Kautz Glacier 2011

September 11th

The Kautz Glacier is great late season climb for those looking to get a little ice climbing in, and avoid the crowds. Right now there are several approach options to get to the Kautz. The Fan is still a viable option, however, it is melted out meaning teams would need to walk up through the scree. Option number two is the Wilson Bench approach, which is further north. The chute leading to the bench is still roughly 40-50% snow, leading teams to the broad Wilson Bench. The third option is approaching through the Comit Falls trail, and up through Van Trump Park. This approach adds 1,500 feet of vertical, but also takes climbers through several beautiful ecosystems, from the deep forest, and waterfalls to high alpine meadows and wildflowers. The high camps at both the Castle (9,200 feet) and the top of the Turtle snowfield are melted out and provide excellent bivy sites. Please remember to clean your camp well and use your blue bags while here.

The upper portion of the route and the two ice pitches are melted out, with a small section of snow remaining between ice pitches. Two tools are recommended for the ice, and some ice pro as well. Above the ice pitches there are several large cracks that offer fun glacier navigation. The route trends climbers right across the Wapowety cleaver and out onto the upper Nisqually before switch backing to the crater rim. The Kautz is still a great late season option for a fun, and quiet summit trip!

August 18

Rangers climbed the Kautz glacier route on Aug 15 and 16th. The Fan or Wilson Bench can still be used to approach (keep an eye out for rockfall), or the Comet Falls trail head adds another 1500' of vertical to the climb. The campsites at The Castle (9200') and the top of the Turtle Snowfield (10,800') are melted out and contain established bivy sites. Please continue to use these existing sites and make sure the area is clean when you break camp. The picture below is looking out across the lower Nisqually at the Fan (left) and Wilson Bench (center).

From the start of the climb at the top of the Turtle, the snow has melted enough that the rappel down the cliff band is now 10' to the glacier; two fixed lines exist but use at your own discretion. The lower chute is completely free of snow and a second tool is recommended even though the ice is very featured. Above the first pitch the bowl contains large penitentes which make for easy stairstepping to the base of the second pitch. This pitch still contains a small amount of snow on climber's left, but it will be gone soon. The picture below is from the top of the 1st ice pitch looking up the ramp to the second ice pitch.

Above the ramp the route heads left around a large crevasse and then can go several ways to the summit as described in earlier posts. The picture below is from halfway up the 2nd pitch looking down onto the lower Kautz glacier.

August 11

Approaching the Kautz via the Fan or the Wilson Bench is still in good shape but beware of rockfall. The traverse across the lower Nisqually is also still in good condition. A great place to camp is at 9,400 feet just below the Turtle Snowfield at the High Castle. There is running water here and lots of nice bivy spots.

Getting onto the Kautz ice ramp, you have several options. You can do the standard rappel down the cliff band, or if you climb high just above Camp Hazard there is enough snowpack below the hanging glacier that allows you to easily scramble down to the chute without rappelling. There are fixed rappel lines in place to access the chute but use these at your own discretion.

The ice on the ramp can almost be entirely avoided (except for the first 20 feet) by staying left on the penitentes. If you are looking for the ice, then staying right will give you 1-2 pitches of low angle ice. Either way, bring a second tool.

Above the ice ramp, you have several options. Some parties have continued straight up the Kautz Glacier proper to Point Success. This route is exposed to ice fall from seracs on climber's right but is faster and more direct. Another option and the route proper is to hang a sharp right above Wapowety Cleaver and take the long traverse around several large crevasses and then trend back left towards the crater rim. Below: The Turtle Snowfield and Kautz Glacier looking up the route from High Castle.

August 8

Yikes! Climbing rangers packed out nearly 100lbs of poop, garbage, and abandoned equipment from 9400' camp last weekend! So far this season we've been doing really well with keeping the Kautz/Finger high camps clean, what happened last week? Please make sure you check the area around your campsite before you head down off the mountain. Also, keep your camp nice and tidy so things don’t blow away, especially while you are off climbing. If we all contribute a little bit of effort, like picking up other people's garbage, we should be able to keep these camps in pristine condition!

Conditions on the Kautz Glacier route have been changing rapidly over the last few days due to unusually high temperatures. As of the 7th it was still possible to ascend the ice chute entirely on snow, but only barely. With continuing warm weather in the forecast, the route may become significantly more icy over the next few days. Climbers looking for a more challenging ascent can find great ice climbing along the right side of the route. Bring a second tool; you will have a lot more fun!

As far as the approach routes go, nothing much has changed. Things are still looking good above the Kautz Ice chute as well. There are multiple route options on the upper Kautz and Nisqually glaciers, all generally straight foreword. The more commonly travelled route traverses across the Wapowety Cleaver, out onto the Nisqually Glacier, then switch-backs around a few crevasses and heads straight for the crater rim. An alternative is to climb over the top of the Wapowety Cleaver and traverse directly over to the crater rim. This route involves steeper terrain but fewer crevasse crossings.

Again, it's a great time to climb the Kautz, hope to see you up here!

August 5

Climbing rangers climbed the Kautz Glacier route August 3rd and 4th to find the route in great shape, overall very direct thanks to lots of remaining snow lingering on the mountain.

The approaches from the lower Nisqually (the Fan and the ramp onto the Wilson) are still both being used by climbers, but beware of rockfall hazards on both of these approaches as snow continues to melt. For climbers looking for something a little different, approaching via the Comet Falls trail makes a beautiful alternative. This approach adds another 1,500' of elevation gain to the climb, but provides a real wilderness experience. Forests, mountain goats, meadows and waterfalls are the rule - it might be worth it!

Campsites at the Castle (9,400) and west of the Turtle Snowfield (10,600-11,000) are melted out with running water available near many of the sites while the temps stay warm. Please use only existing tent sites when camping in the rocks, there are many very nice ones available, so there is no need to go through all that extra work. Rangers would also like to thank all the recent climbers and guided groups for keeping the camping areas and the entire route so clean. We were able to climb and pick up very little trash and no left behind blue bags. All future climbers appreciate your efforts.
Above high camps the route takes a step down onto the Kautz glacier around 11,000'. At this time climbers are walking off the rocks using a handline with no rappel needed. Above there the Kautz ice chute is still in great shape, with a little ice starting to show at the bottom of the steeper climbing, but the ice is so featured and sun-cupped that its a veritable flight of stairs (bad news for skiers, though). Higher up the chute remains snowy for its entirety, with the same large sun cups providing solid footing. At this time a single ice ax is all that is needed for this route. Above the ice chute the route continues on a direct line to the top of Wapowety Cleaver and from there navigating around some large crevasses between 13,200 and 13,600 before taking another direct line to the top. Climbers are mostly descending back down the Kautz, since the chute is an easy walk off right now.

These conditions should persist for a while still, making August a great time to climb the Kautz!

July 5

Climbing rangers climbed the Kautz Glacier route over July 4th and 5th and found the route to be in
excellent shape. Crossing the lower Nisqually is presently unaffected by the June 24th rock slide though climbers should move on through and avoid taking breaks in the area. There is still an unseasonably large amount of snow in the area, making scree slopes into a casual bootpack. There were many fresh ski tracks coming out of the Fuhrer Finger and a pair of beautiful tracks coming straight down the Wilson Headwall! The large amount of snow on the mountain is bringing the skiers out in force. Come get some July turns on the descent of your choice!

The Kautz Glacier has been getting a lot of action this year and there is currently a bootpack going straight up the ice pitch between the ice falls. What can be steep frontpointing on blue ice some years is currently a flight of stairs. Doesn't get easier than that - but be sure to start early to beat the mush and possible rock/ice fall.

June 2

Multiple parties have been attempting the Kautz Glacier route this past weekend. While finding soft snow on the approach almost all parties were able to cross the Nisqually and ascend Wapowety Cleaver without too much difficulty; however flotation is advised.

No direct reports from parties summiting but rangers have been in the area recently and report early season conditions with lots of fresh snow. The Kautz route offers a great alternative to the DC or Emmons and will continue to be in great shape for months given the current snowpack. Contact our Climbing Information Center for the most current conditions reports and consider a ski descent of this route or the Fuhrer Finger from the same basecamp.

April 13

Only two parties have been over to the Kautz Glacier area so far. The large amount of snow makes any upper mountain travel slow. Plan for extra time if you choose to attempt routes near the Kautz Glacier (Fuhrer Finger/Thumb, Wilson Headwall, etc.)
. Here's a link to last year's photos and condition reports for the Kautz Glacier.

Liberty Ridge 2011

Liberty Ridge ~ July 11, 2011

Climbing Rangers made a two day ascent of Liberty Ridge over the course of the last shift and reported excellent climbing conditions... once on route. The photos below tell the basic story of the climb and the conditions. Although the route is expected to stay in good climbing shape through the end of July, the approach across the Carbon Glacier will likely prove troublesome by the beginning of August.
View of Liberty Ridge from Lower Curtis Ridge

Upper portion of route from Carbon Glacier

Lower portion of route includes cutting across the bergschrund from the Carbon glacier and then ascending straight up the "bowling alley" to Thumb Rock. Remember that it is called the "bowling alley" for a reason...be heads up! Snow conditions were firm with ice in some spots.

Thumb Rock

Lenticular clouds forming down-stream of Rainier

From Thumb Rock, the route still climbs left and then straight up to the Black Pyramid before traversing left again.

Climbing below the Black Pyramid with Thumb Rock in the background. Perfect neve snow made for secure tool placements, good cramponing, and quick climbing.

Nearing the top of the Black Pyramid after crossing left over to "the Ramp".
Excellent climbing conditions persist.

Bergschrund is still navigated on the left and requires several short but exposed moves on moderate water ice. Ice screws are recommended for this pitch as well as the exit pitch above.

Finishing off the route, just below Liberty Cap, with one more pitch of moderate ice.

All together, Liberty Ridge was still in great climbing shape and recommended to those seeking a little extra adventure getting across the Carbon glacier. Check with climbing rangers at the White River Ranger Station for the latest known conditions.

See you on the mountain.

July 1st -

Hunter and I went up Lib ridge on June 30-July 2. Crossing the Carbon was straightforward with a few end runs of larger crevasses. We took the direct line right up the steep snow slope to Thumb Rock, on the Liberty Wall side, to avoid the constant rockfall coming off the lower part of Lib ridge, although we still had to dodge a few missiles on that slope.

After Thumb Rock the route is mainly hard and featured snow/snice with some ice beginning to show near the Black Pyramid, although staying out in the middle of that upper slope avoided it. Crossing the berg is an easy pitch of low grade ice as well there is another longer pitch of low grade ice to get onto the last portion of the ridge before walking up to Liberty Cap. Overall the route was in great shape and will probably remain with similiar conditions for at least another week or so. - Henrik

June 16th

Liberty Ridge is "in" and the climbing is great! The route up from Glacier Basin to St. Elmos Pass then across the Winthrop is still very snowy, making the Winthrop crossing pretty easy but potentially very postholy. Traveling very early in the day or using some sort of snow flotation device will make the approach go much quicker. The best-advised approach to the base of Liberty Ridge is now going up the center of the Carbon, then trending climber's right and gaining the base of the ridge on the west side.

The route proper is still mostly snow covered, although there is the snow-ice mix beginning to show in some areas above the Black Pyramid. Climbers will run into a bit of technical climbing high on the route crossing the schrund around 13,400'. Climbers have been navigating over the schrund on the climbers left side where there is currently a steep ramp leading to the lower angle slopes of Liberty Cap. To descend, parties will have to carry over to the Emmons, meeting up with that route in the 13,600' area, as there is a giant moat stretching across the length of the saddle at the top of the Winthrop.

June 9th

Since the White River road opened just over a week ago Liberty Ridge has seen its first climbing traffic of the season. We haven't received a very detailed report of the route as of this time, but rangers did get an opportunity to scout the route from the air and it appeared to be in great shape (like pretty much everything else on the mountain). This picture is of the upper part of the route, and shows lots of snow, a little bit of ice, and a few climbers making their way over the bergschrund. Stay tuned for more detailed reports as rangers get out on climbing patrols in the near future.

April 13th

No winter ascents have been done of Liberty Ridge, yet. The White River Entrance is scheduled (weather dependent) to open May 21st. Mowich Lake road is also currently closed. It is scheduled to open July 1st (this date varies quite a bit, but a better estimate will be available as the time nears).
Here is a link to last year's photos and trip reports on Liberty Ridge.

Gibraltar Ledges/Chute 2011

September 11
Gib Ledges has seen very little (if any) traffic over the last month. From the Muir Snowfield its obvious that there is no snow coverage for most of the traverse below Gib Rock. From Camp Muir the upper Cowlitz Glacier looks debris-ridden and improbable. The only way to approach the Ledges would be on the ridgeline, which presents with 2000ft of climbing on exposed scree. With warm temperatures, increased rock-fall activity, and unstable scree/talus slopes abound, Gib Ledges no longer seems like a practical way to obtain the summit. We'll need another good round of snow (i.e. winter) to bring the ledges back into shape. Look for more updates this winter, and as we approach the 2012 climbing season...

Thanks Ledges (for all the good times)!

July 3rd
Gib Ledges is still proving to be a great escape from the crowds on the DC. Accessing the route is still straight forward: pass the Beehive and ascend to the base of Gibraltar Rock. From here the ledges are melting quickly with the high freezing levels, but they still go! The small rock step is melted out, and is a rocky scramble, but easily managed. The chute is still in good shape, as is the upper mountain. Use caution and glacier travel techniques once above Camp Comfort as there are open crevasses.
The route currently offers one of the best shows in the park, a front row seat of the rockfall event that occured on June 26th off the Nisqually Cleaver. The route is an up-close and personal way to get a view of this still active geologic wonder, yet from a safe distance and out of any debris fall path. Cruise up and get a piece of this route before the summer sun melts it all away!

June 30th
Rangers had a great climb on the ledges on the 27th! Some of the snow has melted off of the ledges themselves, leaving a bit of scrambling/scree, but the route is definitely still possible. Multiple options still exist for accessing the start of the ledges. The upper part of the route (upper nisqually glacier) is in great shape. Climbers are able to take a fairly direct line from the top of Gib Chute all the way to 13,500, where it meets with the DC route. There where few obstacles as far as cravasse management, however parties should still follow their standard glacier travel techniques. The DC is getting busy, if you feel like getting away from the massses and taking a more direct line up the mountain, Gib Ledge is a great option. Be prepared for some loose rock, and dont forget the helmet!

June 23rd
Gib Ledges is still a go! Rangers were on the route over the past few days and found excellent conditions. The route is being climbed almost daily right now, and it is still providing a great alternative to the DC, and a nice escape from the crowds. Most parties are choosing to ascend the ridge from Camp Muir and cross behind the "beehive", as the Cowlitz glacier is starting to crack up. Once the ledges are gained at the base of Gibralter rock, the route is straight forward, with one rock step being melted out. The exit into Gib chute is also in great shape. From the top of the chute, climbers have been ascending the upper Nisqually, trending climbers right to join in with the DC route for the walk to the crater rim. Make sure to remember your brain bucket, as the temperatures have been rising and rocks have been falling on the route.

June 9th

Gib ledges is still "in", being climbed and all of that. Many climbers have been choosing to climb the ledges, which is the most direct and scenic route to the summit from Muir, and then descending the DC. This route should stay in good shape for a few weeks if our current weather persists.

June 1

Plenty of new snow and cold temps have maintained the Gib Ledges for an extended period.It is still the most direct route from Camp Muir. This route should be in excellent shape for at least another month. Come on up and get 'er!

May 26th

With the cold temps and fat snowpack, Gib ledges (and the Chute) continue to be in excellent climbing shape. This is the most direct route from Camp Muir to the summit and follows a very scenic line on the west side of Gibraltar, offering spectacular views of the Nisqually Ice Cliff and a little more solitude for climbers seeking a true wilderness experience.

From Camp Muir access to the entrance to Gib Ledges follows the most obvious line toward the Beehive, negotiating one of two open crevasses. A few climbers have been staying on the top of the ridge as much as possible while accessing the ledges; this route is a little more time consuming but does offer less exposure to avalanche-prone slopes from the Cowlitz above Camp Muir. Once in the ledges climbers can expect a rewarding climb, 100% snow covered, all the way through the top of Gib Chute. Above there a direct and clean line will take you all the way to the summit. Descend via Gib Ledges, the ID or the DC back to Muir.

May 1st

Conditions above Muir and through Gib Ledges are still very winter-like, with lots of snow on all parts of the route. The route itself should be very straightforward, with snow conditions dependent on the current weather.

Avalanche conditions will persist for some time still, so be sure to fully assess the weather and snowpack before and during your climb.

April 13th

Teams have summited via this route earlier this year. Full-on "winter conditions" can be expected. With week-long winter storms still passing through the area, avalanche conditions and visibility can vary from 'great' to 'poor' within a couple of hours. Though this is considered by many to be the "standard" or easiest route in winter conditions on Mount Rainer, be prepared for extreme cold and lots of snow. Here is a link to last year's reports for Gibraltar Ledges/Chute.

Ingraham Direct 2011

June 5th - A large crevasse grew even wider within the last couple of days making progress up the ID impractical. Climbing teams have switched to climbing on the Disappointment Cleaver route. Check here for the DC route conditions.

June 2-
As of yesterday the ID was the main route of choice out of Camp Muir. Rangers summited Sunday the 30th in good weather. However, yesterday guide services attempted the route and found a key bridge at 11,700 had collapsed or otherwise disappeared. They have turned their attention to the DC as an alternate route to the summit. Stay tuned as the Muir Corridor is in flux right now and we should have current updates available by phone beginning this afternoon. Conditions on the upper mountain are changing daily and it remains to be seen if the ID will see further ascents.

That said, the mountain is in great shape with most all routes offering good climbing. Don't hesitate to come up and enjoy the forecasted good weather on the upper mountain!!!

May 29th

Above is a snow profile from the 28th on the Ingraham Direct. Avalanche conditions turned climbers around on the 29th. The instability came mostly from wind transport the night before. There are still some things to keep an eye on but the route got pushed trough on the 30th.
The Ingraham Direct provided passage to the summit for 2 parties on the 30th, despite multiple difficulties on the upper part of the route. Finally, after 4 weeks of training, climbing rangers where able to summit from Camp Muir! A fixed rope up a short section of exposed climbing on steep snow is required in order to cross a large crevasse at approx. 13K. Climbers may need to traverse out climbers right (towards the Emmons) to find an alternative passage. The route above 13k seems highly dynamic right now due to rapidly changing snow and crevasse conditions. Climbers hoping for a good shot at the summit should be prepared to route find and negotiate crevasse crossings without reliance on other parties. That being said, much of the snow was firm and supportive making for some fun and efficient climbing. The route is still taking a relatively direct and highly aesthetic line straight up the center of some serious glacier terrain. If you are ready for some amazing climbing, and a legit mountaineering experience, get up here and take advantage of the Ingraham Glacier while it lasts!

May 26th

The ID is still the standard route of choice for climbers ascending out of Camp Muir. The climbing is fairly straightforward glacier travel, although there are a couple of more broken sections of glacier that require crossing thinning snowbridges. Be prepared to give your climbing partners a belay over these bridges along the route, or look for alternate ways of bypassing the thinner parts.

New snow on the upper mountain should improve conditions in the short term for the ID, but how long the ID remains the route of choice from Camp Muir will depend on weather and the condition of snow bridges on the middle section of the route. Climbers should maybe consider Gib Ledges, which remains in stellar shape, or exploring the DC.

May 13th

The ID is in great condition, though it is changing rapidly. If you are planning on climbing the ID, get on it soon, as it seems to be thinner than might be expected for such a snowy spring. Accordingly, it should be noted that there were some crevasses to be crossed on the route with thin bridges. The potential to route find and navigate around new hazards exist daily; do not assume that yesterday’s track is good for today. That said, travel early morning has offered excellent neve conditions and a generally direct route to the summit.

Disappointment Cleaver 2011

September 28th

After a few days of snow, rain, and heavy riming the DC is in an interesting state. Early this morning a thick crust turned two parties around near the bottom of the cleaver. Later in the day rangers wanted to see if the solar input was breaking down the crust. We were surprised to find the route in great shape in the afternoon. The cleaver is filled in enough to make for pleasant climbing, which is a nice change of pace from watching your crampons spark on the rocks.
Gaining the Emmons shoulder requires a little "heads up", but it is still reasonable. Up high the suspect crossings are starting to fill in nicely, but they could of course deteriorate again before winter.

Before the crust refroze tonight it had dehydrated a little making for more secure cramponing. However it is still a hard surface and there are several areas that have serious exposure. Running pro is justified in a few spots so don't be afraid to use it.

So all of this sounds great and I hope you are calling in sick and packing your bags right now. However, there is one last obstacle to mention. Between Cathedral Gap and Ingraham Flats the crust did not break down and it's thick and slick. We used front points and picks for about 75 feet. Tomorrow's high freezing level might have an impact on it, but the area gets so little sun that I would not hold my breath.

September 26th

Looks like summer is finally on the way out, with cold, wet weather coming back in. The last weekend of September, which was dominated by below-freezing temperatures and wind speeds in excess of 70 mph, provided little opportunity for climbers to reach the summit. This morning, rangers at Camp Muir opened their door to find a fresh dusting of snow, with a few drifts up to 2 feet deep! We may have a few more days of warm weather left, but Camp Muir has been winterized and we are anticipating the start of snow accumulation on the upper mountain.

Climbers looking to head up onto the DC can definitely expect to find “off-season” climbin
g conditions. Guide service activity has come to a screeching halt with the recent weather. At this point most of the fixed hardware has been removed from the route, including the ladder at 13,800’ and the confustication of fixed lines on the Emmons Shoulder. Any wands that were left high on the route are probably now in Yakima after Saturday night’s gale force wind event. Short story: climbing on the DC from here on out requires a high level of preparedness and self-sufficiency, treat it as if it were a non-standard route. Keep in mind that the avalanche hazard will be factoring it’s way back into the equation as we enter a new cycle of snow accumulation. Good luck up there, stay safe, and please let us know you are up there by self-registering!

September 21st

It only takes a day or two of good weather and the route has been re-established and it is looking good. Guide services are heading up daily and tonight looks like a great night to climb. The weather forecast for the next several days looks decent if not some high winds, but it's very pleasant at Camp Muir right now and relatively warm.

September 19th

The first snow of the winter arrived last weekend. Blistering winds brought in around 2 inches of precipitation. Snow drifts up to climber's knees have been causing difficulties for teams trying to summit. It's hard to predict how conditions will unfold later in the week as nicer weather returns. Disappointment Cleaver and Cathedral Gap are now covered in a loosely consolidated snow layer.

Though the path the route takes hasn't changed, the high winds (gusting to 70 mph) many of the wands have blown off the mountain and drifted in the climber's trail, making navigation difficult. Make sure to have a GPS or solid map/compass/altimeter skills to help navigate on the upper mountain!

September 14th

The DC continues to provided relatively straight foreward access to the summit for climbers who are confident with their crevasse negotiation skills. The main challenges continue to be the crossing on the Emmons shoulder at 12,600, and the crossing at 13,800. Additionally, warm weather has continued to pry open a crevasse near the top of the cleaver, which now has a fair bit of unstable bridging and exposure.

The crevasse just above the cleaver is easy to walk across, but the sharp turns in the route and
abundant snow bridges make it dificult to keep the ropes tight and inline. Parties should be prepared to belay this section, especially as it continues to break apart over the next few weeks.

The "complex" of snow bridges at 12,600 near the Emmons Shoulder is falling apart more and more every day. An alternative path was put in just to climbers right and below the original route. Both paths utilize fixed lines and end in the same place, but the new route does not have a ladder and appears to be more stable, although it is a little more exposed. Again, the conditions are changing very rapidly in this section of the route, you will have to decide when you get there which way looks better to you. Be prepared to set your own belays, and don't ever trust fixed lines unless you inspect the anchors yourself. They melt out daily!

The remainder of the route is in great condition, and the snow seems to be staying firm later into the day, now that we are headed towards fall. With the relatively stable weather we have had recently, conditions are overall great for climbing the DC. Remember that self-registration is in effect during the week, so plan ahead and make sure you check weather and route conditions before heading into the park. Hope to see you up here!

September 11th

With absolutely splitter weather the mountain has been changing rapidly, but holding up amazingly well! The DC has still been in great shape, providing many climbers with great summit climbs.
This time of year is a great time to get on the upper mountain and avoid the crowds. The guide services are still running trips through the end of the month, but the number of independent climbers has gone down, especially mid week, offering more of a wilderness experience on the most popular route on the mountain.
The route itself is still holding strong for mid-September. The main concerns right now are crevasse bridges and rock fall. The Emmons shoulder now has a ladder over the crevasse system at 12,600, which is a little bit hollow beneath. As always, if you are uncomfortable with what you see, set a picket and belay team members across, or take an alternate route that your team likes better.
The cleaver itself is still partially snow, and partially rock, there are many options, both on the rocks and the snow. Generally the route is going out to the spine, then angling up and climbers left before switch backing through snow and rock to the top of the cleaver.
The upper portion of the route is in great condition, being largely the same as it has been for weeks. The ladder at 13,800 is still in place, however, make sure to check the anchors for yourself before your team crosses.
Come on up and enjoy the amazing late season weather and conditions!

August 28th

It's been roasting up on the mountain the last few days, but the climbing has still been great. The intense heat has some impact on crevasse conditions on the upper DC. The main concern right now is the large crevasse at 12,600 ft. on the traverse over to the Emmons shoulder. It's been prying its way open for a while and the bridge/plug is getting to be fairly hollow underneath. Hand lines were established a few days ago, but they add only slightly to the overall safety of the crossing. Not much can be done other than maintaining a tight rope and trying to climb through this section as early as possible. With the extreme heat we've been experiencing, the afternoon is not a great time to be climbing around on this thing...

There's a ladder in place at 13,800 ft. It's well anchored and has handlines and pickets for running belays if you want to use them. This crossing is definitely one of the bottleneck spots on the route, so have a plan and try to move through here quickly.

Not much else to say about the DC. The snow is melting off of the the cleaver rapidly. There are multiple route options both on and off of the snow. As always, be highly conscious about rope management,as it's a major factor in minimizing rock fall (keep those ropes short and off the ground).

The guide services are still going strong on the DC, but the number of independent climbers is dwindling. There has been space available in the public shelter on most nights. If you are looking for a little more solitude come up to camp muir during the week, it's getting pretty quite!

The DC remains in great conditions with minimal rock groveling while maintaining firm bridges and easy travel. Many, many climbers have made the summit this past week and climbing rangers were no exception. Rather than say a bunch of stuff you already know, here are some photos from a week on the upper mountain to up the stoke:

August 16th

Summer still reigns on the upper mountain. See earlier posts on this thread for great tips and details on the Disappointment Cleaver. Overall the route continues to be in stellar shape. Well-prepared teams are summitting without any issues. Cracks on the upper part of the route (above the cleaver) continue to widen, but with a little bit of a running start, and courage, crossing these crevasses poses no problem.

Check out the picture of the traverse from the top of the cleaver to the Emmon's shoulder. The traverse is actually a welcome respite from the constant "up" and "down" of the rest of the route. Enjoy the route while it still goes easy!

August 8th

Summer is finally here; the DC is still in great shape for August and is more reminiscent of July climbing. There is plenty of time for you to attempt the route in relatively straight-forward conditions. Sunset or early morning climbs are highly recommended as cooler temperatures provide for more enjoyably climbing. If for whatever reason you do climb during the day, remember to bring lots of water and that the increasing heat of the day can contribute to collapsing serac ice and weakening snow bridges.

Yesterday, another climbing ranger and myself climbed the route twice from Camp Muir. The first climb started at 2:30am, our second climb started at 7am. Even by 7am, the temperature had risen signficantly. Freezing level has been hovering right around 13,000 feet. The night time/early morning temperatures are perfect. Our second climb later in the day I did entirely in a base layer all the way to the summit crater rim and it was uncomfortably hot.

The route is still in good shape, wanded with a good boot pack trail. There is one ladder in place to cross a small crack on the Ingraham Glacier on the traverse below the Ice Box to access the toe of the Cleaver Photos were taken on August 13th, the upper photo shows the traverse off the top of the cleaver, the lower photo shows the amount of snow still on the cleaver itself (lots for this time of year).

August 3rd

The DC is still in AMAZING shape for early August. Refer to post below for current route information. One alternative, and a great way to get some solitude on one of the most popular routes in Cascades is to consider a "Sunset Climb".

Rangers recently set of from Camp Muir just
after the sun set behind the mountain, and climbed the route in complete solitude in time to catch the amazing sunset from the summit. This type of climb can help you avoid the crowds, and do your descent as the temps drop for the evening, providing firm cramponing, and overall excellent conditions. Use caution while descending in darkening conditions, and bring some extra layers!

Come on up and get a piece of the fun while it is still in phenomenal shape!

August 2nd

The beautiful summer weather is finally here, and lots of teams are still getting after it on the upper mountain. The DC route is still in great condition considering it's early August. Some important updates on the route:

-The route up to Camp Muir is finally beginning to melt out. Please stay on marked trails when not traveling over the snow.

-There are several crevasses opening up near the climbing trail in the Ingraham Flats area,so stay alert.

-The fixed lines have been removed from the cleaver. The toe of the cleaver is mostly rock, and then the route returns to the snow and switchbacks up to the top of the cleaver.

-There are some large crevasse crossings above the cleaver. The snowbridges covering these crevasses will continue to melt as the warm, sunny weather works its magic. Inspect snowbridges for yourself and don't assume they are safe because another party crossed them two hours earlier.

That's about it! The mountain is waiting for you!

July 22nd

So while the lowlands and city areas have been obscured by clouds most of t
his past week, the entire upper mountain has been mostly sunny, warm, and despite a few hours of breezy conditions one day, a wholly pleasant place to spend time.

As for the DC route specifically, it's in about the best shape anyone could hope for in mid-summer. The route makes an easy crossing of the Cowlitz, climbs a mostly snow covered Cathedral Gap, and proceeds over easy ground to Ingraham Flats. From Ingraham Flats the route gains the toe of the cleaver by passing underneath a sizeable icefall area. It is recommended that climbers move fast through this area...especially if you find yourself descending late on a warm day! Those chunks of ice didn't grow on the glacier.

Once on the cleaver climbers
will traverse an increasingly rocky path until they reach the spine of the cleaver. There are still fixed lines that are maintained by the guide services to assist climbers who might feel uncomfortable with the slight feeling of airiness on this part of the route. Use the ropes with caution, and as a hand line only please, there is no need to Jumar up these lines. Above the toe climbers can either switchback up the moderate angled snowfields on the west side of the cleaver or travel in a direct line up the spine of the cleaver. Either way you choose watch out for other climbers and be aware of the entire situation at all times. We do advise climbers to take up coils and short rope their teams up this section of the route. This makes it easier for all groups by creating more space for other climbers and making it easier to walk up the tight switchbacks. Since there are no crevasses on the cleaver proper, full stretched out ropes ar
e not needed for safety. Let out your coils once above the cleaver and continue in normal fashion.

Above the top of the cleaver the route makes a long traverse out to the Emmons shoulder, before returning to a more upwardly direction. From the end of the traverse the route climbs some very well entrenched switchbacks all the way to the crater rim. This part of the route is still very solid at the moment, although it does cross a few sizeable crevasses on the way to the top. The snow bridges are still very thick, but as the weather warms up (I'm still optimistic it will happen at somepoint) the condition of these bridges can change rapidly. Always make decisions based on current conditions and what you see as you climb. I would like to also take this opportunity to throw out another piece of advice...large snowbridges over large crevasses are not a wise place to take a break, and if you put a picket into the snowbridge to clip yourself into, well it probably won't help you when the ground falls out from under you. There are many great places to take a rest on the climbing route. Please choose wisely.

Also remember that since this route can sometimes, if not often, be very crowded, it is a common courtesy to allow climbing teams moving faster than yours to pass. If the passer and the passee both work together on this, it ends up going faster for all persons.

Yeah! Climbing! Whoo!

July 17th

The past couple of days have seen some poor weather on the mountain with high winds, low visibility, and even a little new snow accumulation. But fear not, as moderate weather is predicted for the upcoming week. Expect to see some fresh snow drifts on the SE side of the route. Fixed lines are still up on the Cleaver, but as always check their security before using, and don't prussik into them. Skiing is getting difficult due to the large penitentes and suncups on the snowfield. Overall, the route is in great condition, so come on out and hit it!

July 12th

Not much is new with the DC route. Snow is melting off quickly, creating more exposed loose rock below cathedral gap and on the cleaver, but the terrain is still manageable.
The hand-lines on the nose of the cleaver are becoming impractical with the large volume of traffic on the route, so many climbers are choosing to "switchback" up the nose instead. The route above the cleaver hasn't changed much in the last week or so. It still wanders around on the Emmons Glacier, but nothing out of the ordinary as far as crevasse issues. Overall the route is still good, its a great time to come up and climb!

July 3rd

The DC is still in great shape for this time of year. While the route is circuitous, it is in solid shape. Cathedral Gap remains largely covered with snow, however rockfall is increasing off of cathedral rocks. Once up to Ingraham Flats the route is heading straight up until it bends climbers right under the ice fall on the Ingraham, which has grown quite active with the warm summer temperatures.

The fixed lines remain in place accessing the cleaver and up the bottom 1/3 of the spine of the cleaver. As noted in the previous post, many climbers are simply using these as a "hand line" while traversing. The cleaver itself is still 95% snow covered, making for great travel up and down.

Above the cleaver the route almost immediately traverses climbers right to gain the Emmons shoulder, before making switchbacks up and climbers left toward the crater rim. Some crevasses are starting to show through, but are still easily negotiable. Come on up and enjoy this classic route while it is still in prime condition!

June 30th

The DC has been highly dynamic over the last week. Lots of warm weather has caused daily changes in route conditions, but overall it seems to be doing pretty well. There is still a fair amount of snow on the cleaver, but the upper part of the route is beginning to wander all over. Expect a long and circuitous traverse out on the shoulder of the Emmons glacier.

There are still many fixed lines on the traverse from Ingraham Flats and on up the "nose" of the Cleaver. Climbers have had issues with long wait times at some of these lines, so we are encouraging people to use efficient technique when utilizing the fixed lines. Frequent transitions at picket anchors make prussiking/jumaring on these lines impractical, and many independent climbers are even choosing to utilize them as hand lines only, thereby avoiding "clipping-in" all together. Also, be mindfull of were you stop to take breaks, certain areas on the lower DC route are more prone to rockfall and icefall.

This is a great time to come out and climb the DC, conditions are good and the weather is finally acting more like summer. Keep a look out for warmer temperatures and unstable snow bridges! That said, parties who are comfortable with standard glacier travel techniques can expect minimal challenges in reaching the summit.

June 22rd

Climbing rangers have been out and about on the DC route the past several days. The route is in great condition, and the guide teams have been doing a super job with maintaining this trade route on the mountain.

Parties will find fixed lines along the
bottom half of the cleaver that have been placed by the guide teams. Remember to check the snow pickets if your team decides to clip (not prussik) into these lines.

Above the cleaver, the route currently switchbacks up to 13,000' before making a long traverse east over to the shoulder of the Emmons Glacier. The route then switchbacks towards the southwest entrance of the crater rim. Several crevasses still containing snow bridges must be crossed on the route.

It takes most teams the same time to go from Camp Muir to the summit as it did to get from Paradise to Camp Muir. (And half that time to get back down to Camp Muir from the summit). There are currently two foxes diligently patrolling Camp Muir for messy camps and food left in packs. Please remember to store all food zipped up inside your tent.

June 16th

The DC has been the scene of dozens of summits in the last few days with the route well beaten in by guided groups and independent parties alike. It is in great shape and should remain so for quite some time.

Currently, the route has hand-lines on the traverse over to the Nose of the Cleaver and the bottom third of the Cleaver proper has a hand-line as well. Please be mindful of these hand-lines; do not prussik onto them nor should one regard them as 'bomber'. The route takes a hard climber's right onto the Emmons shoulder at 12,500 and then zigs back towards the Cleaver on a long traverse above the ID. While circuitous it is the easiest and most heavily traveled route on the mountain with very little in the way of open crevasses on the route.

Please climb with care and keep the route clean. Take bluebags on summit day and use them! Be mindful of the local fox 'Slim Shady' as he is climbing this route almost daily picking up climber scraps. Also, zip your food into your tent, not your vestibule. The fox has ruined more than one summit attempt by grabbing breakfasts left out in climber's vestibules.

June 5th

Teams have been summitting via the DC for the last couple of days. Multiple guide companies sent guides up the route to "punch it in" - establish a wanded, boot-packed, and switch-backed route up the cleaver. Overall the DC is in great shape. It's totally snow covered making for great cramponing and quick access to the upper mountain. Stop in and chat with the climbing rangers at Camp Muir to get up-to-date snow conditions as these will change everyday.

June 1st

The DC is poised to become the route of choice out of the Camp Muir corridor. Guide services began staging fixed rope and explored the route from Ingraham Flats over to the nose yesterday. As with most of the mountain, conditions appear snowy and a month late compared to recent years but this should guarantee the longevity of this route through the peak season.

For those looking for a good summit ski descent the Cleaver offers good snow coverage with very little rock exposure at this time. Come on up and check in with the climbing rangers for the latest on the DC!

April 13th

No climbing teams have been on this route yet. All climbing teams have been using the Ingraham Direct. Eventually the Ingraham Direct will melt out and become too broken to ascend and climbing teams will transition to using the DC. We'll update this page as that happens.

Here's a link to photos and condition reports from last year.

Camp Muir and Muir Snowfield 2011

April 14, 2012

After a shaky start to this year's snowfall, we rallied the second half of the season.  Paradise is currently about 120% of normal with 203 inches on the ground.  It's safe to say there is good coverage.  The good news continues from Paradise on up!

Today, the ski penetration was about 1cm, so skinning was easy on some dust on crust.  Most people could make it all the way to Camp Muir just with boots as long as they stayed in the path.  However, skis were the tool of choice if you were anywhere off the main path to Muir.  Ski pen maxed out around 9000 feet, breaking through only about 5-10 cm in most places.

Strong work to the nearly 100 people that made it up in the sun today.  Most folks were leaving the parking lot somewhere between 8:00 and 10:00 am.  The wind was calm and the temps were in the 20's.  With a bright sun through filtered clouds, this made for a base layer only ascent all the way up for me.

It was truly a sit in the sun and enjoy the view day.  By about 14:00, the cloud deck rose and began to filter through camp, so it got a little chillier.

On the way down, the skiing was 8/10 all the way back down to Paradise (scale is relative to Muir - not a powder day at Alta).  I thought I might hit some bare spots and chatter on the way down, but it was smooth snow the entire way back down.  Muir to Paradise in about 30 minutes.  What a nice way to get down the hill.

November 3rd, 2011

Temps are in the single digits this morning up at Camp Muir. Winds have calmed to 30 mph but it was sure howling yesterday with sustained speeds over 80 mph with maximum gusts over 100.

Most importantly it is still super icy up here and on the snowfield, with boilerplate ibare ice in large stretches and under a very few inches of snow in others. There aren't many times that one wants a pair of crampons to get up to Camp Muir, but this is one of 'em (see Stefan's post just below).

October 28th, 2011

Glenn and I left Paradise on one of those really nice autumn days for a good fall check-up on Camp Muir. It had been at least 10 days since we've had rangers up there. There was snow in the shadowy places on the trail leaving Paradise. By Glacier Vista, there was a good 3" covering the trail. It turns out we weren't the only people looking for a good hike today, as there were many people ahead of us.

Since it hadn't been that cold yet, there was still water flowing at Pebble Creek when we crossed it. We hopped up on the snow below Sugarloaf at about 7300 feet. On steeper sections we were having trouble getting any traction. We'd slip and quickly slide 10-15 back. That was quite an ice layer that was put down a week ago. This caused some problems for us all the way.

I am surprised to say that by the time we were at about 8000 feet we were having a really hard time taking any more steps up than we were sliding back. We made it to the top of Moon Rocks (9,200') and it seemed really silly to think that we wouldn't be able to make it up to Muir. The 3-5 inches of snow was adhering well enough to the ice layer that skiers were having no problem skinning up, but anyone walking without crampons like we were wasn't making very fast progress.

I followed the rocks to the right of Moon Rocks toward Anvil Rock, but that only led me to the top of a convexity that if I were to fall, the resulting trajectory would carry me straight into a jumble of large boulders. I glanced over at Glenn and he was making slow (2 step up, 1 slid back) progress straight up from Moon Rocks.

I managed to use a technique of sticking my poles into the ice, then stepping on the upper sides of them. This acted like having 1-point crampons. I did this until I got to the flat area above Anvil Rock at around 9600. Once there, the ice gave way to a surface with a little more traction.

Skiers had a great descent. 3-5 inches of powder. Stay off those edges! It was just ice underneath. But between 20-40 people had a nice ski down.

I relate this story to show that this time of year, please bring crampons, shoe chains, or instep crampons, at the very least, on your winter trips to Camp Muir. After having been to Camp Muir around 500 times in the last 20 years, I can still be caught with my pants down. Keep your pants up!

September 19th -

Last weekend brought the incredible finale to an amazing season on the Muir Snowfield. A record amount of snow lingering in the area covered the crevasses and icy patches on the snowfield for the entire season. Usually by late July or early August glacial ice begins to show itself near Moon Rocks, requiring climbers and day hikers to don crampons on the snowfield. The first snow of the winter blew in over the last weekend adding even more snow to the snowfield.

Though skiers and snowboarders have been eeking out turns, the general conditions for carving turns are bad. Patches of loose wind-packed snow checker the hard consolidated snow surface that's been rotting in the sun all summer.

Flowers and trails around Paradise are still in great shape. Snow did not accumulate below 8000 feet, thus trails are still snow free, and the flora has a nice sheen of dew. Come on up and enjoy the ephemeral Washington Autumn in Paradise!

September 10th

The Labor Day holiday and the "summer" season have come and gone. That said, the route up to Camp Muir is more pleasant than ever. The meadows are mostly melted out, making for excellent marmot watching and flower photos. As the previous post mentioned, please stay on the rock-lined trail to preserve the fragile meadows with their extremely short growing season.

The route from Pebble Creek up to Muir is in excellent condition, being 95% snow. Travel in the early to mid day is most pleasant right now with the warm temperatures, offering solid footing. The route is still wanded, and being traveled by the guide services, and lots of day hikers on the weekends, but as always be ready to do some route finding if any unexpected fall weather rolls in.

Camp Muir itself is in excellent shape, being melted out, and quite beach-like lately with the high temperatures. The skies have been a little smokey lately due to the wildfires burning around the Northwest, making for some interesting and colorful sunrises and sunsets. Come on up and say hello, and take in the beautiful views.

August 25th

The record snowpack is finally starting to yield the the heather and flowers of the Paradise meadows making for some great photos ops on your approach. This also increases the importance of staying on the trail. With all the snow patches on the trail, and the amount of melt every day the trail may not always look like the most direct line. If you take a second to look for the maintained trail before you step off the snow you will prevent a lot of resource damage. Un-stomped flowers make much better photos than those crushed by a size 11 mountaineering boot.

The route up from Pebble Creek is still 95% snow covered and very direct. Only the most die-hard skiers will find it worthy to pack your skis up the snowfield. Large sun cups on the upper snowfield make for a pretty bumpy ride. If you just can't wait to make some turns, try scouting out the Paradise Glacier. Camp Muir will be staffed by climbing rangers for several more weeks. Climber traffic has begun to drop off a little so if you think you want to avoid the crowds come up and pay us a visit.

August 23rd

A thank you is in order for all of you that have helped out at Camp Muir this season. We rangers and your fellow climbers greatly appreciate it when people step up and pack out other people's trash from the public shelter. Camp Muir gets thousands of visitors every season and unfortunately there is always the 10% of people who are not on board with the pack-it-in/pack-it-out ethic.

Some even go further. Here is a pic of Patrick from Ellensburg helping rangers move rocks back from the tent area to stabilize the chossy berm that is Camp Muir. When climbers remove rocks from the berm to anchor their tents it causes a considerable amount of erosion. Just look at our heli-pad. Here's a way to anchor your tent and clean up the mountain at the same time. While hiking up the snowfield collect the broken wands that used to mark the route but now are just litter. Break them up into 8 inch segments and girth hitch a bunch of them together and use them as a dead man anchor for your guy lines. When you leave dig up your; free, organic, fair trade, sustainable, light-weight, reusable, multipurpose tent anchors, pack them out and use them to start your camp fire on your next outing(below timberline in a proper fire pit, of course!).

August 9th

We are now setting records each day at Paradise for total snow on the ground for these days in August. The former record was in 1974 after one of the 1000+" years we had back then. There's never been this much snow at Paradise in August in recorded history (since 1916).

I just skied all the way up to Camp Muir from Paradise. I only had to take my skis off 3 times between Pan Point and Pebble Creek. Otherwise you can ski all the way back down to Paradise from Muir.
Here's the beta. Ski the Paradise Glacier - or at least the western margin nearest to the Muir Snowfield. Yes. It is a glacier. There are crevasses, but for those who are prepared with the proper gear, the skiing is far superior.

Expect a some rather large and unpleasant suncups from Camp Muir to 9700 feet, but as soon as you're around the bottom of Muir Rocks, cut skier's left and head over towards Anvil Rock. The snow gets smoother near Anvil Rock and for the rest of the way down. Stay next to anvil and ski the steeper section. On your way over Anvil, veer right and hug the rocks on the west side of the glacier.

August 4th

August weather has finally started to melt some of the snow from the Paradise meadows. Please be cautious when transitioning from melted out patches of trail back to snow patches - the alpine meadows are extremely fragile at this point in the season. The snowfield has lots of snow still hanging around. Though ski conditions are becoming more technical and challenging, it's still possible to ski 90% of the way from Camp Muir back to Paradise.

No icy sections or crevasses have appeared on the snowfield. Crampons and ice axes may be nice to have once the snow firms up at night time or early in the morning, but other than those times a sturdy pair of hiking boots and trekking poles will work.

July 22

Camp Muir has been a busy and mostly sunny place over the past week. We have had many climbers, campers, skiers and day hikers out playing in the park. The weather looks like it is going to stay mostly nice (at least above the clouds) so come on up and visit.

The travel from Paradise to Camp
Muir remains about 98% snow at the moment. There are a few spots in the upper Paradise meadows and around Panorama Point that are down to dirt but that is about it. Expect these sections of bare trail to become more prevalent as the snow continues to melt, and help protect the meadows by following the wanded trails and paying extra close attention to where you are stepping in the snow to dirt transition areas. Above Pebble Creek the travel is 100% snow, and the route is currently very well traveled and wanded. Snowshoes are not needed, due to well consolidated snow but on really hot days leaving early will make things easier.

If you are staying at Muir please remember a few important things to do while you are there. One of these is to pick up a plastic food storage container from the rangers to use during your stay. These containers help protect your food from creatures such as foxes, ravens, and mice. They are also a convenient and dry place to keep food during your stay so you have more space in your tent. Secondly please help us keep Muir clean by packing everything you brought up back down the mountain with you. In the Public Shelter trash and abandoned gear is becoming increasingly common. There is no trash service at Muir and rangers have to pack down their own trash, and don't like to add yours to their load. Trash includes unopened food, unused fuel, jugs of water, wands as well as all the normal stuff. This is your shelter please keep it clean for others!

Skiing on the snowfield is becoming increasingly bumpy with sun-cups, but there are still large areas of good snow. If you are still into skiing try checking out some of the lesser traveled areas...some of them are holding the goods still. Explore and be creative!

Remember sunscreen, sunglasses and lots of water, even if you leave Paradise in the clouds.

July 14

That said, the Muir snowfield is still mostly snow, and if you go slowly and cautiously, it is almost impossible to get lost. The boot pack is deep and obvious, and the majority of the route is still wanded. Pay attention up at Pan Point to areas that have been roped off. These are potential danger zones, and ecologically sensitive areas. Stay on the path, and have FUN!

July 7

So it's early July and yesterday I skied from camp Muir to Paradise without removing my skis once. That's pretty unprecedented for this time of year, but at the same time summer is now upon us with full days of sunshine and very warm temps, so conditions will change rapidly in the near future. So if skiing in July is your thing get out now.

For all you people out there who are foot travelers
or who are just plain over wearing your ski boots, the traveling on the snowfield is best done early in the morning, or later in the evening. Although the snow is starting to consolidate and there is a very well entrenched boot pack, the radiation and warm temperatures make mid-day travel kind of sloppy.

As the winter's snow melts, please be sure to stay on the trails and avoid traveling over the very fragile meadows above Paradise. The appropriate trails will be marked with wands and bamboo as much as possible, but please be self aware of where your feet are going.

And last but certainly not least congratulations to Patrick and Ami (please forgive the misspelling) who tied the knot on our heli-pad on July 4th! The groom even carried up his own watermelon for the celebration, which was graciously shared with rangers and other climbers. Thanks again you guys!

June 16

The Snowfield/Muir Corridor has been seeing lots of traffic despite variability in weather conditions. The skiing is excellent. Keep in mind
that continuing past Camp Muir requires a climbing pass and climbers and skiers should be prepared for crevassed glacial terrain. Please be prepared for inclement weather and navigation issues.

We have had some issues with a fox following climbers and hikers up the snowfield and picking up scraps left behind by careless visitors. Please do not encourage the fox and please be mindful of leave no trace ethics in the wilderness.

The snow is becoming more and more consolidated. Snow shoes are generally not needed unless you plan to climb after a large storm cycle. Keep an eye on the weather to help you determine current conditions.

June 9th

There have been some absolutely gorgeous days on the snowfield lately, and plenty of people coming out to play. The route from Paradise to Muir is still 100% snow covered. The route is also very well wanded, so navigation should be fairly easy, but having a map and compass or GPS is still always recommended.

If you are staying overnight at Muir please remember to clean up your area of all food and store it safely in your tent. Our alpine fox is back and had been raiding unattended food, as well as tearing into people's packs to steal a tasty morsel or two. So please help us keep the wildlife wild by not feeding the fox...even accidentally...and letting him forage for more natural food such as mice, which we could use a few less of around camp.

May 26th

The Muir snowfield is a snowy playground at the moment. A cold winter with ample snowfall (still) has provided excellent conditions for skiing, hiking, and enjoying the winter beauty of Mount Rainier. This past week the snowfield and Muir have enjoyed many sunny days, even though there are clouds obscuring the view into the lowlands.

The winter route from Paradise to Muir is very well wanded at the moment, but visitors should not rely on wands and other footprints 100%. Stop by the Jackson Visiotr Center or Climbing Information Center to get the latest info on snowfield conditions and to pick up a route guide containing compass bearings and GPS points.

Remember your sunscreen and sunglasses even if it is cloudy and raining when you leave Paradise...you could be in the sun before you know it. Enjoy!

April 24th

With good weather the last two days, and lots of traffic, a great skin-track and a braided boot-track was established all the way to Camp Muir. The snow up high (near Camp Muir) was mostly wind packed powder, while down low (around the Paradise Area) was mashed potatoes in the sun and ice in the shade. The route to Camp Muir has some bamboo wands marking the way, but they are not reliable, or evenly spaced. Please remember to bring your own system to navigate to and from Camp Muir. With more storm cycles passing through soon, there should be some fresh powder by next weekend!

April 13th - There's above average snow pack out there this year and it shows. Skis and snowshoes are necessary for anybody wanting to leave the Paradise Parking Lot. Please check the weather forecast and avalanche danger before heading out. For 2010's conditions check this