The Cleaver is now the express way to the top of Mt. Rainier. It sees more climbers than any other route on the mountain. Please be aware of other parties while you are climbing, especially on busy weekends. Give other groups plenty of space if you are trying to pass them. Remember, you do NOT have to stay in the main “trail” while you are climbing.
The route is in excellent shape and the cramponing is just as good, if not better, outside of the main boot pack. There is one section of rock getting onto the bottom of the Cleaver. This traverse also sits under an ice cliff and a loose scree cliff, so climb like the wind until you reach the nose of the Cleaver. There is a fixed line that RMI put in on this traverse to help people be safe. Once you get to the nose of the Cleaver, RMI has fixed about 400' of rope to protect the first third of the nose. After this some parties are traversing out onto the face on the south side of the Cleaver, while others are continuing up the ridgeline. Both of these paths are great.
From the top of the Cleaver the route is still very direct. It does cross several snowbridges and as the weather continues to warm up these will weaken so be ready for some crevasses to open up soon.
~ Adrienne Sherred and Andy Anderson
At least 50 people summited via the Disppointment Cleaver today. Conditions are near perfect. Gaining access to the cleaver is still on a snow ramp, although this looks to be melting out fast; soon this will be the typical rock and gravel ledge. The fixed lines (placed by the guide service) protecting this section are in place. The entire cleaver is firm snow with excellent cramponing. The route above, is still very direct with minimal crevasse crossings.
The Cleaver is all snow right now. There were almost no open crevasses on the entire route! From Ingraham Flats getting onto the cleaver is clean and direct. You still have to pass under the loose cliffs to get to the nose of the cleaver. We tried to move quickly through this area. Once we hit the nose of the Cleaver the slope steepens to 40 degrees. For the next 500ft there are fixed lines on the nose. After that the route is straight up the rest of the Cleaver. From the top of the cleaver the route is less steep takes you straight to top! The snow was firm and supportive all the way up and it was perfect for cramponning. It is in better shape than I have seen it in a few years.
~ Andy Anderson
Much new snow fell on the mountain over the weekend. Camp Muir received close to two feet, but it mostly was blown away and into drifts by high winds. Pockets and slabs of unconsolidated snow were found on leeward slopes giving concern to climbers that avalanche conditions were considerable. A few groups attempted the Disappointment Cleaver route but all were stopped at the toe of the Cleaver due to suspected avy slopes gaining access onto the ridge. All of the fixed lines were completely buried as well. Rangers Joe Puryear, Sam Wick, and Cooper Self also made it to this spot but confirmed that indeed the conditions were poor for continuing. Hopefully with increased temperatures and some melt/freeze cycles, these conditions won’t last long and the route should be back “in” soon.
The Muir Snowfield is in excellent condition with a good boot track all the way to Muir. Skiing conditions as well have been fantastic with good corn snow on the upper half. The lower part of the route is melting out fast and trail crews are working tirelessly to keep hikers and climbers on the snow and the trails and off the vegetation. Please stay out of roped areas and follow the designated trail. ~ report by Joe Puryear.
The climbing route was kicked in again last Sunday and Monday. Here is a recent aerial image.
The green line closely follows the climbing path (which was visible from the air.) Notice how closely the route follows the spin of the cleaver. For the most part, it's direct above the cleaver too, but that may not last for long.
RMI will be regularly guiding the route in June. This usually means that guides will be working on the route to ensure that it's safe for clients. Normally this means fixed ropes and shovelled traverses; sometimes they will place ladders across crevasses. If if weren't this work, many climbers would not make the summit of Mount Rainier.