No parties have been on the Ingraham Direct for the past week or so due to the growing size of crevasses. Large seracs have also become unstable at about 11,200 feet adding to objective hazard on the route. From the picture of the Disappointment Cleaver updated July 5th, it is easy to see why route finding early in the morning could be a bear on the Ingraham Direct, and why parties have been choosing to climb the cleaver.
~Thomas Payne and Paul Charlton
The Ingraham Direct is still in great shape. Extremely warm temperatures this week are melting things out quickly, so take advantage of this route while it is still in. The ID is definitely a more technical route than the DC right now, so make sure your crevasse rescue and glacier navigation skills are dialed.
Access the route just above Ingraham Flats, off the traverse that heads towards the Cleaver. Keep your rope tight through this section, as it is melting out quickly and there are lots of crevasses opening up.
There is a large crevasse around 11,500' that has turned most parties around. We were able to skirt around the right side of the crevasse on a steep ramp of snow that traversed under an icefall.
Move quickly through this section! There are two options once you reach 12,000 feet; you can traverse over to the top of the cleaver and reconnect with the DC or you can avoid the crowds and continue up the Ingraham Direct. This section of the route was straightforward, with one steep, short pitch of 45 degrees around 12,500'. --Adrienne Sherred - photos by Andy Anderson
Climbing Ranger Jennifer Erxleben and I climbed the Ingraham Direct this morning with nearly perfect conditions. The route was very direct and much faster than the neighboring Disappointment Cleaver. Remarkably, we had the entire route to ourselves as most parties either climbed the Cleaver or the Gibralter Ledges, which also sounds like it still is in fine shape. The trail breaks off left soon after starting the traverse toward the cleaver. From there the route weaves around a few seracs and bridged crevasses. If we get some warm temps, these bridges could disappear quickly, creating a more convoluted line. Also, there is some exposure time to several seracs between 11,100 and 11,600 ft. Eventually the route heads back right north to intersect the DC route at the top of the cleaver, near 12,400 ft. Above that, the route is very direct and straightforward to the summit. Conditions made for excellent cramponing the entire way with maybe about 5 small crevasses to cross. It is interesting to note that a massive serac-triggered avalanche occured sometime within the last week. A large chunk of ice came out of a serac wall around 13,000 feet which caused an approximately 200-foot wide swath of slab avalanche and serac debris that came directly down the Ingraham Glacier to around 11,600 feet. The debris did not affect the route as we were able to stay left of it, then easily cross it near 12,300 ft. -Joe Puryear
From all reports, the Ingraham Direct climbing route is still in shape. Climbers from other routes are using it for a fast descent rather than the Gib Chute. For the most part, the route is as described in the June 11th conditions.
The Ingraham is back and it is superb! The route (in green) starts up the Ingraham on climber's right near the Cleaver and follows a moderately steep slope up above the first ice fall. From there it traverses left towards Gib Rock and then up a nice clean slope to pass the second ice fall/crevasse field. Next it heads back over to the top of the Cleaver and meets up with the DC route (in red) to continue to the top. All of the snow we have gotten over the last two weeks has filled in most of the holes that had closed the route, so at time of this writing it has come back into a very straightforward climb. Almost all of the parties that I saw this weekend were using this as the descent route and about half of them were climbing up this route. When we came down at about 9 a.m. the snow had softened up enough by 12,500' that we had to take off our crampons to avoid snow balling up on the bottom of them. Later in the day I saw a team of skiers who reported excellent spring skiing conditions on the Ingraham and fun turns. Arlington, one of the climbing rangers, had this to say about the ski run down:
"...from a skier's perspective the conditions from the summit to 13'000 feet were a bit choppy, with small wind ridges providing a challenging ride(especially on spent legs). Below 13,000 feet, the snow softened up, making for excellent spring skiing. As we worked out onto the Ingraham glacier, I found the established route to be well wanded with a good boot track. The crevasse issues here were not complex and the snow bridges seemed solid. We were able to ride to the top of Cathedral Gap where we had to boot down due to the thin snow and exposed rock. Another sweet day on the mountain!"
-- Narrative by Andy Anderson, photo by Joe Puryear
With the recent snowfall on the mountain, the Ingraham Direct seems to have come back in, although the route involves much hazardous exposure to seracs and ice cliffs. No one has successfully climbed the route in the past several weeks, but it may be worth taking a look at. Recent new snowfall has also created considerable localized avalanche potential as wind-deposited pockets and slabs have formed. Hopefully with some warmer weather, this will mellow out soon. ~ narrative and photo by Joe Puryear
For the most part, this route is largely "out." A circuitous line may exist, but it's a wild one and would take quite a bit of time to negotiate. John Race put it this way,
"climbers left route on the ID is too broken to do without some monkey business getting in, out, and around crevasses. The climbers right version likely goes, but I was not enthusiastic about waiting in line right under the ice fall."
One climber at Camp Muir pointed out that the glacier "could" still be climbed, however, I noted that he climbed the DC instead.
Note in this photo taken from the DC, crevasses riddle the ID.