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Trip Report    

Mount Rainier/Kautz Glacier

July 18~20. Team of six. Left Paradise at 9:30 or so after registering. After evaluating alternate approach via upper part of Nisqually Glacier (very broken), chose to ascend via the Fan instead seeing other teams using that path. While loose, it was nowhere as bad as we expected. Due to slow ascent, chose to camp at lower elevation at bottom edge of the Turtle. Sheltered sites and running water available.

Started from camp around 3:45. Leader had found the ice pitches to be hard snow same time two years ago, but it was completely ice this year. Second pitch was far more receded and frozen. Chose to simul-climb both pitches, though pulling two ropes made it slower. Glacier above was significantly sun-cupped and broken. Boot track traces allowed for navigation, but route got sketchier as we went higher. Reached the pre-determined turn-around time of noon at around 13,000 (we thought we were lower) before cross-over to Nisqually. Jointly decided to turn around and head back to camp.

Rappel on the ice pitches took time, despite down-climbing as much as possible. Two double-rope rappel recommended for both at this point. Ice bollards / penitentes available as anchors on the ice section, but we had to leave behind pickets for snow (if you find the beat-up pickets, I don't need them back). Returned to camp around 5:45, rested, ate dinner, and spent second night. Gorgeous stars. Rose early next morning, hiked out to Paradise around 10:30. Great weather, good team, but route was tougher than we had anticipated.