Ingraham Glacier Direct - July 1st
All traffic for the past couple weeks has been on the Disappointment Cleaver route. The Ingraham has broken up into large serac blocks and a jungle of crevasses. Most parties consider this route "done" for the season.
~ Thomas Payne
Over the past few days all parties have ascended/descended via the Disappointment Cleaver, not the Ingraham Direct. Blowing snow from a recent storm completely covered any trace of the old boot path on the ID. The route may still be passable. Expect to do your own routefinding and expect that routefinding to be rather interesting. Be cautious of crevasse bridges becoming too weak to hold climbers - practice your crevasse rescue skills before going.
~Thomas Payne and Paul Charlton, NPS
The guide services and many other parties are beginning to shift to the DC because of the crevasses on the ID. However, several parties climbed the Ingraham on Friday and said it was excellent. Be careful and aware of thinning snow bridges, and be prepared to jump over or navigate around an increasing number of open crevasses.
Ingraham Glacier Direct - June 7
Almost all teams continue to use the Ingraham Direct on their summit bids. Conditions remain fine overall but the open crevasses are gradually growing wider and some of the snow bridges are beginning to seem more hollow. The route remains relatively direct, heading from Ingraham Flats to a point just above the top of the Disappointment Cleaver. From there, the route winds through and over a few hollow snow bridges then begins a long traverse north towards the Emmons Glacier to circumvent some large crevasses blocking direct access to the crater rim.
Be aware between 12'000 and 13'000 as there have been numerous reports of people breaking through snow bridges and falling into crevasses. There are a number of exposed crevasse crossings that may warrant running belays. The guide services are frequently retrieving their pickets on their descent. Bring your own protection and take responsibility for your decision making. With the new guiding arrangement on Rainier this year, independent parties can't rely on drafting off of large guided parties or following a huge boot trench to the summit. Have fun and enjoy your trip.
~ Arlington Ashby
Today a team of climbing rangers went up the Ingraham Head Wall and came down the regular Ingraham "Indirect." The head wall route splits from the regular route at about 12,400 feet and climbs steeper terrain to the top of Gibraltar Rock. Two tools are recommended for efficient travel on the steeper terrain. The Ingraham Direct is getting to be quite the marathon - taking climbers all the way to the Emmons to avoid the big 13,000 foot crevasse. With all of the warm weather the crevasse bridges are beginning to weaken. Their have been reports of climbers breaking and taking 25 foot whippers. Be careful when conditions warm up (START EARLY) and don't be afraid to belay your climbing partners across sketchy crevasse crossings.
Conditions are still OK on the Ingraham Direct. Getting up to the Ingraham Glacier from Camp Muir is still 100% snow covered (no exposed rock up to Cathedral Gap!). Most of the crevasse bridges have even been fortified on the Ingraham by the recent wintery storm. There are a couple of smaller cracks over which the climbers have been jumping, and there are a couple of larger snow bridges which the climber's route meanders over (one at around 11,700' and another near the top at 12,500'). The route stays fairly close to the climber's left hand side of the Ingraham all the way up until 12,600' or so. It then cuts back down toward the top of the Disappointment Cleaver, about 12,400'. There is a large crevasse which forces climbers to traverse all the way over toward the Emmons Glacier right now, making the route longer but less steep.
The Disappointment Cleaver was still untrodden on Monday (all climbers have been using the Ingraham Direct). Thus there is no climber's trail kicked into the snow slope on the cleaver making the route feel steeper than normal. Using running protection might be a reasonable idea.
Another climbing ranger and I ascended the Ingraham Direct and found good conditions. The route was well wanded and the snow bridges were in good condition. From Ingraham Flats the route is very straight forward. It ascends straight up the Ingraham until about 12,200 ft., where the route starts to traverse toward the top of the DC. The route becomes a bit wandering after it traverses climber's right to the top of the Disappointment Cleaver. From this point we and most other climbers had to traverse all the way climber's right to the Emmons shoulder in order to avoid the large crevasses between 12,500 and 13,000 ft. From the Emmons shoulder we then traversed climber's left all the way to the east summit crater.
Several parties have summitted Mt. Rainier via the Ingraham Headwall. This route is reportedly in great condition and is probably the fastest route to the summit from Camp Muir. Expect crevasses and firm wind-blown snow conditions on the headwall and above towards the summit. With recent snowfall or rapid warming this route can become quite dangerous due to the active avalanche zone it travels through.
From Camp Muir, cross the Cowlitz Glacier to Cathedral Gap. Climb efficiently through Cathedral Gap as it is subject to rockfall. From the top of the gap climb onto the Ingraham Glacier and up to Ingraham Flats (11,000ft.) . From the Flats head straight up, then slightly left past the icefall until you reach approximately the elevation of the top of the Disappointment Cleaver (12,400ft.). Then angle up and to the left up the steep Ingraham Headwall to where Gibraltar Rock meets the upper Nisqually Glacier(12, 900ft). From there, proceed straight up the slope to the east summit crater. Parties have reported having to navigate through crevasses in this section.
For more infomation the Ingraham Glacier route, check out our 2006 reports.