For winter climbs through August 1 use this destination listing. For climbs after Aug 1 list using destination with difficulty listed as Intermediate Ice.
14,410’, South Cascades Grade II Ice - Reference & Data • • • • Jurisdiction: Mt. Rainier National Park • Ranger Station: Paradise Ranger Station / 360-569-2211 x2314 • Equipment: Standard Glacier gear, ice screws and pickets. • USGS Maps: Mt Rainier East, Mt Rainier West • Other Map: Mount Rainier National Park. • Beckey: Cascade Alpine Guide I, 3rd Edition, p 100. • Other Ref: Selected Climbs in the Cascades, Vol. II, pp 37-40. Mount Rainier: A Climbing Guide, pp 102-105. Time Elevation gain/loss Mileage • Seattle to TH 2.5 hrs 5,400’ 100 • TH to Camp 8-10 hrs +5,800’ • Camp to Summit 5-10 hrs +3,200’ • Summit to Cars 5-7 hrs -9,000’ Approach • • • • • • • • • • • Take I-5 South to Exit 142. Exit to State Route 161 and drive south until exiting at State 512W. Travel 2 to 3 miles and take the Puyallup exit (Mt. Rainier sign). Drive via Eatonville and State Route 706 to the Nisqually entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park (approximately 80 miles from Seattle). Pay the entrance fee and drive 19 miles to Paradise at 5,400’. From Paradise, hike to the Nisqually Moraine trail and descend to the Nisqually Glacier. Cross the Nisqually and ascend to the west edge of the Wilson Glacier either by taking the gully known as the Fan or by ascending broad benches from higher up on the Nisqually. Ascend the Wilson Glacier to 9,500’ and continue up to the Turtle Snowfield. Good bivouac sites can be found on the rock islands at the west edge of the Turtle Snowfield between 9,500' and 10,500'. Climbing Route • • • • • From the West edge of the Turtle Snowfield ascend snow or volcanic scree (late season) to a westward facing chimney at approximately 11,000 feet. The chimney may be marked by old fixed lines. Rappel 25 feet to the edge of a south-facing gully. Traverse the gully and then continue traversing westward across easy ramps a couple hundred feet to the base of the ice pitches. The technical part of the climb can be tackled as two long pitches varying from 40 to 50 degrees with a section of less steep ice in between. Ice pinnacles, more prominent to climber's right, make for interesting climbing. From the flat area at the top of the ice pitches, either ascend toward Point Success and then toward the summit, or ascend to the top of Wapowety Cleaver and follow the upper Nisqually to the summit. Either alternative may involve serious crevasse problems in late season calling for careful route-finding. Descent • • • • • • • • • • • Descend the climbing route or carry over and descend the Disappointment Cleaver route. The nieve penitentes to the climber's right on the ice pitches may be used for chopping ice bollards. With 60-meter ropes, two double-rope rappels plus some down-climbing are enough to reach the base of the ice pitches. Comments • • • • • • • • • A Mt. Rainier climbing fee is required. Rangers at the Jackson Visitor Center are a source of current conditions. When temperatures are warm there is usually plenty of flowing water at the edges of the Turtle Snowfield. As with some other ice routes, in late season a carryover may be in order to avoid difficult or hazardous travel through the icefall. Mountaineering credit is granted before August 1st and ice credit after August 1st. Previous versions of the Mountaineers Intermediate Climbs Guide describe the approach ascending to just below Camp Hazard near the ice cliff, dropping over a ridge and then descending a gully about 150’, then either crossing the icefall into the broad chute or continuing down the gully and around the toe of the icefall to the bottom of the chute. This route has greater potential exposure to icefall, is slightly longer and is no longer recommended.
This climb does not qualify for Intermediate Ice, as it is before August 1st. However, please be prepared for a strenuous climb with potential for hard ice. Plan is for three days on the mountain, with two nights at high camp (not a carry-over).
Leader has secured camp reservation on Kautz Glacier, and may have spare climbing permit available as well. Participants will be required to have climbing permit by the day of climb.