Trip Report    

Mount Rainier/Gibraltar Ledges

Fast conditions up, hopped a short icefall descending lower Ingraham.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Just a schrund to pass on Cowlitz, went right. Ledge a bit narrower in places than expected, more like late spring. Spattered with a layer of loose gravel in midsection. Used basic piolet canne and rock holds. Focused on reaching Camp Comfort before sunrise, rewarded with no rock or icefall - the advantages of winter!


    Roped up on Nisqually and only found one crevasse about mid-way, with snow bridge intact. Firm snice made for easy travel, 5 hours up from Muir.

The nice recent anticyclone seemed auspicious for repeating this route in winter. While it worked well c2c in May '18, we opted to camp, since in winter the Longmire gate impedes any early 10pm start.

For gear, packed typical glacier items plus a few screws, 30m rope and 30m glacier cord (Beal backup) so each could carry escape gear. Avvy forecast for conventional elevations was low, but packed our kit just in case. Updated to the BD Transfer Lt and Ortovox 240 carbon to save ~400g. Skipped vestibule for Direkt2 tent given 0mph forecast. With careful assembly, we each managed a 35L bag around 20lbs with 3 days provision. Tighter than usual with all the extra puffies, winter bags and mitts!



Self-registered at the new kiosk at Paradise at 11am, found the original climb card expanded into two full size 8x11 papers. Bringing our own pen and collecting the data upfront in a Google Sheet helped expedite this.


Made a pre-emptive biobreak and sauntered up to Muir, found the public shelter half filled with snow. Privies closed in winter, though (unfortunately) another party reported forcing one open. Officially shelter is closed to emergency use, but maybe a good stewardship project to dig it out?


Melted up 3L of water and slept around 6pm. Headed out at 4am for clear skies, moon waxing gibbous and hardly a breath of wind!



Route was fast going though inspired some thought in places. Roped on Nisqually and reached summit rim around 8am. Used the surplus hour to tag true summit. Total silence and solitude was eerie, first time having the vast summit crater alone.



Descending we opted to explore Ingraham Icefall and aim for Cadaver Gap. Smooth until perhaps 500' above the Gap, where we cliffed out 5m above a wide, but shallow crevasse. Shovels and rope were handy so opted just to rappel in and do an easy walkout, rather than backtrack or try DC. Easy route finding from here to Cadaver Gap, which cliffed out to a bergshrund, but exploring found a delicate snowbridge, crossed with a careful belay. The ski trio party after us reported the south edge of Ingraham was smooth all the way, and more skiable to Cathedral Gap.


Unroped at Muir, packed up and headed down. Long day!