Hittin' the Trails
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: New Westminster
Interest: Backpacking, hiking, scrambling, mountaineering
Mt. Rainier/Disappointment Cleaver June 26-27/15
Climbed Mt Rainier (Disappointment Cleaver route) June 26-27 with four climbing partners from my Washington state mountaineering club. In the Paradise area up to Glacier Vista all of the wildflowers are in full bloom - 4-5 weeks ahead of the norm. On the hike up to Camp Muir, we didn't reach snow until well after Glacier Vista (when I was here last year at the end of July, still snow at Glacier Vista).
After a leisurely hike up to our camp site at Protection Point (a rocky outcropping below Camp Muir at around 9800 feet; about 4.5 hours hike up) and a largely failed attempt to sleep, we set off from camp at 9:30 PM. We roped up at Camp Muir to cross the Cowlitz Glacier, short-roped over the rocky ridge to get to Ingraham Flats, back to long-rope over the Flats, short-rope up over Disappointment Cleaver (bottom 2/3 of which was snow free), and back to long rope for the climb to the summit which we reached at 7:15 AM.
Probably an hour delayed due to having to wait for the many guided climb groups where some inexperienced climbers were spooked at some crevasse crossings and took a lot of time to get the nerve to cross the ladder bridges or make a large step across. Apparently there are typically two such bridges set up by the guide services, but this year there are four. So the guides groups are a mixed blessing: yes they delay you when you are behind them, but all can take advantage of the bridges (and hand lines) that they set up.
We heard lots of large rocks falling during the day and night, but fortunately nothing near us. Temperatures were above freezing at all times even at the summit (though a brisk wind certainly made it chilly).
Reached camp at 12:15 PM, packed up and then hiked down to our vehicles which we reached at about 3:30 PM. A long haul, but well worth it for the stunning views of Rainier's glaciers and crater!