Disappointment Cleaver

Disappointment Cleaver - October 1st

Yes, there is still a boot path to the summit. And like the Muir Snowfield, it wouldn't take much for the path to become obscured during a storm. If you're climbing the mountain in the fall, don't expect to see many other parties (if any). Be prepared for the worst when it comes to storms, ice, and crevasse crossings.

As for the route, little has changed between Camp Muir and the top of the DC. Watch for the crevasses on the Cowlitz and Ingraham glaciers, but maybe even more so, watch your footing on the hard snow and ice conditions that dominate on the mountain. A small slip would likely leave you skittering into an exposed deep crevasse.

From the top of the cleaver, the route wanders to the Emmons and then back to the Ingraham. Expect large sun cups, large crevasses, and hard snow/ice most of the way. The RMI established boot path still exists, but they are done guiding for the season. That means that the route is no longer being maintained... In fact, it will probably deteriorate over time even w/ good weather.

If you're climbing, ensure that you mark your path and are able to handle rapidly changing weather.

September 7

The route remains relatively unchanged since the last few updates - still a long traverse onto the Emmons, still a couple of large crevasse openings. The nice weather in early September has made the summit success rate relatively high.

~ Theodore Cox

Disappointment Cleaver - August 30


A climbing-ranger summit team found an increasingly large foot path to the summit. It is actually a significant trench! Be careful stepping out of the trench on to the large sun-cups while other teams pass. We have had incidents of climbers stumbling onto other team's ropes. The route is still in great shape - with the long traverse onto the Emmons Glacier still intact and the entrance onto the cleaver still straight forward and safe. Enjoy!

~ Paul Charlton and Thomas Payne

Disappointment Cleaver - August 22

The route is still in good shape. Be cautious of crevasses that are beginning to open up at Camp Muir. One climber fell in a moat on the snow slopes at the base of the rocks on the north side (Cowlitz Glacier side) of the public shelter. This area has been roped off to keep climbers out of the area. Use caution when looking for a place to set up camp.

Getting to the DC is straightforward. However, be aware of rockfall coming off Cathedral Rock. The lower half of the cleaver is mostly rock. Please watch out for parties above and below you. The route above the cleaver makes a long traverse towards the Emmons. After a few switchbacks it makes another long traverse back towards the shoulder of Gib Rock.

Cracks are beginning to form on the crater rim so use caution when walking around the perimeter. There is also a large crack on the summit itself. Be aware of weakening snow bridges, especially during warm weather. The route crosses a lot of crevasses that can go unnoticed if you are not paying attention.

The climbing season is quickly coming to an end, so take advantage of the good weather while the route is still in shape!

~ Adrienne Sherred

Disappointment Cleaver - August 17

Conditions on the route remain enjoyable. Below the cleaver the route is very straight forward. The cleaver is mostly rock, so watch for other parties kicking down rocks from above you. Above the cleaver the route traverses right for quite a distance then switchbacks to an intersection up above 13,000. Left is the old trail with a long traverse to a large bridge that won't last much longer. Right is the new route RMI has established (well wanded). This route also has a large bridge that will eventually fail. Watch the weather and get off the mountain early before the sun weakens those bridges. Overall the route is in good shape, despite the deep trench from climbers and the flat traverses.

~ Sam Wick

Disappointment Cleaver - August 13

The route is in good condition. Lower freezing temperatures have kept the snow bridges in good condition, but if temperatures rise, be aware that the snow bridges will become unstable and the existing path may not be the safest route. Be ready to stray off the path to avoid newly unstable snowbridges.

The cleaver has now melted on the lower half, so exercise caution when approaching and climbing the rocky slopes. Be aware of other parties ahead or behind you that may have a potential to cause rockfall to fall your way. Also be aware that you may also potentially cause dangerous rockfall to rain on parties below. Move through these areas carefully but as quickly as possible and without stopping to minimize your exposure to the hazard.

Above the cleaver, climbers take the traverse to the Emmons shoulder. This traverse is about 12300' and crosses some steep slopes. The route then switchbacks up the shoulder to around 13,200', then it heads back to the southwest up to the summit. There are few small crevasses opening up on the shoulder, but so far they have been very easy to cross. Climbers in good condition have had no trouble reaching the summit.

~Philip Edmonds

Look here for more archived information on the DC...