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Kraken

[TR] Mount Rainier- Gibraltar Ledges 3/24/2005

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Climb: Mount Rainier-Gibraltar Ledges

 

Date of Climb: 3/24/2005

 

Trip Report:

 

I arrived at the parking lot at noon with my partner Andy (Soggyendo38, who I met on CascadeClimbers.com) and we proceeded to get ready. It was nearly whiteout conditions all the way up to Camp Muir, as we could tell. A foot of new snow blanketed the ground and with snowshoes we started out to the 10,200 foot level from Paradise (5,500 feet). We made first tracks all the way up to Muir, thinking no one else was up there.

 

We were making good time and passed a group of four other climbers who seemed exhausted at about 6,800 feet. I experienced cramping in my quads and hamstrings at about 8,000 feet and had to stop every few minutes and stretch them out. I knew this would impede any summit attempt. I didn't understand why my body was responding this way since I had kept myself extremely hydrated and had been eating tons of fruit and stuff days before the climb.

 

7679Clint_at_Camp_Muir.JPG

Me at Camp Muir (a stone hut)

 

We made it to Muir by 6:20 PM and found a group of six climbers (their gear only) in the hut, as well as one seperate guy named Bruce. We melted snow, cooked dinner, and discussed the nasty conditions so far as well as the low probability of a summit attempt.

 

At 7 PM, four of the six climbers returned after summiting the mountain and discussed the awfully exposed conditions on the Nisqually route. It was heavily crevassed and either really icy or really powdery.

7679Anvil_and_moon.JPG

Moon behind Anvil Rock

 

At 8 PM the other two climbers from the other group returned, obviously pooped and exhausted. We continued to eat and converse with the other climbers and I nursed my legs and did everything I could to make them better.

 

I walked outside to gather more snow to melt and noticed that in a period of 10 minutes the entire sky had cleared and nothing but the moon and stars hung in the sky. Gibraltar Rock and our line of ascent lay visible many thousands of feet above, while an ocean of clouds blanketed the terrain below.

 

By 9:40 PM, we were in bed, now much more hopeful of the following day's probability of a summit attempt.

 

We awoke at 2:10 AM and began getting ready. Bruce, the 49 year old climber we met that night asked if he could come along and we agreed. Roped up and ready, we started at 3:45 AM and climbed towards Gibraltar Rock. We made first prints the entire way up the mountain. We crossed the Gibraltar Ledges and stepped carefully across the sketchy parts. The sun rose and Mount Adams, Hood, and a smoking Saint Helens came up through the sea of clouds.

 

7679sunrise.JPG

huge rock ledge and ice fall

 

7679Cloudcover.JPG

Mt Adams rising above cloud cover (It was much closer in real life, camera distorted it)

 

7679Icefall.JPG

Huge ice fall at least 100 feet tall. 13,000 feet

 

We climbed for hours and made pretty good time. Bruce was the slower one of the group and fell a few times. At one point he punched through a crevasse and we arrested. He was able go reach out (he only went in to his shoulders).

 

We stopped at 12,500 feet at the top of Gib Rock and rehydrated and ate Gu.

 

After several false summits, we finally came to the top and rejoiced. We took off our packs, unroped, and looked to the south at the surrounding mountains. My camera continuously froze up and didn't allow me to take many photos.

 

7679Bruce.JPG

Bruce at 12,500 feet.

 

7679Andy_and_Bruce.JPG

Andy and Bruce @ 12,500 feet

 

We relaxed at the top for a while, before crossing the summit crater to reach the true summit across the top. Wading through knee deep powder, I screamed a 'woo-hoo' and raised my ice ax as I reached it. Andy came second, followed by Bruce a few minutes later. We found the summit log and wrote our names and a brief message in it.

 

7679Clint_summit.JPG

on top of the mountain, below true summit

 

7679Summit_Crater.JPG

Crossing summit crater to summit

 

7679Summit_Shot_14410ft.JPG

Summit shot, standing at 14,411 feet

 

We descended the same route, picking up our wands along the way. Bruce fell a few times and we arrested, but nothing super serious. We were however worried about him as we came down the ledges, since they were trecherous and there were no places to arrest. He did OK however and I was quite relieved when we passed the steep and rocky chutes which would have meant certain death.

 

Several large rocks came VERY close to hitting us as we crossed under the giant Gibraltar Rock. We saw Camp Muir and it took us nearly two hours to get to it. When we did, we were exhuasted, but packed up as the sun set.

 

Two long hours, 4,200 vertical feet, and 4.5 fast paced miles later, we finally arrived at our cars, only to find the gates to the park locked. We were prisoners in the park and were mad. We walked to an Inn, only to find out they had the combo to the lock. We were freed and drove home. I drove Andy home, then took a series of power naps, arriving to my parents' house at 3:30 AM...absolutely exhausted and suffering awful throat pains. My face was extremely red from sun and wind burn and I look like a ChumbaWumba.

 

It was an amazing trip and my first big mountain experience. This was Andy's fifth time summiting Rainier and I'm really glad the two of us met. We summited Rainier...in the Winter none the less, and made first tracks the entire way up the mountain. I feel we climbed the mountain at it's purest. No crowds, no boot packed trails up to the summit, no guides. Just pure mountaineering. It couldn't have been any better.

-Clint

 

Gear Notes:

Crampons, ice ax, helmet, rope, prusik loops, snowshoes (MSR Denali's), locking biners, lots of Gu, etc

 

Brought two anchors but never used them.

 

Approach Notes:

snowshoed up to Camp Muir from Paradise. About a foot of new snow and we made first tracks all the way up to Muir. Cramponed and roped up from Muir to summit from Gibraltar Ledges

Edited by Clintoris

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Congratulations, Clintoris! Nicely done!

I am surprised you got some sunny weather

out there.

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Great work. A little lucky in places. Bruce seemed a bit of a liability but not one I can judge sitting in a chair.

 

I think the common return route is Dissapointment Cleaver. The ledges are dangerous for the exact reason you experienced: rockfall.

 

Do you have any more pictures of the Ledge itself? I'd love to see them. We tried last Spring but were held back by weather. I would like to go back...

 

bigdrink.gif

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You lucky bastards. Hey Clintoris, I was going to be the “third” member of your team, but I told Andy I was going to bail at the last second because I thought you guys didn’t stand a chance in hell with the weather. Instead I went to L-worth and tried to remember how to climb rock. Well, Andy you can rub it in my face…I guess. Sorry about droping out. Good job, way to go! I am jealous. bigdrink.gif

 

Hey Andy, if you get this, let me know about Stuart. I got a way cool idea! wave.gif

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I am still jealous, cry.gif how did you guys get the weather? We didn't have that good of weather here in Ellensburg. Holy crap! tongue.gif

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haha! Yeah, I was beat after and had Andy drive my car back while I took a power nap for the 2 hour drive home to my house. We had a good time, you should have had faith!

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not according to those who I talked to. I'm counting it as a Winter summit due to the cold and 12+ inches of fresh snow. It was no spring/summer conditions

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not according to those who I talked to. I'm counting it as a Winter summit due to the cold and 12+ inches of fresh snow. It was no spring/summer conditions

 

Winter conditions, sure. But not technically a winter ascent. Good work regardless thumbs_up.gif. The photos make it look beautiful up there.

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who cares. we did it what... 2 days after? I read that it was a winter ascent as long as it was done in march. either way we still did it. I climbed the mountain to climb it to the top, not for a technicality.

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rolleyes.gif Apparently you care, since you are the one who tagged it a winter climb. If you want to read more about what does or doesn't constitute a winter ascent, take a look at this thread . Actual discussion starts on the fifth post.

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rolleyes.gif Apparently you care, since you are the one who tagged it a winter climb. If you want to read more about what does or doesn't constitute a winter ascent, take a look at this thread . Actual discussion starts on the fifth post.

 

Christ, you guys are worse than ISA 9000. I was up at Baker this weekend and it was dumping snow. Does that mean it was winter or spring? or should we call it 'winting'? is it only the date that matters? I think every time that you misuse a word we should point it out along with a thread on w-m.com of it being used correctly.

 

Great climb guys. Thinking about doing this same route first weekend of may. Oh wait. the 1st of May is on a sunday. Does that mean it's the first weekend of May or the last weekend of April? Pandora - Maybe you can point me to a thread of how to determine how i should correctly notate the weekend for the TR. How embarrasing it would be if i called my May ascent an April one! blush.gif

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haha, either way it really doesn't matter. We climbed it...whenever, in tremendous conditions. We are all proud of our performance. Enough said.

 

I'm still just utterly amazed we got that weather window. It just came out of nowhere. It was a gift from God.

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Sounds like a great time out! I think it is very cool of you to allow another person on your rope that you didn't know, though the experience exposes the risks of doing so....luckily without any consequences. That is an interesting topic unto itself.

 

But, again...great climb and great luck with the weather! thumbs_up.gif

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Haha, yes, you should be proud. I wasn't trying to denigrate your effort in the least; the only thing I was saying is that I agree with Fairweather that the calendar winter ends March 21, something that is non-negotiable.

 

Here is a thread about a good website for you to post about gifts from god: Climb4god thread .

wave.gif

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Andy and I both agreed that if given the chance we probably would have gone without Bruce. It was my fault actually. We woke up in the morning and Bruce asked and without thinking I blurted out "sure." After that it was kinda too late.

 

I guess it can be seen as climbing karma. Someday one of us may be in need and will get helped or allowed a rope up.

 

Oh well. It made things interesting. I still would have rather gone with just one person but whatever. It WAS my fault.

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I will bet Bruce feels the same way.It isn't a winter climb dweeb.If it was we would all know by the date. Damn.I have gone up there in late June with a foot of new snowfall as we were heading up the snowfield, must have been a winter climb though.You can have trophies made up here in town to bring back with you and show youyr friends

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It isn't a winter climb dweeb.If it was we would all know by the date. Damn.I have gone up there in late June with a foot of new snowfall as we were heading up the snowfield, must have been a winter climb though.You can have trophies made up here in town to bring back with you and show youyr friends

 

Thanks dweeb (so retro!). I wasn't one of the climbers, so i guess i don't get a trophy. One day when I'm man enough to go up while it's snowing in June I'll make sure to get a trophy. Can I get the details of your trophy so mine can look just like it?

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I wasn't trying to denigrate your effort in the least;

hanna wins the best vocabulary word of the day award! fruit.gifbigdrink.gifcantfocus.gif

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For stuff like Rainier, you never qualify it with "Rainier in Winter", you just say "Rainier in March". People who have been in/climbed in the NW will understand what "Rainier in March" means. Its a significant achievement!

 

My first attempt on Rainier was "Liberty Ridge in April". Although it was technically not winter and we had good weather much of the time, I still count it as one of my better trips! The epic potential was large, we had no tent, and ate salmon stakes and fresh veggies at Thumb Rock. Can't beat it!

 

Thats what the shitzallaboutyo!

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