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minnesotamac

Kautz Glacier for August 18th?

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I'm planning on hitting up the Kautz Glacier route on August 18th with three others. Any ideas on what I should bring that's out of the ordinary - pickets, screws, etc? What will the ice chute be like? Good snow or solid ice? Is the glacier itself heavily crevassed or is it easy to route find? Any information at all would be great. Start up times, bivy sites, access to the route, etc. I have Mike G's guidebook but it doesn't give much as to getting to the route. Good first ascent route or do you have any other alternatives. Thanks a lot.

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We just did the Kautz last weekend, 15th - 16th and it was a blast, we were the only people on the route all day and when we summitted we heard stories of 1 1/2 hour waits on the Emmons, so glad we didn't have to wait there.

 

We started hiking from Paradise around 9AM and it took us 8-9 hours to get to our camp right around 10,900 feet and there were great camp sites at the top of the Turtle. There is running water up there, but fill up at night as all the little streams freeze over at night and make it a bitch to fill up before the climb.

 

To get to the ice chute there is actually a rappel sling that allows you to avoid going all the way up to Camp Hazard and below the Ice Cliff. It is just below a red rock outcropping, I think it's the last one you can see before the Ice Cliffs and there's actually a climbers trail right to it. You can also come back this way with just a little easy climbing. It saves a lot of time and effort.

 

From here you cross the run-out chute for the Ice Cliffs very quickly and get to the first of the ice chutes (get up there early enough so you can scope it out the day before). The ice was a lot longer and more water ice than we expected. Although the actual water ice is only about 100-feet it's probably about 2 sections of 300 ft. ice that you'll want to protect to feel comfortable.

 

We simul-climbed it with 3 ice screws, but were wishing we had a lot more and we were all novices on ice. After you get above the second ice section it's pretty simple to get up top. Crevasses were minimal and route finding was simple. We got up at 1AM and reached the summit right around 10AM.

 

Getting down was another story as the ice chutes did not soften up enough to step down, so we had to do mulitple rappels to get through it. Be prepared for this and be prepared to leave gear. There is gear on the route, but I'm sure it gets grabbed pretty quickly, but keep your eyes open. One post-thought that we had is that it would have been great to haul another rope and stash it at the top of the ice and then be able to do a full length rappel down. It would have made it much easier and quicker.

 

Once you get back to camp, prepare for glissade heaven, about 2000' of vertical can be accomplished just by sitting on your butt. I'm sure it will be a fair bit more ice since you're going in mid August.

 

Good luck and if you want you can check out our pics here:

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fixiewrek/sets/624120/

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Getting down was another story as the ice chutes did not soften up enough to step down, so we had to do mulitple rappels to get through it. Be prepared for this and be prepared to leave gear. There is gear on the route, but I'm sure it gets grabbed pretty quickly, but keep your eyes open.

 

Did it seem like v-threads would have worked, or too soft for that ? Also just curious about what kind of gear was left ... wondering about what seems to hold best there.

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WE needed a handful of ice screws this past weekend and a v-thread tool would be a great idea (we did not have one - duh!). No need to rope up below hazard--the route crosses the Nisqually glacier in a very safe spot if you head to the fan and then follows the edge of the Wilson Glacier on snow fields and rock ridges. Routefinding is straightforward (with good visibility!). A second tool is a good idea.

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Did you need any snow pickets or not?

 

Don't base your decision on whether to take any on what someone did last week. You've got 3 weeks of warm weather between now and then, so current conditions don't mean much. Things will probably open up more up high.

 

Take what you need to get yourself out of trouble, if it should find you.

 

-kurt

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A v-thread tool would have been awesome, now that I know what it is! Screws held great, and we did use snow pickets when we were there for rapping from the snow onto the ice where it was still pretty steep. A second tool was pretty essential for the climb. This route will definitely change with the hot summer temps we have going on right now, so be ready for more ice than not.

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Completed Kautz 8/13/04 and both pitches in the chute were ice covered. Fixie is right-on with the description of good sites at the top of the Turtle, as well as rappel below Camp Hazard. Route descriptions of this segment seem to change dramatically from July to August, so prepare for ice. We started at Comet Falls instead of crossing over from Paradise (the scenery makes up for elevation loss). We used screws, fixed lines, and pickets. There were no crevasse hazards 'til you start to see the summit. BTW- Coming down the Kautz is a bitch.

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A friend and I are planning to do this route this weekend, would it be that dangerous with only 3 screws? We're both new but I've practiced at the coleman twice now, putting in screws on the flat is cake but I think it would be tough while climbing on the vertical. Looking at that picture, are there multiple lines such as to the right of the chute, that have more ledges to belay from? Also no one answered whether the ice was good enough for a v-thread?

Thanks!

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i haven't done that route, but if i was going i would take more than 3 screws based on what i've read. won't hurt you to carry a couple/few more. also, not sure what your plan was, but when i was at paradise last weekend the rangers were saying NOT to camp at hazard. have a great climb and take pics please! grin.gif

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A friend and I are planning to do this route this weekend, would it be that dangerous with only 3 screws? We're both new but I've practiced at the coleman twice now, putting in screws on the flat is cake but I think it would be tough while climbing on the vertical. Looking at that picture, are there multiple lines such as to the right of the chute, that have more ledges to belay from? Also no one answered whether the ice was good enough for a v-thread?

Thanks!

 

The ice pitches on the Kautz aren't vertical. Maybe 45-50 degrees. You should be able to chop a ledge where you need it. There are places where the ice is good enough for a v-thread.

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I climbed the Kautz on 7/18. We used screws and pickets

on the ice pitches. The pickets were nice as a few spots

were soft. We rapped off of bollards on the way down.

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Do yourself a huge favor by not strapping half the REI inventory to your back. The couple of times I've done the Kautz GL. route, I was astounded at the packs some folks were lugging--enough to make a seasoned sherpa do a double take! Basic glacier travel and crevasse rescue equipment should suffice to get you through what is essentially a well-beaten boot track over a moderate snow climb.

 

Of course, the neat thing about the Kautz is that it offers some more sporty options en route. Here's a crappy pick from one of our trips about 15 years ago....

 

rainier4.jpg

 

--cheers bigdrink.gif

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goatboy, we werent planning to do the ice cliff, just the ice chute to the left of it. From fixie's pix it looks just about soloable...

But from the pictures I'm seeing, the more screws we have the more fun we can get into.

 

we were planning to descend the DC so are going super light. I'm thinking of sleeping (or probably not sleeping any wink.gif ) on the rope without a sleeping bag, just in a space blanket since I dont have a bivy sack but my partner does. Anyone have any similar bivy experiences that might sway me towards a different bivying tactic?

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that should be a great time to go. There are plenty of excellent, graded tent sites below "camp hazard", maybe 15 minutes below the drop to the ice chute. Potential flowing water too. Bring a 2nd tool for the leader!

I recommend going light and carrying over--thus avoiding downclimbing/rapping the ice and getting to see another side of the mountain. You mentioned being a Rainier first timer, but I figure you have some glacier and ice and steep snow experience to be considering this route...right?

 

Here's a photo of the exposure to be expected on the ice chute as well as a link to my cc.com trip report last August:

kautz report aug 2004

 

6016climbing_ice_chute.jpg

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I heard from a friend who tried this route last weekend that the turtle is a very loose and unappealing moraine and that the wilson is too cracked up to travel on. He said I should take the lower trail. Anyone know if the route accross the nisqually is still in? also does anyone know if the last bit to the summit is heavily crevassed now? I'll be calling the rangers too, thanks for the beta everyone!

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The approach through the Fan is still doable, but the Nisqually is covered in piles of dirty, icy rubble. Coming up through Van Trump Park, though longer, is much prettier and nicer going in general. The upper part of the route is not badly crevassed, but the cracks that are open are big and have sketchy snowbridges. Angle toward the saddle between Point Success and Columbia Crest and you'll cruise it.

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