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Drew Hecht

NOOB Questions: Disappointment Cleaver Late July

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Howdy All,

My first post here. I'm heading up disappointment cleaver in late July with a friend and was looking for some insider beta.

I would prefer to go as light as possible while maintaining reasonable preparation for the crud. It's been my experience that I over prepare (bring too much gear) for unknown mountains or regions I'm not yet familiar with and I'm hoping to avoid carrying superfluous weight. A little background: I've done other Cascade Mountains (Shasta / Hood) in spring and summer via non-standard routes. I've also done a bunch in the Sierra in all seasons.

 

Some of the questions I have are (assuming a fair weather report):

Tent: single wall or double wall Or Bivy Sack? How about my summit pack(Sleeping bag and Bivy sack or Down Jacket and a Trash bag)? Any advice for this route in July is appreciated. thanks!

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July (after July 5th) is the hottest month of the year and typically has very stable weather. That said, this is an unusual year.

 

My personal feelings are if the weather is fine, you can sleep out in a sleeping bag. If the weather sux, you want a tent, not a bivi sack. For your summit pack, bring a belay jacket, preferably a synthetic one, warm mitts, and a warm fleece hat. A shovel, a foam pad (most alpine packs have a removable foam back panel for emergency use) and a small butane stove kit add huge survivability at a cost of ~ 1 - 1.5 pounds per person, but is optional, especially if you start early, have good weather, and are willing to turn around if the weather turns foul.

 

I would go as light as possible, single wall tent or even a tarp. I own four shelters and use my BD Betamid 90%+ of the time, even on Rainier. Another option is the public shelter, which may or may not be full.

 

Here is what I would do; bring a light weight tent, single wall if you have it, and tarp if you have that too, and a light weight sleeping bag. When you register with the Rangers check to see if the public shelter is full. If it is not, leave the tent/tarp and bunk with 50 of your closest (new) friends. Bring earplugs and a sleep mask if you are a light sleeper. If the shelter is full, look at the weather forecast and bring the lightest tent/tarp that will do the job.

Edited by DPS

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DPS, thanks very much. I think I'll take your advice and see if there is room in the shelter. If not, I'll plan on bringing my single wall tent. By-the-way: the worst storm I've ever had the displeasure of being in was spent in my buddy's Betamid during snowstorm that turned into a hard freezing rain - great shelter!

 

Any other ideas for my trip up there - feel free.

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You picked a good time of the year for an attempt. The last week of July and the first week of August are statistically the driest weeks of the year. If you plan some flexibility into the exact dates you should have a high chance for success.

 

Depending on how you typically handle altitude, I've found that a three day itinerary is better for enjoying the climb. Good luck!

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Never had a problem yet with any quality lightweight tent that time of year camping at Muir. Shelter works but much prefer the tent myself. 15or20 deg. bag. Plan on biggy crevasses.

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Sounds like you're dialed in, maybe look at crevasse rescue practice on a two man team. Anchor placement and self rescue along with a double pulley extraction and practice prussik self extracation.

 

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One thing to keep in mind if you're not a local is... you're gonna be there to enjoy the mountain, not just climb it.

 

I'd spend an extra night at Muir or Ingraham Flats (either on the way up or down) - just to hang out, hang out and meet people, feed the birds, practice some self-arrest and crevasse rescue, overdose on MSG and sodium from your Mountain House stuff, enjoy a sunrise the next morning... Check out some crevasses, watch the icefall/rockfall/avalanches (depending on conditions).

 

No sense in travelling hundreds (or thousands) of miles to climb the mountain, and then crank it out in a 24-hour-or-less car-to-car grind.

 

 

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Thanks, we are planning on doing some practice. Actually, you can never practice too much and I know I don't do it enough to make it second nature.

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I was wondering about the crevasse exposure in that month. I know it varies with the year but how difficult will it be to negotiate route finding. I would imagine the guide services would have beat down quite a trail by then but I don't want to rely on that of course. I'm more curious in terms of time I should allow. (in other words can I sleep an hour longer - haha or should I get up an hour earlier to allow time for more difficult route finding) - thanks!

Edited by Drew Hecht

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I would imagine the guide services would have beat down quite a trail by then but I don't want to rely on that of course.

 

why not?

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There will be a distinct trail on the DC and there will be open crevasses. Some years the route is so broken up the route detours around the cleaver, but that is rare and this is a high snow year. The guide services put in effort to keep the trail open. They fix pickets and fix ladders across crevasses.

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I would imagine the guide services would have beat down quite a trail by then but I don't want to rely on that of course.

 

why not?

 

Of course, I'll use the marked route. And I have a reasonable expectation that it will likely be in good condition. I just don't assume any route will be in perfect condition the day I get there.

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There will be a distinct trail on the DC and there will be open crevasses. Some years the route is so broken up the route detours around the cleaver, but that is rare and this is a high snow year. The guide services put in effort to keep the trail open. They fix pickets and fix ladders across crevasses.

 

Good to know, thanks again DPS

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Psyched!!!! Leave tomorrow for Seattle and Paradise and up to Muir on Tuesday. Does anyone think I need to bring wands? ...or can I take them out of my luggage.

 

thanks

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Looks like good weather clear days in the forecast. Don't forget the sunglasses and sunscreen.

 

The big guided parties take the DC. Not sure what days they go but you might want to try to get a jump on them if they are there at Muir. They can clog up the route but are not impossible to pass.

 

Sometimes when it's clear you will get periodic wind gusts up high. It will be calm for 15 minutes at a stretch then these 40-60mph 15sec gusts will come out of nowhere. One year we had to fall to the arrest position to not be blown over. Partner lost a mit because he set it down when it was calm, gust came and it was gone.

 

Make sure your points are sharp, you may want to take a small file, climbing the cleaver can dull points. There was a recent accident on the Emmons where slick (hard frozen) conditions may have been involved.

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Yeah, it looks like, weather allowing, we might have a good chance at summiting our first time on Rainier.

 

Thanks for the heads up. We already were thinking of leaving around 12:30 (or earlier) if there are large groups up there.

 

I've also been following the tragedy of climbing ranger Nick Hall. That's incredibly sad. I understand he was the real deal. However, with this incident in mind, I sharpened my crampons to the point that they will draw blood.

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What a trip! What a mountain! And what cool people! Thanks to all on CC for your guidance. We arrived on Monday and climbed up to Muir on Tuesday and summited on Wednesday in what I would describe as "beach weather" - light wind, clear skies and route conditions that could only be described as "stellar". We stayed around through Thursday and watched the mountain exfoliate rock and ice and just hung out. Ed Viesters even showed up.

 

The only downer was witnessing two guides and their short-roped client fall at the low end of the cleaver in a horrifying, tumbling ball of bodies and sharp climbing gear. The client broke his leg and was air-lifted out late that day. I hope he's well and recovering.

 

Everyone be safe and thanks again. I can't wait to get back up there!

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The only downer was witnessing two guides and their short-roped client fall at the low end of the cleaver in a horrifying, tumbling ball of bodies and sharp climbing gear. The client broke his leg and was air-lifted out late that day. I hope he's well and recovering.

 

Nuts! :noway:

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Way to go Drew! I'm glad that your climb worked out so well. You happened to arrive at the end of a frustrating period of weather. Perfect timing.

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