Mount Rainier / Cascades

CASCADES CONDITIONS REPORT 7/10/2024

Greetings follow climbers!

The sunshine is here and just like that the switch has flipped post July 4th!   Those living in the PNW have swapped their rain jackets for t-shirts and sandals. Since last week high pressure has dominate the PNW with hot and sunny days across the region. Seattle experienced its first heat wave of the season with temperatures in the 90’s. Climbers are taking advantage of this phenomenal weather across the Cascades. With the hot, sunny weather we recommend that climbers and hikers pay close attention to drinking plenty of water, and consider using electrolyte mixes to stay hydrated.

Currently climbers on Mt Rainier and Mt Baker have switched to using single boots.  Note that if conditions change, guides might recommend switching back to double boots if warranted.

Koma Kulshan (Mount Baker) & North Cascades

Koma Kulshan continues to provide excellent conditions and teams continue to summit daily on both the Northside and Southside. The approach on both sides of the route is about 70% trail/dirt and melting quickly. With the trails being mostly snow free, we recommend that climbers to use trail shoes to approach camps. At Sandy Camp (Easton Glacier route) there is still over 6ft of snow and we anticipate this camp staying snow covered for some time. In other parts of the Cascades teams have been successful climbing Mt Adams, Olympus, and Glacier Peak over the recent week. Our guided trips in the Washington Pass area have reported that the seasonal snow is almost all melted. With the quickly melting snow the mosquitos have come out and for those camping in lower elevations (treeline) we recommend using bug spray at this time.

Tahoma (Mount Rainier)

With the recent sunny weather a lot of the seasonal snow around Paradise has melted. We are recommending trail shows from the parking lot on both the Muir route and the Emmons route. Note that on the Muir route climbers are switching to mountain boots at the Muir Snowfield (1/2 way to camp Muir).  Above Camp Muir the route is in good condition and teams are reaching the summit daily. The Disappointment Cleaver is slowly melting out and climbers will find around 25% of the Cleaver to be snow covered. Above the Cleaver, the route is direct and has 1 ladder crossing at 13,100 ft. Once above the ladder the route makes a few switchbacks as it heads up to Columbia Crest. Overall the route is direct and in good climbing condition. Our recent Emmons trip summited and noted the upper mountain was in good shape with a direct route up the Corridor to the summit. Our Kautz team last week had 100% climber success, and guides noted that the Kautz Ice Chute was climbing well.

Lastly, with the warmer temperatures guides at the gear check have been adjusting the required equipment list to match the current conditions.  Please understand that the gear list is a tool for packing based on all weather conditions and upon arrival at the gear check, the guide might adjust based on the short term forecast.

Thank you for following our blog, and happy climbing!

We provide a weekly conditions report. Stay tuned for next week’s update!

CASCADES CONDITIONS REPORT 7/4/2024

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Greetings follow climbers!

Summer has finally arrived! PNW long time locals know that our summer doesn’t start until July 4th…. and that’s exactly what we saw in 2024. High pressure has moved over the region and allowed for sunny skies all along the Cascade Crest.  This weekend is forecasted to be the warmest days of the 2024 season, so we recommend that climbers and hikers make sure they drink plenty of water and consider using electrolyte mixes to stay hydrated.  Even with the warm temps forecasted, guides reported yesterday (July 3rd) that it still feels cold on the summit of Rainier with the wind.

Koma Kulshan (Mount Baker) & North Cascades

Koma Kulshan is in excellent condition and teams continue to summit daily on both the Northside and Southside. With the recent snow melt, guides are recommending approach shoes on Mt Baker to access camps as the first few hours of hiking is spent on dirt. Our climbs on Baker have switched over to using single boots for this peak along with all other peaks in the North Cascades including Olympus, Glacier Peak and Mt Adams. Teams have been climbing in Washington Pass and report that the majority of snow has melted and there is phenomenal alpine rock conditions in the Liberty Bell group. With summer in full swing and the seasonal snow melting, our teams will be starting to guide deeper into the North Cascades with upcoming trips on Mt Ruth and Mt Shuksan.

Tahoma (Mount Rainier)

Not much has changed on the route to Camp Muir this week. The route remains snowy, but with the warming temperatures climbers are switching over to single boots rather than double boots – summer is back! The path up to the Muir snowfield is following the summer trail through Pebble Creek.  Above Camp Muir the route is in good condition and teams are reaching the summit daily when weather allows.  The Disappointment Cleaver is slowly melting out and climbers will find around 50% of the Cleaver to be snow covered.  Above the Cleaver, the route is direct and has 1 ladder crossing at 13,100 ft. Once above the ladder the route makes a few switchbacks as it heads up to Columbia Crest. On the north side of Mt Rainier the trail to Glacier Basin is melting quickly and guides are recommending climbers use approach shoes to access the Emmons route on day 1. The Emmons is in good condition overall, and earlier this week our team reached the summit via the Emmons route. On the Kautz, we currently have a team at high camp that will be attempting to summit today.

Guides mentioned even with the warm temperatures it was still cold on the summit as it has been windy, so don’t be fooled by the forecast.

Thank you for following up our blog, and happy climbing!

We provide a weekly conditions report. Stay tuned for next week’s update!

 

CASCADES CONDITIONS REPORT 6/26/24

Greetings follow climbers!

The Pacific Northwest continues to have its classic weather pattern of sunny days coupled with stormy patches. With the summer solstice behind it is hard to imagine days are slowly getting shorter. Similar to last week, teams have taken advantage of the beautiful weather windows and have had success all over the Cascades including summits on Glacier Peak, Washington Pass, Mt Baker, Mt Adams, and Mt Rainier. Weather forecasts for the remainder of the week and weekend look to bring more of the same, a classic mixture of sunny spells and snow showers at the upper elevation terrain. For those climbing on Mt Rainier, we recommend using the University of Washington’s Rainier Recreational Forecast which comes out twice daily.

Koma Kushan (Mount Baker) & North Cascades

Teams on Mt Baker have continued to enjoy great climbing conditions on both sides of the mountain.   Guides recommend using double boots on both sides of the mountain currently as the snow is saturated and wetting out single boots. Climbers will find a mixture of dirt trail and snow for the first 1.5-2hrs, then travel on snow for the rest of the climb to camp. Guides report that the glaciers are still filled in nicely and climbing well. Our first Glacier Peak trip just returned and with 100% success. Climbers spent 5 days on this remote volcano in the central Cascades. This week our first Mt. Olympus trip launched and will have an update for you when they return.

Tahoma (Mount Rainier)

On the Muir route, low elevation snow has melted, and climbers are now using the summer trail to access the Muir Snowfield. Once on the Muir Snowfield, climbers will find a well-traveled path up to Camp Muir. Above Camp Muir the route is in good condition and teams are reaching the summit daily when weather allows.  The Disappointment Cleaver is slowly melting out and climbers will find around 60% of the Cleaver to be snow covered.  Above the Cleaver, the route is direct and has 1 ladder crossing at 13,100. Once above the ladder the route makes a few switch backs as it heads up to Columbia Crest.   Over on the Kautz route our recent trip had 100% success and guides reported the route in good condition with sections of “fun and moderate” ice climbing in the Kautz Ice Chute. On the north side of Mt Rainier the trail to Glacier Basin is melting quickly and guides are recommending climbers use approach shoes to access the Emmons route on day 1.  The Emmons is in good condition overall and earlier this week 12 of 12 climbers stood on top of Mt Rainier via the Emmons Route.  Our current Emmons team is moving up the mountain and will be making a summit attempt if weather allows.

Thank you for following up our blog, and happy climbing!

We provide a weekly conditions report. Stay tuned for next week’s update!

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CASCADES CONDITIONS REPORT 6/19/24

Greeting follow climbers!

This past week has showcased truly classic Pacific Northwest weather with a mixture of sunshine and rain showers (or snow showers in the mountains).  When the weather has allowed teams have been reaching the summit of peaks from the southern part of Washington (Mt Adams) to the northern part of the state (Mt Baker).  The cool, wet spring we had this year has led to glaciers being more filled in than we have observed in recent years for this time period.   As we near the summer solstice the low elevation snow is melting quickly, but the mid and upper elevation snow is staying in place which is causing phenomenal climbing conditions on glaciated peaks around the region.  Weather forecast for the remainder of the week and weekend look to bring more of the same, a classic mixture of sunny spells and snow showers at the upper elevation terrain.

Koma Kulshan (Mount Baker) & North Cascades

Mt Baker continues to prove to be an excellent training ground for mountaineering schools and climbs. Guides have been reporting the route in good condition and while it has been seeing a similar storm pattern to Rainier, the slightly lower elevation terrain is allowing for climbers to reach the summit on the vast majority of trips. Guides continue to report that the glacier is very filled in and the route is direct to the summit on both the North Side and South Side. Guides reported that the Colfax Icefall has been active lately, but the hazard can be avoided. Guides are still recommending double boots and wearing boots from the parking lot.

Tahoma (Mount Rainier)

For almost being at the summer solstice and despite a lower-than-average winter snowpack, there is still a lot of snow at Paradise.   Climbers are walking on snow from the parking and the summer trails are slowly melting out. Climbers should expect around 90% of Paradise to be snow covered. On the Muir route teams have switched traveling through the summer route to access the Muir Snowfield.   Once at Camp Muir we continue to see an impressive amount of snow from these spring storms and cooler temperatures.   The Disappointment Cleaver route is in excellent condition, remaining very direct and well established.  The Cleaver itself is 80% snow covered with defined switchbacks for climbing on.  Above the Cleaver the route continues with its direct nature and has a small crevasse step across at 13,100 ft. From 13,100 ft to the summit the route is direct and in good condition.  Over on the Kautz route we had 100% of climbers reach the summit on our most recent Kautz climb.  Guides reported the route in excellent condition. On the Emmons route, our 8 day Emmons climb reached the summit today (June 19th) with 100% of climbers making it to the top.  Guides reported the route in excellent condition and very direct.

Thank you for following up our blog, and happy climbing!

We provide a weekly conditions report. Stay tuned for next week’s update!

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CASCADES CONDITIONS REPORT 6/12/2024

Greeting follow climbers!

Summer has arrived to the Pacific Northwest! With the recent long periods of sunny weather, teams all over the state have been climbing and getting out enjoying the mountains. Teams have been reaching the top of peaks across the region, from deep in the North Cascades to alpine rock routes to Mt Rainier and Mt Adams.We see continued high pressure with more sunny days are on the horizon. One of the best forecasts for climbing on Rainier is the UW Mt Rainier Recreation Forecast, published twice daily. Check it out for the latest and greatest on Rainier conditions! Heading north, up in Alaska our first 5 Denali expeditions have summited and are back in Talkeenta. Team 6 and 7 are at high camp and teams 8 and 9 are at 14k camp both waiting for a weather window to tag the highest peak in North America.

Koma Kulshan (Mount Baker) & North Cascades

Over the past week our 3 day Mt Baker climbs and mountaineering courses have been reporting excellent climbing conditions on the Easton and Coleman Deming glacier. Guides report that the glacier is very filled in and the route is direct to the summit on both routes. Our first North Ridge Baker trip of the season launched and found phenomenal steep snow/ice conditions as they climbed the classic North Ridge route to the summit of Mt Baker. With the mountain still very snowy we are recommending double boots and wearing them from the parking lot at this time. Over in Washington Pass, our alpine rock course reported that routes are still snowy and climbers should be prepared for snow on the approaches to all the spires in the area.

Tahoma (Mount Rainier)

The Paradise snow stake is slow melting as summer has approached. There is still over 6ft of snow at Paradise and climbers are wearing double boots from the parking lot for all Rainier trips. With the recent snow melt we are starting to transition to the summer route up to the Muir Snowfield traveling through pebble creek. On the Muir route, teams over the past week have been summitting daily and reporting that the mountain is in good condition. We are climbing the Disappointment Cleaver – which is 80% snow covered. The route is direct from the top of the cleaver with a several switchbacks as it nears 13,000 ft. At 13,000 ft the route is direct to the summit and crater rim. Currently there are no ladders in place on the Muir route.

Thank you for following up our blog, and happy climbing!

We provide a weekly conditions report. Stay tuned for next week’s update

Yes, I did. This was an unforgettable mental and physical challenge to reach the summit of a very high peak, and to go through the challenges that come with acclimatizing to such an altitude.

Rainier/Cascades BLOG

  • CASCADES CONDITIONS REPORT 7/10/2024

    Greetings follow climbers! The sunshine is here and just like that the switch has flipped post July 4th!   Those living in the PNW have swapped their rain jackets for t-shirts and sandals. Since last week high pressure has dominate the PNW with hot and sunny days across the region. Seattle experienced its first heat wave […]

  • CASCADES CONDITIONS REPORT 7/4/2024

    Greetings follow climbers! Summer has finally arrived! PNW long time locals know that our summer doesn’t start until July 4th…. and that’s exactly what we saw in 2024. High pressure has moved over the region and allowed for sunny skies all along the Cascade Crest.  This weekend is forecasted to be the warmest days of […]

  • CASCADES CONDITIONS REPORT 6/26/24

    Greetings follow climbers! The Pacific Northwest continues to have its classic weather pattern of sunny days coupled with stormy patches. With the summer solstice behind it is hard to imagine days are slowly getting shorter. Similar to last week, teams have taken advantage of the beautiful weather windows and have had success all over the […]

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