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olemissrebel

Ingraham Direct on Sunday thru Wed?

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I’m on a 4-person team planning to climb the Ingraham Direct route between Sunday and Wednesday. Months ago we secured the time off work to climb during the week and added a few days for weather. Ideally we would camp at Muir Sunday and Ingraham Flats Monday with a Tuesday morning summit. With current events and the forecasted weather what do Rainier veterans think our plan? We all have formal mountaineering training, but this will be our first Rainier attempt. I’m not concerned with glacier travel or crevasse rescue, but more so the recent avalanche conditions. We will all have a beacon and a probe and will run through a few mock rescues before the climb. With so much time on our schedule we will actually go over all aspects of safety in regards to this climb before the summit attempt.

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I would recommend waiting for better conditions. Conditions are everything; post holing vs. cramponing, fun vs. scared, etc.

I have attempted Rainier too many times in scetchy conditions and had to bail. My preferred method is to wait until all conditions are as perfect as possible, then go for it, ignoring dates and schedules.

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I would call a park climbing rangers a day before and take a download regarding conditions... It seems like the mountain is loaded with snow, and you will be climbing 30 -40 degree slopes, the primary suspects for the avalanche... If conditions are not good I would wait... Your climbing will be much more enjoyable on a day with good visibility and blue skies :)

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If you have any thought that a becon and probes will be needed on Rainier because of the conditions you should not be on Rainier in those conditions this time of year.

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That's an interesting comment. A couple of weeks ago, one of our group asked a guide what he though of wearing Avalungs etc. He replied that yes, it's all good, but also that anyone who is looking down a slope and thinking they NEED the gear, has already made the first (and possibly fatal) mistake in judgment.

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Hmm, by that logic, you should NEVER carry a beacon and probe, then?

 

:crazy:

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If you have any thought that a becon and probes will be needed on Rainier because of the conditions you should not be on Rainier in those conditions this time of year.

 

Dane - Question about your response. Is this because Rainier is too dangerous this time of year in these conditions or is it because you and the other that have responded are relatively local and picking a different day to climb is less of a problem. as with the original poster I've planned a trip around climbing Rainier and would be willing to climb in conditions that locals might elect to stay home. If you had traveled some distance would your go/no go filter change about what conditions you were prepared to climb in. I'm also aware that you aren't guaranteed anything on Rainier and bailed-out last year when the mid-May weather kept us pinned-down. I'm coming back in a little over a week to try again and am prepared to turn around again if need be. I'm also pretty convinced that as much as I'd like to do the ID it's probably shut down and the cleaver will be the way to go. I've also got alternative plans to head over to Baker should Rainier look like a total sh!t show.

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Noobishly, I didn't interpret it that way at all. I wear seatbelts, rope up, wear helmets... But it they're all worthless if I start thinking that I can step a little too close to the fire, just because I have those backups.

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well, using the above analogy, if you think you need a seatbelt, then you've already made the first fatal mistake. :)

 

I get your point though. Just cause you have a beacon on doesn't mean you should be an idiot. But you can't really say, "if you think you need a beacon, don't go."

Edited by rob

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Rick,

OK...people should know better by now...but long answer :)

 

Gear does not make you safe. What is between your ears is what makes and keeps you safe. And that is coming from a confirmed gear whore.

 

The gear only helps you survive your bad judgement or acts of an unkind God.

 

My response was more concerned with the currrent conditions. It has been snowing up high here for 3 plus weeks now. Way out of the norm. I started posting that info a couple of weeks ago and was preaching caution because with the holiday weekend coming up everyone, including myself, is chomping at the bit to get back in the mountains.

 

The slide on Rainier was a classic example of what WILL happen. It was lucky more weren't killed Saturday morning.

 

So the thing on Rainier is this....serac avalanches aren't so easily predicted. When they fall a tranciever might be helpful but probes generally are not. Debris is too hard to probe through. Living or dying in a serac collapse is luck. I try not to spend much time under them.

 

Soft snow avalanches, human or naturally triggered, like last weekend can so easily be avoided. You just don't climb in these conditions. It is no secret and easily predicted. The conditions we have now are rare and obviously deadly on Rainier for the moment. The conditions will change. As soon as they do, I'll summit. Until then you couldn't get me out of the parking lot.

 

To answer Rob...Rainier in June isn't winter skiing. If you think the June conditions on Rainier right now require a beacon and probe you shouldn't be climbing IMO. Everyone is welcome to an opinion of course.

 

Look around and you'll see some of the locals here making fun of what we should or should not be climbing right now in the PNW. Some of the same guys who disageed with the snow condition predictions I was making two weeks ago. Fun sport until someone looses an eye right?...as long as it is not your eye.

 

FWIW the first 25 or so times I climbed Rainier all of them were planned from 300 miles away (C'dA actually) and booked months ahead of time. I did indeed summit in some bad weather on those trips and later ones.

 

And I have been turned around on Rainier a few times as well. Two reasons for the failures. Too warm and/or too much snow up high. And all but one were trips with folks coming long distance wanting to climb Rainier as their primary goal of the trip. So we tried anyway.

 

Missed this as well first time around. It may be hard to believe but my "go/no guage" is the same no matter my travel time or distance. And I have traveled a lot to alpine climb over the years. If anything I am way more conservative the farther I get away from home in the short term simply because I don't know the current local conditions, snow pack or weather first hand. And no matter what range I am climbing in they can and do change generally every season.

 

Rainier in June of 2010 is a great example. Hard for even the knowledgable locals to believe it is this bad.

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I just read that Seattle set an all time weather record yesterday - Latest date not reaching 75 degrees since January 1. To me, this says the snowpack above 10,000' has not had a chance to settle yet, at all.

 

I believe conditions will change pretty rapidly once it does warm up so don't rule out a Wednesday summit by what conditions are today. One of the fun things about mountaineering is constantly assessing conditions and adjusting your plans (route, gear etc.) to adjust risk factor in your environment. If it were me, I might camp out at Muir and talk to the rangers about conditions. This puts you in a good position for a summit attempt if the conditions present an opportunity to make an attempt. If it doesn’t work out, come back in July/August when the weather is better.

 

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Worth noting that literally the first sunrise after and actual sun to hit on the Ingraham Direct after the last storm cycle caused the most recent slide on Saturday. Natural release from the sun or human triggered in conjunction with the sun? Doesn't matter.

Easy to recognise the sun hitting a loaded slope would have a huge effect on stability.

 

Take a look at the video the skier took. Dark at Ingraham flats when he first starts filming and an incredible sunrise. 15 minutes later it is full light. Slide started 1500' feet above them....just as the sun hit the slope above and the maority of the victims were still in twilight. Pretty common occurance in the mtns on loaded slopes @ that angle and that exposure.

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Ricko, I think you hit on a good point.

 

I live 45 min. from the park. I always wait for perfect conditions to give it a shot. It took me a couple of years to fiqure that out though! An old climbing partner used to live in the south and would come out once a year to climb Rainier. With his considerable time and money investment he had a "summit or plummet" attitude that I just don't have.

 

That being said; I have been in an avalanche that I triggered(The Zipper on Lanes Peak). Youthful enthusiasm and inexperience were certainly factors. I have since learned to guage conditions and choose to avoid even moderate avalanche hazard. But it is a personal choice for each of us.

 

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I don't know what the official cause of avalanche was, but I do know this:

 

MOUNT RAINIER RECREATIONAL FORECAST

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SEATTLE WA

500 PM PDT THU JUN 10 2010

 

.SYNOPSIS...HIGH PRESSURE ALOFT WILL MOVE OVER THE REGION TONIGHT

AND PERSIST THROUGH SATURDAY FOR A WARMING AND DRYING TREND. THE

UPPER HIGH WILL MOVE EAST OF THE AREA ON SUNDAY FOR A TREND TOWARD

COOLER WEATHER.

 

&&

 

.TONIGHT...SHOWERS LIKELY. SNOW LEVEL RISING TO 5500 FEET.

.FRIDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS. SNOW LEVEL RISING TO 7000 FEET.

.FRIDAY NIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. FREEZING LEVEL RISING TO 10500 FEET.

.SATURDAY...MOSTLY SUNNY. FREEZING LEVEL 11000 FEET.

.SATURDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. FREEZING LEVEL RISING TO 12500 FEET.

.SUNDAY...SUNNY. FREEZING LEVEL 12500 FEET.

.SUNDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. FREEZING LEVEL 11000 FEET.

 

:noway:

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Forgot as OMR didn't ask the 2nd question. Great plan for getting up Rainier...it is just that the weather and conditions are really bad right now. That will of course change. I've had another inch of rain at my place just in the last 24hrs. No plan or anyone's skills is going to make that OK for the moment :) Time will, obviously.

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Rick,

OK...people should know better by now...but long answer :)

 

Rainier in June of 2010 is a great example. Hard for even the knowledgable locals to believe it is this bad.

 

Dane I appreciate your response. We are going to change our plans and go diving in cuba instead :wink:

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