Hot temps and sunshine have made this route quite a bit rockier. The approach to Indian Henry's Hunting Grounds have pretty much melted out which makes for a quicker hike to the cleaver itself. Definitely have a plan to deal with the bugs if you decide to stay in the sub-alpine zone.
Though rocky, this route still can be pretty fun late into the season. No recent trip reports to post, but teams summitted via this route in late-July.
Success Cleaver is in very good shape right now. Our approach took us from Longmire to Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground. We were met with continuous snow above 4300' on the Wonderland Trail. This is the section you will want to hit early due to post-holing, otherwise some form of flotation would be highly recommended. The cleaver itself is becoming slightly melted out on the ridge, but still provides excellent climbing. We encountered large penitentes (two feet tall) right around 11,100’. The traverse off the Success Cleaver to the Kautz Cleaver and upper Kautz headwall is very straight forward and requires minimal route finding. The traverse is all snow covered with only a few steps of verglassed and naked rock. This is a very long, scenic route with lots of vertical gain. The Upper Kautz headwall is in excellent condition, with the last crux step at 13,700' still filled in with snow. There is a clear separation of snow quality at around 13,750' from softer corn to featured sastrugi up until Columbia Crest. Be aware of wet slide action on the Kautz head-wall in the afternoon hours. Due to the southern aspect, this large snow slope can become unstable with increasing temperatures. There were small visible point releases on the upper headwall that appeared to be rather recent. Overall, the route is still in very good condition but is melting out quickly with the recent warm weather. Watch for rock fall, and safe climbing!
Cleaver becoming slightly melted out at approx. 9600',
but still climbable without too much scrambling.
Success Cleaver from Pyramid Peak northern shelf.
Melting out... We'll probably start seeing some wildflowers soon.
Success Cleaver's initial shelf at approx. 8100'.
Some pretty substantial penitentes forming at around 11,100'.
These were averaging about 1.5-2 feet high.
We had a few run-ins with verglassed rock steps around
11,500'. Very easy to maneuver with ice tools, but one
might run into a few issues with a single standard piolet.
These Photos were around May 25. This route still looks good, but as snow melts it quickly deteriorates into a rubble pile. The large bulges of rime that form around the upper rockbands normally does not seem to be very substantial this year. Hard to say if that will make things easier or harder up near Point Success.
|Success Couloirs. Success Cleaver on Left in photo.|
|Kautz Cleaver and Upper Success|
The following pictures and brief report are courtesy of Adam Ungar from Alpine Ascent International.
"On the approach we cut in between Pyramid and Copper peaks instead of following the Wonderland Trail to Mirror Lakes. The Route is entirely on snow at the moment, and the traverses below the gendarmes and onto the headwall were very solid"