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Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Mount Rainier/Kautz Glacier

We had a great climb of the Kautz, but the technical climbing took much longer than expected. Would consider a carry-over next time.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • We found five pitches of ice climbing, not two. Mostly low-angle and potentially simul-climbable by confident parties.

We were at Paradise CIC at ~6:40am Sat, and we were third party in line. Plenty of room in the Kautz zone but weren't out of the CIC until ~7:30am.

We found plenty of great bivy/camp sites on the cleaver at ~11,100', below Camp Hazard. They were melted out and there was easily-accessible running water.

The approach took us ~8 hours at relatively leisurely pace. We ascended the Fan. We did not encounter rock fall there but did encounter rock fall on the Turtle. Recommend staying climbers left on the Turtle.

Just above the bivy sites, there is a fixed rope / anchor to rappel left off the ridge. This avoids the gully next to the ice cliff. The rap lands awkwardly on steep icy ground. Recommend rapping on your own rope, have crampons on and ice tools ready, then climbing to easier ground while on rappel.

We found five pitches of ice climbing. Left camp at 3am, finished the ice climbing at 8am. Crater rim at noon, summit at 12:15pm. Left crater rim at 12:45pm, reached ice at ~2:30pm, reached camp at ~6:30pm. Some down climbing plus four double-rope rappels, two using v-threads and two using penitentes as ice bollards.

We had 8 screws and 2 pickets per rope. The number of screws was great. We did not use the pickets.

I recommend an ice tool and an ice axe for this route. I would consider a carry-over, to avoid the rappel descent and the afternoon ice fall danger.