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Kautz 7/22

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Did the Kautz on 7/22 in warm temps with a party of two. High camp on the Turtle at about 10,600. observed "microwave" sized blocks coming off the Kautz Icefall in the afternoon before our summit climb (2:30pm-5:30pm or so). For you sticklers---that's a medium to small microwave, nothing you could cook a turkey in.


Left high camp at 12:30 am. In the Icefall, just after you pass through camp Hazard there is a short cut. Rather than making the dogleg down the gully next to Hazard and then back up the steep stuff you can cut through the Icefall on a series of ice ledges. Cross the gully directly after Hazard and then look for a 30 ft serac on your right. Cut left of that serac and your exposure to the icefall will be drastically reduced. This also avoids the first "pitch" of steep snow in the Kautz Chute. (ask rangers for details).


The second pitch in the chute was exaggerated to us by many o' retreating parties. Go a bit climbers left and climb about 80 feet of 45 degree ice followed by more than 100 feet of 40-45 degree hard snow (pickets go in with some serious coaxing). The remainder of the route is straightforward. There is one sketchy snow bridge at 13,300 (at the crest of the Wilson Headwall).


We topped out at 6 am and were back through the icefall by 10:30 am. Ranger recommended not being in the icefall after 11--reasonable. We down climbed the steep part of the chute (thank you matt!!) Rapping and leaving stuff behind might be faster--?.


Also, climbed the Roman Mustache on Baker on 7/27 if anyone wants to hear about that.


all in all a beautiful week of PNW climbing for an easterner.

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latest from the weekend...the kautz is still a go but very dicey. we belayed for 5 pitches on the chute (admittedly excessive, running belays or even none at all would have been fine for 2 or 3 of these). there were several sketchy crevasse crossings both in the chute and on the upper kautz, may be impassable soon. the upper kautz was suncupped and very soft; we took a very slow and circuitous route after i popped through into a hidden crevasse. steep ice led up to point success. crossing to the crater from point success was long and tedious (very, very suncupped). we carried over and descended the dc, although the only other party on the route descended back down the kautz. yeesh.

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