Emmons Winthrop Glacier w/ Inter Glacier and Glacier Basin Trail

Emmons Glacier Route, Inter Glacier and Camp Schurman Report from - September

These images were sent in by Rob Veal of Cascade Alpine Guides.

September 7th
"Here are some quick notes about our Emmons ascent on Saturday... much of the boot track is
now melted out or obliterated by enormous (sometimes near man-size) suncups. We were unable to follow the track in the dark and ended up traversing far to the left of the track at around 10,500 feet. We traversed back right at around 13,000' and found our way back to the track. Above 13,000' the route is in pretty good shape to the summit. We managed to piece together the boot track line for the descent in the day, but it was tough going... in many places it is just a tilted, dirty channel through waist-high suncups. Several snowbridges on the track are now gone entirely, although alternate crossings (albeit a little sketchy) can still be found."

This report was sent in by colin sherman

August 31st

James Garnett sent me this, from an ascent on 8/28

The cliffs above the Inter Glacier present a serious rockfall hazard. They're spitting rocks in sizes from pebbles to HUGE blocks. We witnessed several potentially deadly rockfalls that went far below the current base of the glacier, and fresh tracks from rockfall are all over it (including going across the present boot path on climbers' right). Right now, stay right and follow the boot track, and it's possible to get up the glacier without crampons. Do anything to minimize the time spent in the rockfall area, including time spent putting on crampons if they aren't necessary.

The Emmons boot track went all the way to the summit with only three minor gaps, all of which could be circumvented easily. The first is just above the Corridor, then one around 13,100', and finally the suncups: if you stray off the path, expect to spend a lot of time negotiating them.

It seems that many of the parties we met were going up the route for the first time... Their ascent times range from 9 to 12 hours. One team we talked to had spent 17 hours on the route, from Schurman to Schurman.

August 22nd

The Inter Glacier is a tilted ice rink, so bring your crampons and ropes. Though most of the crevasses on the Inter are quite obvious, there is always the chance of slipping on hard ice that dominates much of the glacier below Camp Curtis.

The climbing route above Schurman has a few variations. The word: "the main/direct route still goes, but has numerous sketchy crevasse crossings" (as reported again and again, see below.) But better yet, some have found an alternative route up the Winthrop Glacier. The traverse begins mid route, 12,500 or so... It travels climbers right (towards the Winthrop) and ascends mellower glacier terrain to the Col. That said, there are some large crevasses to cross, and remember that the Winthrop may be icier than the Emmons, as it sees less direct sunlight. Furthermore, this variation isn't quite as "fast" as the direct route.

~ Mike Gauthier

August 16th

Oddly enough, it appears as though the route actually improved over the past week. Very little has changed below 11,500 feet; there is a wide boot track, but few wands. The corridor is relatively straight forward, but watch the crevasses between Emmons Flats and the entry to the corridor. One is particularly large, you may not notice it on the way up, but you'll see it in the daylight.

Between 11,800' and about 13K, there are a few sketchy crevasse crossings. But surprisingly, some of the wider crevasses near the top have pinched closed. For the most part, the route remains VERY direct. If you don't like the crossing, search for a better bridge; they do exist.

If you're climbing the Emmons, be cautious of hard glacier ice. This route is often icy later in the season when much of the winter snowpack melts off. The route is very beautiful these days, lots of amazing crevasses to see, and VERY few climbers.

~ Mike Gauthier

August 8th

For the most part, the route remains rather direct, but there are a number of dicey crevasse crossings between 12K and 14K. See the Aug 1 report. Sooner or later, the route will need to deviate, as a few of the crossings are about to give way. That said, the upper reaches of the Winthrop Glacier are looking pretty good. When the bridges on the Emmons finally give way, climbers will probably traverse to the Winthrop.

~ Mike Gauthier

We have archived Emmons Glacier Route Reports for 2006 here.