Gibraltar Ledges/Chute 2012

July 18

It's been a while since anyone has climbed through the ledges. Conditions would be expected to be rocky with some broken icy glacier showing at the top of Gibralter Chute.

June 18
A patrol up the ledges found good conditions lower on the route, but late-season crevasses and looming seracs on top Gib Rock.  See pic to the right.  A possible exit out climbers left above Gib Chute would be an option, but traveling fast and cool temps would be recommended.

There was still quite a bit of snow along the back side of Gib Rock.  This season the crux appears to be getting off the ledges onto the upper mountain and route finding up to the crater rim.  Awesome views of collapsing seracs and big powder sprays onto the upper Nisqually make this route a must see. 

June 14

New snow up high has perpetuated the good conditions on the ledges.  As long as snow/rime covers a lot of the loose rock on the ledges, this can be one of the most enjoyable, direct, and surprisingly remote climbs on the mountain - just outside of Camp Muir!

May 16

Gibraltar Ledges
Interesting and beautiful climbing along Gib ledges. Climbing up the Cowlitz from Muir to the the ledges is mostly straightforward, with one or two minor crevasse crossings about halfway to the base of Gibraltar rock. It is possible to stay on snow all the way through to the small notch between the beehive ridge and Gib Rock.

The ledges themselves are an airy traverse of mixed snow and rock, that seem to be melting out quickly. Beware of rockfall along the ledges and consider getting an early start to avoid making this traverse in the heat of the day.

Gib Chute
The Gibraltar chute appears to still be in good shape for climbing, though rockfall is starting to build up in it so if you want to ski it, bring your rock skis! 

Above the chute the Nisqually Icecliff is starting to break up into a number of amazing fissures and seracs that come almost all the way to the rock. Either take your chances navigating the crevasse field or hug the rock on the right, where a few snow bridges (be careful, and evaluate before crossing!) allow relatively straightforward access to Camp Comfort. 

Gibraltar Ledges
Above Camp Comfort standard glacier travel with a few minor routefinding/crossing problems take you to the Columbia Crest. Up until this week this was the finish for the guided routes up the Ingraham Direct, but the guide organizations have since moved their route to the other side of the Ingraham so be aware that this upper part of the route (past Camp Comfort) is no longer wanded.

May 9

Gib ledges is a total go at this time. The ledges themselves are mixed snow and rock, with standard glacier terrain above and below. Above Gibraltar and Camp Comfort the glacier has some big crevasses showing, but those can be bypassed by traversing climbers left further onto the Nisqually, or by traversing climbers right toward the standard DC route.

The Gibraltar chute appears to be in great shape for climbing and skiing also, just be sure to get an early start as this route is prone to rockfall and avalanches when the temps get warm.

May 2

June 1

Here's a link to last year's posts.