Fuhrer Finger (Fuhrer Thumb too) - 2007

Fuhrer Finger Route Condtions - July 1st

A quick updated provided by Pete Fox

Just wanted to send along a quick note on our climb up the FF. My partner Todd Holmes and I did a quick jaunt up the FF, leaving Paradise at 2:40 a.m. We headed across the Wilson and up the Fan approach to the Finger. (photo of Todd working his way through the narrow section of the Finger).

The climb up to the bench on the Wilson Glacier below the FF was on perfect styrofoam snow. The Finger has narrowed to a 10 foot wide icy step. Above the narrow section the Hourglass was good solid snow with some new snow that had blown in. We had an exciting climb dodging rockfall in the Finger. We climbed the Hourglass to 12000 feet where we found a narrow ramp that bridged across a couple of crevasses to the ridge left of the Nisqually Glacier. We climbed steep snow along the right side of this ridge to 13,000' were we danced around crevasses to summit at 9:40 a.m.

The summit was windy and deserted. We were surprised as we expected to run into folks coming up the DC (see DC report; climbing teams found unnerving avalanche conditions). We descended the DC following the track of some folks who climbed the Kautz. There were a handful of other climbers around the summit. The snow was a mix of solid windblown and softer snow. It didn't seem too bad. We arrived at Paradise at 2:10 p.m. for a long half day on Rainier. (photo of the last 1400 to the crater rim).
Thanks for the report, Pete. Find more of his images from climb over in his FLICKR account.
June 28th

The approach to the Fuhrer Finger via the Nisqually is still straightforward. The crevasses that are open remain easy to navigate around. Between 9000' and 9500' flat benches on the glacier provide excellent bivy sites. Be sure to chose a bivy site that is well out of the rock and ice fall zone for both the Fuhrer and the Wilson Headwall.

The entrance to the Fuhrer Finger is still snow. It is melting out fast though and gets more narrow daily. The snow surface in the lower 500' of the Fuhrer couloir is a mix of suncups and fallen rocks. After this section the snow surface becomes more consistently smooth before changing back to suncups with rocks sitting in them at the top of the couloir. This entire gully is subject to copious amounts of rockfall. Use the edges of the gully and move quickly through this couloir to avoid being smacked by these flying boulders. There are several alcoves along the edge of the gully that provide some shelter from the rockfall during rest breaks.

At the top of the couloir the route finding becomes more difficult due to some large and open crevasses. The traditional method has been to stay on climber's left and follow this ridge up to the Kautz then continue up that route to the summit. Unfortunately this variation starts with a huge, gaping crevasse followed by some steep snow. Instead of trying to climb this technical section most parties have been traversing to climber's right on the upper Nisqually. There are several open crevasses that make the route finding interesting between the top of the Fuhrer couloir and 13000 feet, where one nasty crevasse has stymied several parties. There is a thin snowbridge that crosses this crevasse near the middle. This snowbridge is slowly melting and forming a gap on the uphill side of it making it more difficult each day. It is fairly steep terrain and most parties are setting up a belay to cross this hole. Above this the route to the summit is more direct and easier to navigate.

~ Andy Anderson
For more information on the Fuhrer Finger route, check out our archived 2007 reports.