Kautz Glacier 2016

October 4th,

The Kautz Glacier hasn't seen any recent activity.  The last climbers on route climbed in mid-August and with winter-like weather in early-October climbers can expect off-season conditions until May 2017.  

Thursday, August 11th

The two following pictures were taken via helicopter on Thursday the eleventh.  The ice tongue involves multiple pitches of glacial alpine ice.  The upper section is still navigable, but with thinning snow bridges due to the recent warm weather and high pressure.

Sunday, July 25th

Current conditions as of 7/24/2016

View of the approach from Glacier Vista

View of the Fan as of 7/23/2016

GPS approach track 7/23/2016
Climber approaching the Castle high camp

The approach to the Kautz Glacier is in good condition. The Fan is still being used by most but is melting out fast. Access through Van Trump Park will be the best approach to use after the fan melts out. It has more elevation gain approx. 1,800 but is far less hazardous or prone to rock fall. Something to consider as summer presses on.

Climber starting the upper ice pitch.

Rock step down the the Kautz Glacier at 11,200

Climber on lower ice pitch
GPS track of Kautz Glacier route as of 7/24/2016

Upper ice pitch condition as of 7/24/2016

The climbing is in great summer condition. The Lower and upper ice pitches have multiple lines to ascend depending on your flavor. The glacier travel above the ice is still very manageable with many options for crossing over opening crevasses.

View of the climbing route from Wapowety Cleaver

Sunday, July 3rd

Despite the busy weekend around the Park, climbing rangers found themselves nearly alone on the approach to the Kautz glacier. Although July is already upon us, most people are still approaching the Kautz from Paradise/lower Nisqually rather than the Commit Falls trail. Even though there are a number of cracks beginning to open up on the Nisqually crossing, they remain small and easily navigated. Currently, the approach up to the Castle and the higher camps at the base of the route are fairly straightforward.

Per usual, there is plenty of running water just above the Castle so be sure to enjoy that resource and ensure to keep that zone clean/pure from human waste or trash. From 9,500 ft. to nearly 11,100 ft. there are plenty of tent sites along the ridge and almost all of them are snow free. There can be running water around 11,000 ft. if you look closely but be sure to pack that stove with enough fuel for melting snow just in case. Also, please remember to bring sufficient blue bags and deposit them near the public restrooms in Paradise at the end of your climb.

Unfortunately, climbing rangers were unable to push up the route due to sustained 60 mph winds on the route last night and through today. There appears to still be a fair bit of snow on the route keeping the actual pitches of ice climbing somewhat shorter than compared to later in the summer. Guide services have reported that the upper Kautz is quite smooth and straightforward as it  traverses across to the Wapowety cleaver and up to the Crater Rim.

May 10th

Climbers have been up on the Kautz and reporting great conditions with straightforward climbing.  The ice pitches are not fully exposed and almost "ski-able" as brave skiers would say.  The approach from Paradise is currently the quickest and most direct way to access the Kautz Glacier climb.  The Nisqually Crossing has some exposed crevasses, but there's little difficulty in navigating around them.  The Turtle Snowfield has apparently had recent ice fall and it's recommended that climbers avoid ascending directly up the middle of the snowfield and stay climber's left nearer the ridge crest to avoid overhead hazards.

Wednesday, April 20th

Current photos of the route. More to come soon.

For 2015 route conditions and information follow this link:  Kautz Glacier 2015

Kautz Glacier

Kautz Glacier

Lower Kautz Glacier