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cova

NW Noob

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NW NOOB here,

Coming out from the 'Rado in early June to sample some of your Volcanoes and have a few questions RE: Ptarmigan Ridge in June.

The plan is to attempt Ptarmigan Ridge the first or second week of June and after reading some of the prior posts on this board, I am looking more closely at our choice for time of year.

The plan is this:

Day 1: White River to Curtis Ridge camp

Day 2: Curtis ridge to High camp (10,300)

Day 3: High camp up and over, descend Emmons Glacier to White River.

My questions are regarding the time of year and the slog I can expect. I am aware that weather conditions are highly fickle this time of year.

Is it too early in the year for this route?

Is it going to be a snow slog approach? (High snow year, this year I am guessing)

Will the route even be in shape yet(all snow, no ice)?

Are we stupid for even thinking of climbing this route in June?

 

Any info is helpful and I know it is hard to predict anything in the future when it comes to your sweet, sweet mountains.

 

Flame On!

Edited by cova

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Is it too early in the year for this route?

No.

Is it going to be a snow slog approach? (High snow year, this year I am guessing)

In early June, yes, it will be a snow slog approach.

 

Will the route even be in shape yet(all snow, no ice)?

Are we stupid for even thinking of climbing this route in June?

The route will be in shape. Can't say how much of the route will be snow verus ice, but I would be prepared for a lot of ice climbing. I think as long as the weather is decent, June is a good month to attempt it. One thing concerns me though, you mentioned you are a NW noob and are from Colorado. If your climbing experience is limited to Colorado, I would suggest you attempt a different route for your first time on Rainier.

 

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Thanks for the response!

Why would you suggest a different route for the first time on Rainier? I like "climbing" more than "snow hiking".

My partner has previously summited 2 other routes, so has more experience on Rainier.

Again thanks for the insight.

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I suggest a different route for a number of reasons.

 

-In early June the weather is not super stable and periods of high pressure can be fleeting. The question becomes do you want to spend good weather windows approaching or climbing. Doing something like Fuhrer Finger or Kautz Glacier offers a short approach and interesting climbing. I suspect that if you climb Rainier by any route you won't be disappointed. You specificallyt said you don't like "snow hiking". Well, doing Ptarmigan in June will entail three days of snow hiking for 2,500 feet of "climbing".

 

-There are routes in the Cascades that do not sound terribly difficult by the ratings, e.g. NE Buttress of Johanesberg, Torment-Forbidden Traverse, Ptarmigan Ridge on Rainier, but are in reality complex, committing routes. I'm not saying you aren't capable of climbing these routes, just that if this is your first time to the range, it makes a sense to do routes with a lot of bang for your buck.

 

-I also have a standard disclaimer for visiting climbers: Make alternate plans should the weather on Rainier be inclement. Yes, I know you came out here specifically to do the big R, but Rainier can be getting nuked while other areas in the range have decent weather, especially on the east side of the crest. Mt Stuart, Dragontail, Colchuck Peak, and Washington Pass can all have better weather than Rainier.

 

 

Edited by DPS

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Thanks again for some great info!

We are flexible and have budgeted quite a few extra days to shuffle our plans depending on weather. We will be in the NW for a little over two weeks and have some other objectives as well, Ptarmigan was the only one we were questioning.

Thanks for some alternative area suggestions in the range!

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Hey there, I want to add on to this. I am a local and am planning Sunset Ridge June 2,3,4. Do you have any insight on this climb? It looks stellar and despite a long approach seems like a good pick. Have been up Rainier several times and know all to well about our weather... I am more concerned about the snow we are getting now and how much warming we will have by early June.

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I would like to add that you are from Colorado, and therefore crap in the eyes of the NW climbing community.

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I would like to add that you are from Colorado, and therefore crap in the eyes of the NW climbing community.
Hey sweetie, 8 posts in an that's all you got. :fahq: ass munch :rolleyes:

 

Enjoy it cova. It's an awesome place, like no where else on the planet.

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I would like to add that you are from Colorado, and therefore crap in the eyes of the NW climbing community.

Don't feed sad, it is called the 'Seattle Freeze' and most new comers experience this to some degree or another. After a few years you'll be treated just like a local; with polite indifference.

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I would like to add that you are from Colorado, and therefore crap in the eyes of the NW climbing community.

Finally! I was waiting for the flaming about Colorado. That piece of bait was just sitting there for way too long!

Still looking forward to coming out there, I will just disguise myself in flannel and an attitude ripe with teen angst to seem more local.

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Too early?

No. For the NF routes I would look to be climbing them as soon as White River TH opens - pending good weather and conditions.

 

As far as the "snow slog" approach. Are you trying to avoid walking on snow? Kinda hard to avoid on Rainier. :)

If White River is open many people will be heading in to climb Lib Ridge = tracks. Even more people will be hiking into Schurman = mega tracks into glacier basin. You'll have a good chance of having a boot pack all the way to the Carbon so I'd lean towards leaving the snowshoes behind unless there is lots of new recent snowfall (and if that's the case then there might be other issues to worry about).

 

As for June conditions. Hard to tell although I think it's looking like we might have a season like last, where there was plenty of snow on the NF routes into July (enough for folks to ski Lib Ridge), as opposed to the warm spring we had in '09 where there was lots of bare ice by the end of May.

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Giver hell if a low lander from N Idaho can go there for his first time and do Lib Ridge. Then surely some green team can go and do Ptarm. We went in May 06 from Ipsut no snow shoes and we had no tracks beat in to follow. The Seattle group always seems like the all knowing Oz when it come to Big R suprised the nay sayers aren't all over this. Its their mountain don't ya know! All joking aside I hope you have a good trip. You never know unless you go!

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