Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mt. Rainier - Kautz with Our Pants Down - Aug 18-20, 2011

The Low Down...

Wednesday, August 17:
  • 8:30 pm  - Fly from Phoenix to Seattle
  • 11:30 pm - Arrive at SEA-TAC
Thursday, August 18
  • 12:30 am  - Finally secure bags, catch shuttle to shmotel, meet up with amigos
  • 3:00 am - Attempt to fall asleep after sifting through gear, unpacking
  • 3:30 am - Mark arrives at shmotel, hugs, banter, another attempt at falling asleep on the flimsy pullout
  • 8:00 am - Wake up, jump out of bed. Coffee. Gear check. Pack again
  • 10:00 am - Begin caravan out to Rainier NP (I'm sorry, "Rainler" as google calls it)
  • 11:30 am - Stop for breakfast at grocery
  • 1:00 pm - Arrive at Rainler NP, begin unpacking cars, gearing up. Permit shenanigans with Rangers.
  • 2:30 pm - Set out from Paradise (5400'). Turn right, not left and head wrong way up skyline trail
  • 3:30 pm - Realize error and traverse through the "protected" alpine meadows, up the hill to Glacier Vista
  • 5:00 pm - Reach Glacier Vista point (6280'), quick break, then drop into Nisqually Glacier
  • 7:00 pm - Reach The Fan - Couloir leading up to Wilson Bench (6800')
  • 9:00 pm - Sun goes down, continue trekking up Wilson Glacier, turn left towards west unnamed ridge
  • 10:00 pm - First real crevasse encounter, head south to end-run the crevasse while continuing up ridge
  • 11:00 pm - Top out on west ridge of Wilson. Begin probing for crevasses, digging camp, melting water
  • 12:30 pm - Finish camp, eat dinner, sleep at camp I (7400')
Friday, August 19
  • 8:00 am  - Wake up. First glimpse of existing, pre-dug camp site 200m down ridge - UGH!
  • 8:30 am - Begin breakfast, breakdown camp, gear-up
  • 10:00 am - Set out up ridge
  • 10:30 am - 7800' - Climber (Name hidden to protect the "innocent") drops helmet while adjusting gear. Helmet slides 400 vertical feet down the glacier, missing 2 crevasses before settling on a flat part of Wilson Glacier.
  • 11:00 am - Helmet Rescue Effort - Mark and I set out on separate rope, without bags, only pickets, slings, and prusiks.Group continues up ridge
  • 12:00 pm - Finally meet up with group after successful recovery. Rob owes us 40 beers each. Ooops! Haha.... Group continues up ridge
  • 12:30 pm - Group reaches end of snow on ridge. Must cross up and over ridge to Van Trump Glacier side. Horrible, horrible scree & loose boulder slides. Set series of anchors to belay climbers up onto ridge. 
  • 1:30 pm - Group continues up Van Trump snowfields, cross snow under rockband at 8700' to west. Continue up steep slopes on west side of the Castle.
  • 3:00 pm - Pass the Castle, continue up to Turtle snowfield
  • 5:30 pm - Reach SE corner of the Turtle. Continue up east side in giant sun cups
  • 8:00 pm - Find place to dig camp in middle of Turtle snowfield (10,400'). Entire team has run out of water. Sun is setting, air gets cold very fast. Begin digging platform through hard snow and ice
  • 9:00 pm - Finish camp, begin eating. Everyone in bed by 10pm. Group discussion about summit day - Group decides not to pursue the summit. Promises of 5 quart homemade lasagna when we return by Dave's fiance is mainly to blame.
  • 10:00 pm - Everyone to bed - hard night at altitude
Saturday, August 20
  • 7:00 am - Alpine Start! Not even close ;-). Wake up, boil water, breakfast.
  • 8:00 am  - Begin packing up gear - Mark and I decide to head to ice chute for some climbing
  • 8:30 am - Side trip up the Turtle to check out the Kautz Ice Chute with Mark
  • 10:00 am - Top out at 11,000' on the Turtle. We decide to turn back in order to help the group on the descent -- Turns out to be long day.
  • 11:30 am - Camp is packed up, everyone is geared up. We begin the descent back to Paradise
  • 12:15 pm - Exit the Turtle
  • 1:30 pm - Get through tricky sections on upper Van Trump snowfields / rock areas
  • 2:30 pm - Get onto west ridge of Wilson Glacier
  • 3:00 pm - Quick stop at camp I to change, eat, drink
  • 4:00 pm - Reach bottom of Wilson Glacier
  • 4:30 pm - Top of Fan
  • 5:00 pm - Bottom of Fan, Begin crossing Nisqually
  • 6:00 pm - Reach end of Nisqually, begin heading up to Glacier Vista
  • 7:20 pm - Reach Paradise Trailhead and parking lot. End.

I will post a more thorough trip report, especially detailing the fun times of glacier navigating in the dark, building multiple tent sites from scratch in the middle of the night, dropping helmet and helmet-rescue shenanigans and much much more...


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Climbing the Kautz! Rainier 2011 - Part Duex

[ From Mt. Rainier's Ranger's climbing conditions blog ]

We've set up a strong team to head back to Seattle's infamous volcano with my fellow climbing buddy, Mark.

Tonight, we leave for Seattle!

Tomorrow, we set out across the Nisqually & Wilson glaciers to first camp

Friday, we climb high to Camp Hazard up at 11,000ish ft.

Saturday, we head up the Kautz ice chute and hopefully top out at the Columbia Crest!

Should be fun. Can't wait.

Instead of carb-loading, I'm bean-loading... Tonnnns of Chipotle burritos...

Love you all, Cheers!