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highclimb

What route for first time up Rainier?

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I am really lookin forward to this may and or june for maybe attempting RAinier. i have never been above 10,080 feet on its flanks and am scared but looking very much forward to moving higher. what routes do you suggest? want to get away from the crowds i.e. Emmons or Ingraham glaicer. do you think Liberty Ridge is a bad idea for your first time on Rainier because of the diffuculty of retreat?

thank you in advance

Aidan

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Aidian,

I would suggest the Emmons. Plenty of adventure for your first time up.

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Yo Aidan,

The Emmons is less crowded than the Muir and a good choice. If you have good glacier routefinding skills, the Tahoma Glacier is only a little steeper than the Emmons (in one place) and you'll be lucky if you see anyone on it. The approach is long and has more elevation gain, but this side of the mountain is really scenic.

Liberty is a great route however, not a good first choice to discover your high altitude climbing capabilities- as you say, retreating the ridge especially if ill could be risky. Good luck.

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i would also suggest the Emmons as the route of choice for a first try...long, and strenuous yet mostly a non-technical glacial climb..gives you a real sense of the vastness and mass of Mt. Rainier...choose you're time wisely and you'll miss most crowds...enjoy

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My first Rainier attempt was up the Emmonds, and I didn't like it much. It's a REALLY long hike in (and back out!), and the summit day is a long, steady, unrelieved slog up a 30-40 degree slope, with no variety, no change in scenery except to turn around every half hour and measure your progress against Little Tahoma.

A far more interesting climb is DC, spending the night on Ingraham flats. It's much more varied than Emmonds, and you're away from Muir, and the summit day is a bit shorter (and you don't have to traverse cathedral rock in the dark!)

Or, look at the Kautz Glacier or Fuhrer Finger routes, especially if you want to avoid the crowds. You'll want to do it with someone familiar with the route (which is good advice on ANY Rainier climb, probably) since there isn't a foot-deep trail to follow to the summit.

Good luck!

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I would recommend the DC or the Kautz, over the Emmons. The Emmons is reallllly boring, featureless 5000ft snow slog on 30 degree slopes (unless you do it late season when the crevasses get nasty). At least that's the way it was when I descended it last June - I think there were two tiny crevasses you had to step across.

The DC is much more scenic. More crowded than the Emmons, but hey, what's the difference between 100 other climbers, or 60 other climbers.

Never tried the Kautz, but I hear it's nice.

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My vote is for the Katuz.

When I did it on a super sunny sun/mon trip, there was one other party of three on the route. The chute is not much to worry about, even in August. Maybe a 100 feet or so of 50 degree glacier. You will certainly have a good experience on this route with no guides or clients in sight (except for the mule train up muir). From my experience on the kautz, it is best to go sharply right after the chute towards the Wapotoey (sp) cleaver. This avoids broken crevasse fields that run all the way up to ~13K.

Have fun and get ready to puke! smile.gif

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I'd say Kautz too - I did it last spring and I'd do it again. I liked it because you get to rope up on day one crossing the Nisqually giving you more of a sense of adventure than a full day of slogging on a trail. Overall, it's a interesting and scenic route, and no crowds.

 

Vegetablebelay

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OK GUYS ITS TIED UP

 

KAUTZ 4!

EMMONS 4!

 

DC 2!

but damnit...i wanted to climb liberty ridge this year wink.gif. I know i know.....to advandced for your fist time up rainier wink.gif.

Aidan

[This message has been edited by highclimb (edited 04-30-2001).]

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You noted that you were "scared" to move higher than 10,080' on Rainier, if so choosing Liberty Ridge for your first climb above that height may not be a good idea. I always choose the easier route when climbing a big mountain when possible, mainly so I can get a feel for things. What's to stop you from climbing Rainier twice this season? Do the DC or the Kautz and then try Liberty Ridge if you feel up to it. It's not a super technical route, but it's hard to retreat when your on the ridge and later season the rock fall danger increases.

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One vote for the Emmons. It is a long way to basecamp, but so is the Kautz. To Emmons you go through a forest, a meadow, then the Inter Glacier to base camp (camp shureman or the flats) The corridor is straight up, no zig zags for half the climb. There are enough people on the route, so you know where to go, there is no rock fall (had couple near misses on DC) and you come out on top, you don't have to cross the crater if you care about getting to the "true summit", and lastly, no RMI

Bill

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I've only done the Kautz, it offers:

1) The steep chute just out of camp hazard that makes the climb interesting.

2) A great continuous glissade from camp hazard all of the way down to the nisqually glacier.

3) A less crowded route in comparison to alternative.

Rgds

Rgds

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Dane,

i mean scared in the best possible way. i mean Rainier is a big mountain. it has been looming over my head since i was learning how to walk. the mountain just scares me. i mean its so big and the terrain is so vast. you could spend a lifetime there. and people do. so whne i wrote scared i meant it in a good way.

as for liberty ridge i know its a hard climb. i personaly dont want to do it for my first time up. BUT ITS SO GEORGOUS!!!! i know i am sick. all my friends say i should pay more attention to girls, but when we are driving by mount Rainier on a class trip and i get a good look at it i will stop the conversation at hand and just stare.......then of course all my friends start making fun of me wink.gif

KAUTZ 9!

EMMONS 5!

DC 3!

Aidan

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My first route up was the Kautz and I loved it. Hardly anyone else on that route. Not really that technical but it probably would be a good idea to go with someone familiar with the route.

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I would be cautious about going up the Kautz as your first route up Rainier, particular if it the first time for the whole group. I’ve done the route a few times, I don’t think it’s really all that steep in the ice chute, I’ve even boarded down it once, but when I took some people up the route that weren’t used to steep faces on big mountains they really were uncomfortable with the whole situation. The people that were uncomfortable had been up the Emmons route before so they weren’t completely green, it was just steeper and bigger than they bargained for.

If you’re considering doing Liberty Ridge for your first route up Rainier (I wouldn’t recommend that), then the ice chute on the Kautz probably won’t be that big of deal. Check conditions before you go (find out how icy the chute is) and be flexible (a route change at the last minute might be necessary if it’s reported to be icy).

I’ve been up the Emmons many times (I’ve lost count, 5?), I have never had to deal with crowds. The most number of people I’ve had climbing around my party was somewhere around 10-15. No lines, no aggravation, no traffic. They don’t issue enough permits for the Emmons/Winthrop camps to allow any crowds.

DC on the other hand, you are guaranteed crowds. From my experience and every report I have heard, you will run into a lot of “climbers”. If I remember correctly, the NPS will issue up to 250 permits (including RMI) for Camp Muir. That doesn’t include Ingraham Flats or some the alpine zone camps below Camp Muir. Most reports are something of the nature “You’re pissed at the group in front of you because they are slow. The group behind you is pissed because you are slow. There is little to no room to pass groups on DC, and if you do pull over, you have to wait until there is a gap in the endless stream of headlamps before you can start up again.” Other peoples reports may not be so dramatic, but if your looking to climb without dealing with a 100+ people on the route, DC is not the place to be. I’ve even run into crowds in December on DC.

My recommendation is for Emmons. It is beautiful not as beautiful as DC, but I personally like the hike in. It is fairly crowd free, particularly if you camp at Emmons Flats. I don’t know why people complain about Emmons being a long slog compared to DC, it’s only a half-mile longer and only a 1000’ more vertical than DC (and you do the extra vertical on trail). The trail actually makes it easier since you get to climb the first 2500’ on the trail. If you’re looking for more excitement, then wait till July or August before you go up. The open crevasses and bergschrund (there are quite a few big ones then) will give you plenty of excitement.

Tod

 

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You talk abou how i would want to change routes if it becomes icy.....what are you talking about. ICE IS THE BEST. and plus it reduces avalanche(sp). but about the exposure dont worry i would be fine with it. but thank you for the info.

 

Kautz 9!

Emmons 6!

DC 3!

keep it up. the information is great! thank you all.

one other thing. is desending the kautz difficult in anyway? except for the ice chute?

Aidan

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I second "W"s suggestion of the Tahoma. You won't see anybody but mountain goats. If you want something with easier access and you want to go before mid to late June try Gibraltar Ledge. You can leave after all the DC crowds have left and still beat them to the top. You'll have awesome views of the Nisqually Icecliff, and a little exposure along the ledge. If you don't feel comfortable descending it (or the sun comes out and wakes up the rockfall gnomes)you can descend the DC and check out that side. Just go early enough so that you don't get caught up in any rockfall. Have fun!

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Descending the Kautz is pretty straight forward. If whiteout is a problem then of course you want to take great care in making sure you go down the ice chute rather than the icefall.

If exposure is not a problem and you don't mind a longer route then Kautz is pretty fun. Since Camp Hazard is one of Rainier's highest camps (11,400')and the route is generally pretty long, I would recomend doing it in 3 days. It's much more enjoyable that way. Also, often times you can get meltwater at Hazard off the rocks below the icefall, just make sure you keep your head safe since there is a lot of ice and rock coming down where the water is usually flowing.

Tod

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Descending the chute is not bad depending on who you are with. If the people you are with are relatively experienced I would recommend descending unroped in case someone does slip. If anyone is uncomfortable with the steepness bring some screws/pickets in order to protect a roped descent.

It also depends on the conditions. If there is firm snow it's much easier to descend than if it were hard ice. I doubt if the conditions would be too icy earlier in the year but I would be ready for any conditions just in case. Probably would not hurt to wand any areas your not sure about up higher for ease of retreat in case weather blows in. Have fun.

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The Kautz is used as a descent route for a number of routes on that side so it's done pretty regularly.

Other than the chute it's pretty easy, but when you get to the bottom of the chute you round a corner on your left and head straight back up a gully to get back to Camp Hazard - all the while staring at the ice cliff above you. Move fast, and know that even Camp Hazard isn't free from occasional falling chunks.

Vegetablebelay

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this is so great. there has been no spam responses and i have goten my question answered.

any other routes people suggest or have they all been named.

Kautz 9!

Emmons 6!

DC 3!

Tahoma 2!

 

Aidan

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