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roverguy10

[TR] Rainier - Ingraham Direct/Gib ledges 5/5/2013

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Trip: Rainier - Ingraham Direct/Gib ledges

 

Date: 5/5/2013

 

Trip Report:

After being at Muir since Apr 30th, we took a shot at the summit May 5th.

Leading up to the 5th, we constantly monitored the snowpack, digging pits on the ID, DC, and Gib Ledges routes. The synopsis:

there is a ice layer around 30cm and 80cm, both of which are areound a Q2. The failure on a simple column test was consistently around 23 taps after the high-pressure front moved in for a few days. I would rate the avy danger as 'Moderate' with the most likely a slab slide either from the 30cm or 80cm layers.

 

We decided to ascend via Ingraham direct on 5 May. We started at 0130, with a quick climb up to the icefall. There was a partially wanded route through the icefall, with ascends directly up the middle and the veers right at the top of the chute. The route will cross several snow bridges of varying thickness, with a steep one leading to a left turn. This turn has your traversing on a very thin ice bridge over a crevasse until you can turn right and scramble up an ice block leading you out of the icefall proper.

From here, we headed directly up and slightly left of the Ingraham, intending to meet up with the Gib Ledge trail. At night by headlamp, this seemd the best route. After sunrise, I believe it would have been faster to head right and up an obvious valley to connect with the DC route. Once we got on the upper glacier, it was the standard push up to the crater and summit. We reached the summit in 7 1/2 hrs.

 

From the crater, we decided to descend via Gib Ledges instead of going through the Ingraham ice fall and that scetch traverse.

The ledges snow is BAD. It is the late season wet ice chunk crap that you can't trust for anything. It took us 6 hrs to descend due to the down-climbing and front-point traversing in the crap snow.

 

I would not recommend Gib Ledges anymore this year unless another snow storm hits the mountain. ID may not be going very well after the ice bridge gives out on the traverse. If you plan to go that way, I would bring a couple of screws and be prepared to belay through that section. I do think the DC will be a viable option as soon as the snowpack settles a bit more.

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What turned you off of the DC route? Would you still recommend the ID over the DC even with the ice bridge traverse?

 

Thanks for the awesome trip report btw. I'll be going up in a few days and this really helps.

 

Cheers, and congratulations!

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We decided against the DC due to the avy conditions. The chute on the DC is long and exposed thus a greater danger than the relatively short sections throughout the Ingraham ice fall.

 

I'd say talk to the guides that are on the mountain to get their take on the DC, and check the snowpack for yourself and make a decision. It would probably be worth taking a day to go hike through the icefall and figure out where the issues are and scope out the DC before doing an alpine start and summit attempt.

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Thanks for sharing. Was up at Muir this weekend.. May have seen you guys or talked with others from your party who were waiting in the shelter.

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Good work making it thru the Ingy, it looked pretty broken up last Friday...haven't heard of many parties making it thru.

 

I climbed the Gib Ledges last Friday, though the route was in decent condition. I totally agree later in the day things would be sketchier on the snow slopes; so if you do climb via the Ledges you'd have to leave Muir quite early, by midnight at the latest, earlier if your party is slower. The snow on the Ledges was soft and not very enjoyable on the return, though manageable last Friday- I was on skis so the descent to the Gib chute was quick.... Cooler temps at night will help firm up that section of the climb. Aside from the slushy snow on the Ledges the rest of the route was in good shape. Just get on and off it early, or ideally climb the DC when things it settle in.

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Around what elevation was the sketchy ice bridge? The reason I ask is because I'm trying to figure out if it would be viable to somehow go around it, and meet up with the DC or Gib routes earlier.

 

Thanks

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Not sure of the elevation, but it's near the top of the route through the ice fall. The only way around it is to climb up vertical ice or not go through the fall at all.

The DC might be in now.

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