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vsigler

Fuhrer Finger at 12,000 ft: which way to go?

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I was with a group climbing the Fuhrer Finger route in mid-July and upon reaching ~12,000 ft. on the Nisqually Glacier, we were halted by some very large, impassible crevasses. To the left (west) were crevasses extending to the cleaver between the Nisqually and Kautz Glaciers, and to the right were crevasses extending all of the way to the Nisqually Cleaver. I spent about 30 minutes looking for a way through with no success. To be honest, I could not even conceive how any snow bridges would have been present months earlier, as the crevasses were so wide. I know plenty of people get through the upper Nisqually on the finger, but I couldn't see a route. Needless to say, we had to make a disappointing descent back down the finger. If anyone has a few photos to share that show the upper route, it would be much appreciated. This was my first attempt on the finger and I want to try again next year... Thanks.

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I would think this year was unusually bony due to an early summer, but I can't comment from personal experience because I didn't climb Rainier this year.

 

When I've climbed the route in the past I stayed as close to the cleaver as possible on the ascent and on the descent (on skis) weaved my way through the crevasses on the upper Nisqually, which is the way the standard route goes.

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Yeah, I thought that usually the Finger is pretty much "out" in late July because of the Nisqually Ice Fall being way too broken up. Not to mention the shooting gallery that you must have endured down the chute. Anyhow, I've heard of various routes through there early season (May - June). This year was especially "normal" in my opinion on Rainier and through the month of June we had a ton of warming from the first week in June to the 3rd. We were barely able to cross the Carbon to the base of Lib Ridge and by the first week in July I believe the Carbon was uncrossable. I wouldn't be surprised that the section between the top of the Finger and the other side of the Nisqually was quite broken up.

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We were thinking about that route when we showed up on 20 July, but the ranger in the climbing office told us that the route was out.

 

We went up the Kautz Glacier instead.

 

I would like to go back in May or June, despite the good chance of bad weather, to do either the Finger or the Wilson Headwall.

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I climbed the Finger on July 6-7 this year, we were able to make it through the crevasses, but it definitely took some route finding and the snow bridges were sketch. We figured they would only last another few days. We set up pickets and belayed across 3 of them I think. Generally tried to stay as far left and hug the rock as much as possible. Here's some photos, not sure if they'll help that much because it doesn't have that much perspective. The photo that shows the two sets of tracks - we decided to go left.2013-07-07_06_17_52.jpgIMG_0962.JPG2013-07-07_05_27_07.jpg

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