform" comment cracked me up. yellaf.gif My snowman could use some more cuddling, too.


What I want to know is, why didn't you introduce yourself??

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Nice tr, Tom! You know I could not write it better smile.gif

Thanks for the 'platforms' cantfocus.gif


Regarding the rainfall in the hut - it started at about 9pm and was caused by warm air produced by stoves that run almost constantly till 10-11 pm... Next time I would stay closer to the snowman or sleep in the tent.


Great climb but it's melting out rapidly. I can only imagine how good it was few weeks ago with more snow.


Tom and Aaron:



Crater rim:


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Note the pied en canard foot position, the key to safe glacier photography.

God DAMN, look at that background! Great photo, Alex!

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