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jstluise

Gib Ledges Route Info:First Timer (on this route)

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My climbing partner and I are planning a climb next week (Thurs 6-16 thru Sat). We were going to just go up the DC like usual, but I saw that the Gib Ledges route is still in good shape (as of 6/1). IF the route is still okay by next week, we want to give it a go.

 

This will be the first time on the route, so any advice would be great! Besides being quick through the ledges I couldn't find anything else.

 

Also, how about staying at the beehive? Good idea?

 

This will be the earliest we've been up on the mountain. Usually we hit it mid/late summer. Especially with the current conditions it is more like winter. What additional gear (besides warmer clothing) is recommended? I assume we should both be carrying avy gear (shovels/beacons)?

 

Thanks for the info. I hope the route stays okay...I guess I'll know more by this weekend. We'll assess the route when we get up there. There is always DC, but it would be nice to change it up a bit.

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Get up early and get through the ledges as efficiently as possible.

 

A rope and protection will slow you down. If you and your partner are not comfortable soloing the ledges, you may want to reconsider. The ledges while not technically difficult are somewhat exposed.

 

Once past the chute, there is a nice little rock rib to stop and rope up on. I recommend putting on a rope here, if not for the chute as well. There are monster crevasses between here and the crater.

 

Descend a different route to avoid crossing under Gib Rock in the heat of the day.

 

I don't think avy gear is really necessary. If you get avalanched off of the route I wouldn't expect to live. But if you don't mind carrying the weight you can never be too safe, right?

 

Stay at Camp Muir. It will be the most comfortable and allows for a straight forward descent via the DC or Ingraham Direct.

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Great! Thanks for the info. After reading some trip reports it seems navigating the ledges without protection is common.

 

Good idea about camping at Muir! I probably wouldn't even have realized that we'd have to climb back up to the beehive until until we returned from DC... :mad:

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Great! Thanks for the info. After reading some trip reports it seems navigating the ledges without protection is common.

 

It is. And for most of the actual Ledges, falling would result in serious injury or death. So either rope up *and* place running protection, or simul-solo and don't fall.

 

The route up to the entrance to the Ledges most often stays on the climber's left side of the Cowlitz. I've seen descriptions of routes that stay near the crest of the cleaver and also on the south side of the cleaver. Cracks and moats form just a few yards above Muir, so be alert.

 

At the entrance to the Ledges you'll descend a few feet, passing the famous giant eye-bolt. From there you walk along the section I call "The Balcony", which has minimal exposure. You go past a rib and the exposure starts. Here you may descend just a bit to pass the spot where the old route fell away decades ago. When possible, climb back up on snow to the base of Gib Rock...DO NOT continue downward. Once back up against Gib Rock follow it to the exit chute; it's not far.

 

DSC02249.JPG

 

In this pic the Ledges start above the large rock buttress with the near-vertical left edge. The pinch point along the green line is where you step across the rib. The Balcony is to the right, and the spot where you climb back up is to the left, nearly directly above where the red ski line leaves the fall line of Gib Chute.

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DPS definately has some good advice in his post. Heed all of it.

 

I have some recent experience on Gib Ledges (6/5), and I would say that I found the exposure significant. Now, this is a matter of opinion, and is heavily influenced by a person's level of experience I suppose. I have quite a bit, my parter not as much... My partner and I did do some belaying with pickets, and a couple running belays as well, and got from Muir to the top of Gib Chute in just over 5 hours. Yeah, I suppose that might be a bit slow, we left Camp Muir right at 0100 and would have had ample time left to get to the summit by 0800 - 0900 or so if we were both going well, and didn't have weather moving in on us. I do recommend descending the DC route. That's what we did. The guides have it wanded, and fixed ropes down the cleaver for you :-)

 

FYI, I think the party in front of us (6) did some belaying, the party behind us (2) did not... There were also others choosing not to do the route at all, after having a look, due to some interesting snow conditions. Such as a few inches of sugary snow under a bit of ice in spots, in other spots we had to use our ice axes to get purchase for making moves where frozen rock and ice met along the route...

 

We had 100' of 8.5m rope and a picket each. I carried an ice screw just in case. We were rigged for crevasse rescue of course, but the crevasses we saw were not difficult to navigate. No Av becons...

 

Right now Gib Ledges is in great condition IMHO, and we thoroughly enjoyed it! You're right, conditions are indeed very wintery up there. I highly recommend you go have a look, and make your best decision.

 

I apologize for not doing a tr or providing pics as my camera was not available during the most exposed parts of this climb. There were some pretty impressive hero shots in there had I better prepared... sigh

 

When we got back to Muir we talked to a guy from one of the other parties that climbed it that day also, he characterized it as "spicey"... A well placed adjective is a beautiful thing...

 

Good luck!

 

d

 

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Regarding the exposure, I think it is safe to say that a fall from almost anywhere along the ledges would ruin your climb.

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Gib Ledges:

 

gibledges.jpg

1: Start of Ledges

2: Balcony

3: Rib

4: Upclimb

5: Exit chute

6: Top of chute (about 12,700')

 

 

Eyebolt at entrance:

 

eyebolt.jpg

 

Balcony and rib from eyebolt:

 

balconyrib.jpg

 

Balcony (looking back toward the eyebolt):

 

balcony.jpg

 

Climbing up to rejoin the base of Gib Rock:

 

middlesection.jpg

 

Exit Chute:

 

exitchute.jpg

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Nice pictoral. Good to know where your body would end up should you fall off.

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I was up there years ago on a day when a dude rode the range from the top of the exit chute. He somehow walked away with minor injuries and ended up just a couple hundred yards from Muir. 12,700 to 10,000 in 30 seconds...

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There is way more snow up there now than shown in these pics btw...

 

Man, where was all this beta before we left?!

 

d

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Low=very bad.

 

Middle, across the top of the snow finger=good.

 

Upper seam, with snow along half of it= location of old ledge that fell away, and spot that is easy to end up at on the way down if you aren't paying attention.

 

Some of these pics are from December 2009 and some are from May 2009.

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Excellent beta! Thanks guys!

 

We might consider a running belay. It would be the first time we have done it. All the other times on the DC and Emmons any protection was unnecessary. I guess we'll see how it looks when we get up there.

 

From the looks of the pictures, this looks like the correct route on the balcony:

 

hkImj.jpg

D7oJi.jpg

Edited by jstluise

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Looks like the route is still in good shape and should be next week (report yesterday on blog). Here is the picture they posted. Can someone tell me where this picture was taken from? It looks to be somewhere at the beginning of the ledges...you can see footprints on the right of the screen.

 

Gib%2BLedges_.jpg

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I think that is the last part of the ledges with the chute visible between the seracs on the left and the rocks on the right.

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That looks like it's taken just South from the end of the Cowlitz cleaver, near the notch between it and Gib rock.

 

This "notch" is where in the pic below the line goes from solid to dashed and is basically

where you leave the Cowlitz side (pic 2) and drop to the Nisqually side (pic 1) of the cleaver.

 

The solid line in pic2 is the dashed line in pic 1.

 

 

route23.jpg

 

route12.jpg

 

From a different angle:

Looks like the photographer was standing to the R of the rocky point on the R edge of the pic below,

taking a pic toward the climber.

The "notch" I keep talking about would be to the L of this

rocky point and this is where the cleaver meets Gib rock.

 

P1060779.JPG

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