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Trip Report    

Mount Rainier/Kautz Glacier

June 20-21, 2015. Our party of three left Paradise at 9:00 a.m. The snow field below the Nisqually Glacier and on The Fan is already melted out, leaving a tedious stretch of talus and scree between Glacier Vista and the Wilson Glacier.

We selected a bivy site on the Wapowety Cleaver at 10,600 ft., avoiding Camp Hazard, and set up camp at 3:00 p.m. The camp site was dry but we were able to filter water from a small trickle of snowmelt. We also scouted the rock chimney used to descend onto the Kautz Glacier. There are currently two fixed ropes installed by the guide services but the short down climb is straightforward; we did it in crampons the next morning.

After a good nights rest we packed up camp and started out at 4:00 a.m. which got us to the base of the technical pitches at daybreak, around 4:30 a.m. Both technical pitches on the Kautz Glacier were in good shape and consisted of ice, not snow. We simulclimbed both pitches, using ice screws for protection. We carried but did not use pickets.

The upper Kautz Glacier was interspersed with many crevasses. Faint boot tracks from earlier parties helped us navigate a zigzag route through the maze. As we neared the summit the weather went from sunny and beautiful to windy, cold, and visibility-obscured by a lovely lenticular cloud. We reached the summit at 10:15 a.m.

We did the climb as a carry-over and descended the DC route. We arrived back in Paradise at 4:00 p.m.