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Trip Report    

Mount Rainier/Disappointment Cleaver

2 day climb over a very hot weekend via the DC. Camped at Muir - route is in great condition.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Snow starts right at the trail head at Paradise. Winter route (steep climb straight up towards Panorama Point) is still in, however, expect it to be out soon if the temps stay the same. No ladders on the route yet. A couple of snow picket anchors fixed along some exposed areas above the DC. Route is pretty direct above the DC to the summit - had to end run 2 large crevasses. Snow bridges were solid.

Arrived to Paradise at 7am with two friends and purchased our climbing passes and registered the climb.  After sorting out gear and parking in the lower lot, we headed towards the trail head by the upper lot. The snow starts immediately. Followed the well worn snow trail that is also wanded all the way to the Muir Snowfield. Kept a leisurely pace and arrived to Camp Muir in 5 hours. Big crowd at Muir - most were just there for the day.

We dug out a base for our tent, made some wind walls, and relaxed the rest of the day. 5 more of our friends joined us later in the afternoon. After packing the essentials into our packs and pre-tying the rope, we tried to get to bed around 6pm, but it was super hot in the tent. 

After a restless night, all of us woke up at 11:30 pm. We departed Muir at 12:35 am and crossed the Cowlitz to Cathedral Gap. Rock fall was constant through the night, but nothing came close to the route. After ascending the gap, we made our way to the flats, following a line of head lamps in the distance. Took a quick break and then crossed a large crevasse on a stable snow bridge. Right before the nose of the DC, there is a large debris field of ice blocks and rock - we moved quickly through this area.

At the DC, we shortened the rope and scrambled up the route, which is well wanded and fairly easy to follow. It is mostly rock at this point, with only a few sections of snow right now. At the top of the DC, several parties were taking a break or getting back onto the route, so we were held up a bit here.

Between the DC and the summit crater, the route traverses back and forth a bit to end run some open cracks, but it's fairly direct. The guide services placed a series of snow pickets for running belays. Wind picked up a bit, maybe 30mph gusts from time to time.

Arrived to the summit crater, dropped packs and unroped, and then moved to the summit. Time was 5hrs 45min from Muir to the summit. After signing the register and taking a break, we descended the same way. Temps rose quickly and the snow was slushy and annoying to descend. We ran into another group heading up while we were on the section with the fixed anchors. This got a bit crowded, but we managed to move off route and let the other group pass.

By the time we arrived back to the flats, it felt like it was 90 degrees out on the glacier - way too hot. Everyone on the mountain probably ended up with raccoon eye tan lines and some nice sunburns!

Returned to Muir, packed up camp, and then glissaded as much as possible back to Paradise and a crazy crowded parking lot and visitor center. 30 hour total time.

Gear notes: Standard glacier travel gear. Should have brought more sunscreen.

Weather notes: HOT!

Camp notes: One of the Muir toilets was under repair and not in use.