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JERRY_SANCHEZ

MT. RAINIER CONDITIONS

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Don't count on any of the routes being in unless it is cold and stays that way! The routes this weekend were good until about 10:00am sun. when the saturated snow started comming down. Furher finger was is great shape until it warmed up. The upper layers of snow are very water saturated and very heavy. Get an early start.

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MY FRIEND AND I WENT UP TO CAMP MUIR THIS SATURDAY (MAY 13) AND IT WAS WINDY AS HECK UP THERE. THERE WAS SEVERAL PARTIES WE SPOKE TO THAT ATTEMPT ROUTES BOTH INGRAHAM DIRECT AND GIBRATOR LEDGES ROUTES. THEY SAID THE ROUTES ARE "IN" AND GOOD CONDITIONS BUT DUE TO STRONG WIND, THEY HAD TO TURN BACK JUST SHORT OF THE SUMMIT. RIGHT NOW THE RANGER SAYS THE SNOW CONDITIONS IS LIKE MID-JUNE AND THE ROUTES ARE GOOD. RMI GUIDES HAVEN'T PLACE THEIR ROUTES IN YET BUT I HEARD THEY WILL START SOON. THE RANGER ALSO SAYS THAT RIGHT NOW IT WOULD BE A GOOD TIME TO CLIMB AS THERE WILL BE TOO LITTLE SNOW IN LATE JUNE TO JULY.

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Summitted via the Ingraham direct route this past Sun. There were 60mph winds all sat nite until Sun 4am when it suddenly became quiet. By 7 am Sun, many climbers (about 20 that day from Muir) were on their way up. The ID route had bootmarks and wands all the way to the top. However, with the recent warm weather, the route was treacherous in certain sections: Narrow suspect snow bridges (a mistep here and there outside the boot tr ackscould punch thorough the bridges; also had to jump 3 crevasses (2-3 ft). I think this route is going to disappear early this year. With the snow Rainier is getting this week, the bridges may turn more treacherous by covering holes with a shallow layer and obliterating the boot tracks.

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bronco,

thinking of doing the kautz. the weather might not hold up. we will see what happens!!!!

Aidan

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I was one of the parties that turned back from Muir this past weekend. Jim Wickwire was up there, too and he turned around. Not worth it in the condiditons that were approaching. I'll try again first week in June.

I only saw one set of tracks going up the Hazard route, but on the way back I saw much more slide activity into the Hourgalss. I would wait until the snow really stablizes before attemeting the Kautz (my orignal route for the weekend which we decided NOT to do).

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NOW THATS WHAT I CALL BETA. But seriously, Ive never done the route before so I dont really know what Im looking for in the picture. How does it look compared to other years at this time? Were going to attempt it on Memorial day weekend. Im just wondering if it will go.

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the weather does seem to be getting into a good patern. rain at the start of the week and stoping mid week, then some warm days near the end. this does allow the snow to settle somewhat. i am just hoping that the conditions will allow an attempt.

Aidan

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The normal ramp through the Carbon looks dicey but I bet it will go- it might take some persistance and creativity. I once had to climb down into one jumbled crevasse and climb out the other side in there.

But I have to say, its been a long time since the lower ridge looked that rocky in early May. In fact I can't believe how much exposed rock there is right now in general, especially compared to 1999 (the big snow year). If it's warm the lower ridge is, and will be this year particularly, a rockfall hell. Be careful.If you do make it onto the ridge I wouldn't be surprised to find a whole lot of exposed ice on the upper ridge.

By the way, that's a really great picture Phil.

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I was at Muir saturday with a friend, and we saw a party of 3 going to Kautz across the way, and they were going really slow, I bet they were sinking like we were once off the boot track, and there probably was no track there. The conditions aren't firm at all, and with this recent storm, and more snow means more of the same.

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Hmm - I've got a friend coming to climb Rainier in early August, and we were thinking of doing Ptarmigan Ridge - I wonder if that's going to be a little late this year. I guess I'm mainly worried about rockfall on the snow slope leading from the glacier up to the technical pitches. Does that snow slope ever melt out?

I get the feeling from stuff I've read that Ptarmigan Ridge has one of the longest seasons of the more technical routes - but maybe that's just because there isn't any nasty glacier to navigate through on the approach.

Phil

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Philfort GREAT image! i have an affinity for rainier stuff...

the carbon glacier looks ok to cross folks. i just flew over the route/glacier a few days ago. though the route up the glacier is circuitous, it does go. as "W" (does that stand for george as in "W" bush) said, you'll have to be creative.

"dubya" is also correct about the lower ridge. it is melted out more than normal for this time of year. the upper route, (ie, above thumb rock) however looks awesome. there's a LOT of ice in the gully outta thumb rock AND above the black pyramid. crossing the bergschrund looks straight forward.

ptarmigan ridge looks OUTSTANDING for climbing!!. the non glaciated approach is straight up, and both route variations (the variations above 12,500) are in excellent shape. again, lot's of exposed ice, great climbing. the climbing conditions look a bit stiffer than normal and that's very exciting. the rock band on the "climbers right" variation is rather significant (ie, 20-40 feet). some years its much shorter. and the ice on the "climber's left" variation looks really good. it's about 3, possibly 4 pitches.

the mountain's looking good for alpinists in search of ice...

gauthier

 

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kautz route

again, it's looking good. though there was ice on route, most of it could be avoided. i'm mostly talking about the two steep pitches that allow access to glacier above.

a few warnings though, i've always felt that the approach to camp hazard is prone to avalanche. climbing up "the fan" off of the Nisqually glacier, traversing north from there and climbing up onto the ridge crest above the Wilson glacier, and then again climbing up the turtle, are all suspect areas!*. we received a foot or more of snow this week, so play it safe...and bring your snowboard... ; )

don't camp at camp hazard, it's TOO dangerous!!! camp below it a few hundred vertical feet on "climbers left" of wapowety cleaver. avoid being under the ice cliff. that cliff will sluff off, and i've seen it slide down the ENTIRE turtle...

gauthier

 

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I was up looking at the Ptarmigan in mid-August last year. It was in pretty bad shape the lower section of the route was covered with fallen rocks and a bergshrund ran right across the face. I'd guess this year would be worse as there's less snow to start with.

Liberty "She Go!" but the warm weather is going to make the approach much more like hard work but most of the glaciers are still in reasonable shape - no huge holes to fall in yet.

 

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Climbed Rainier with a friend through the Gib Ledges route last Sunday. Encountered very strong winds (gusting to 50 mph - felt like a hundred at times). Worst was in the chute. Good snow early in the day but turned rotten at the ledges on the way back (2:00 PM) - we started late (6:30 AM) hoping that the winds will die down a bit. Great route to do this time of year. Has anyone done Lib Ridge recently? Would appreciate some fresh beta.

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On the way up (6:30 to 12:30) the snow was good. On the way down (1:00 to 3:00) it was heavy in the chute and rotten (sugary) on the ledges. Pickets are useless on the ledges and marginal in the chute. If you want to protect the ledge traverse bring few slings - there are few horns that looked solid. If it is warm move fast and don't look up (or down).

Bring few wands to mark where the ledges end and you go in the chute - will help you on the way back down to avoid a false ledge that dead ends (or turns into class 5 on rotten rock)

 

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Phil,

I was on Ptarmigan Ridge last August. The upper rock bands were a shooting gallery. Early season is definitely safer.

Dan

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We were on Liberty Ridge the weekend of May 12th. The Carbon goes, but the route we took accessed the ridge on the west side, not the east side as shown in most of the guide books. Got as high as Thumb Rock, then awoke to windy conditions and fresh snow, so made a retreat. Like Mike said, it looked really icy above Thumb Rock, but we talked to a couple of guys who had climbed it the previous Thursday, and they said it was solid.

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