Kautz Cleaver Climbing Conditions - Late July
Ok, time to call this one... roughly 5,000 feet of loose rock, scree and talus... Not recommended until we see more snow
Climbing rangers patrolled the Kautz Cleaver on July 3rd and 4th and found tough conditions. Due to the high freezing levels over the weekend most of the route required at least ankle to even thigh deep post-holing.
The traverse from Paradise to the bottom of the cleaver was straight forward, even in the dark. Crossing the Nisqually and climbing the fan was quick and did not require crossing any sketchy crevasses. Traversing from the lower Turtle at the 8,500 foot saddle across the Kautz was also safe and quick, with no open crevasses showing or rock fall.
There was a bit of traversing near the base of the cleaver which did require the crossing of large crevasses, and/or walking below rocky outcroppings which were actively eroding. We moved quickly across there!
The cleaver itself was in great shape. No rockfall was observed; the entire route was snow covered which made for great cramponing. A nice rock buttress at 10,300 feet gave shelter from precipitation and wind.
The upper part of the route (above 12,500 feet) was lightly sun-cupped. Climbing through the top most rock band (right below Point Success) required ten feet of water ice 3, so bring an ice screw or two. FYI, the water ice was avoidable by traversing around the rock band.
Overall the route was in great shape minus the soft snow from the recent high freezing levels.
- Paul (Peach) Charlton and Thomas Payne