Ingrahm Direct Conditions May 8th 2006
David Gottlieb and I initiated the climbing ranger patrol season last week. We went to Camp Muir with Ted Cox (Camp Muir's primary maintenance man!) to open up the facilities for the summer season.
Conditions on the Muir Snowfield were hard-packed and firm (no snow shoes necessary). There was an excellent trail from the Paradise parking lot to Camp Muir. The public shelter is fully accessible and in great shape. It provided a welcome respite for many climbers, as the weather was quite severe at times. Currently, the primary pit toilet on the east side of the camp is open; there is a blue bag barrel inside. Please use the blue bags on your way up to Camp Muir and on the upper mountain.
On Friday, four local climbers successfully summited via the Ingraham Direct route. The conditions were firm with excellent cramponing up high. There was a considerable amount of route-finding to avoid a number of dicey crevasse crossings. The team felt that the route would not last much longer... Which confirms some of the reports from earlier this season... Maybe the Ingraham Direct will melt out early in 2006?
On Saturday, multiple teams attempted the summit via the same route. All were stymied by a large crevasse around 11,500 feet! Previous tracks (from the day before) were apparent on the other side of the crevasse, but a new crevasse must have opened up overnight.
Attempts to outrun the crevasse were also thwarted. One party ventured toward the Disappointment Cleaver but turned around when they spied a large lenticular cloud cap over the summit... This was an obvious sign of poor weather on the way... And they were right.
On Saturday night, a powerful storm moved across the mountain. We witnessed 60+ mph winds and intense whiteout conditions (sub 100-foot of visibility.) David, Ted and I descended in the height of the storm but were fortunate that the high winds scoured any snow accumulation off of the snowfield.