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)!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.