Sunset Ridge and Amphitheater 2015

August 30, 2015

It's getting to be that time of year where the non standard routes (routes other than the highly traveled DC and Emmons) are seeing substantially less climbing traffic.  Upper mountain terrain is becoming very featured and broken which results in substantially difficult terrain navigation and route finding.  As we move into the fall months, these routes are becoming much more dangerous from objective hazard such as rock fall, ice fall, unstable snow bridges, decompensating plugs, and long deep crevasses that are difficult to navigate around.  It is highly recommended to wait until next climbing season to attempt these routes and allow the winter months to heal the current upper mountain conditions.

May 19-21 2015
Sunset Ridge and the upper Mowich Face
Climbing rangers patrolled in the Sunset Ridge area for three days this past week. Access was snow free from the Westside Road to Klapatche Park via the St.Andrews Creek Trail.

Snow conditions were less than ideal; slow, heavy, mid-shin to waist deep wallowing with an unsupportable crust. We retreated around about 10,200' due to poor snow and variable weather conditions.

Recent wet slide avalanche debris was plentiful as visible in the pictures below.
Crossing the Puyallyup and South Mowich Glaciers was straightforward with few open crevasse crossings. The central bridge on the upper South Mowich Glacier bergschrund is short lived, possibilities for passage exist to either end.

If and when the weather the conditions firm up Sunset Ridge looks like it might have a short but prime window this season.

-682 Tomlinson

Crossing the South Mowich Glacier
Just below the bergschrund ~9600'
Looking down over the South Mowich and Puyallup Glaciers