Mount Rainier: Gibraltar Ledges, May 1, 2011I took advantage of another weekend high pressure ridge to make quick work of a new route on Mount Rainier I have been scouting ever since I came to climb Rainier for the first time in 2008.
On Saturday April 30 I arrived at paradise in the afternoon after stopping in Yakima for an errand and to fix my crampons. It turns out that the crampons would be critical to my success in making the summit.
The weather was forecast to be clear and stable with no wind on Saturday into Sunday, so I decided heading up to Muir Sunday afternoon was a good idea. I would stay there saturday night in the stone shelter and go for the top early Sunday morning.
I left my car at Paradise at roughly 4pm in horrible weather conditions.....see how deep the snow was up there......they have gotten about 900 inches or 23 feet of snow this season! You literally have to "climb" out of the parking lot!
A shot of the Tahoe upon returning on Sunday
Conditions skinning up to Muir were foggy.....and rainy and snowy. I crossed my fingers the weather would clear as I ascended to the camp.
At times, you couldn't see anything! I basically followed some tracks and used my instincts and prior knowledge of the landscape to make my way up to Muir.
See the wand in the lower center of the photo? There were a few marking the way, but that was about it!
Finally at about 630pm I broke out of the fog at 9,000' and Camp Muir and the Mountain came into view.
I arrived to the shelter at Muir by 7pm or so, made some dinner, organized my gear, and took a few photos before going to bed. There were about 5 others in the shelter, but nobody else was looking to go to the summit.
Adams in the background from Muir......
Peering up the Gib Ledges Route, which goes up to the left of Gib Rock on the ridge and then up to the summit dome.
Northeast across the Cowlitz to Little Tahoma...
Camp Muir Buried.......
I woke up at about 230am, boiled some water and quickly ate and drank while strapping on my boots and crampons. The morning was cold, but there was no wind. Peering outside the shelter I could look up and see the mountain waiting for me, almost calling my name.
I departed with a clear sky and made quick work of the route along the ridge to the base of Gib rock at about 12,500' The very first rays of light began to reveal my view above everything as I continued on the ridge and went for the Gib Chute and pushed my way up onto the dome. It was just me and the mountain.
A quick shot in The early Morning light above Gib Rock and Nisqually Chute approaching the summit crater.......
Sun coming up as I approached the Summit Crater!
Looking off towards Liberty Cap and the fading Seattle and Puget Sound Bay Area Lights at about 6am. Made it up the original route in roughly 3 hours!
Looking back up the Dome while descending to the top of Gib rock and to the Chute to get back on the ledges, sun was already getting me nice and warm!
The Crux was a 70 degree set of ice cliffs/ledges which you can kind of see here in the photo, which is just to the left of Gib Rock (In the Next Photo below this one)..........I navigated and down-climbed these carefully with the help of my crampons......
Some looks of the ledges and ridge on my descent:
Beautiful view of Adams and Hood from 13,000' coming down.......
Looking back to Muir.....
Was back to camp by 9am!
The day was spectacular....I packed up, ate some lunch and hung out at camp until noon or so, and then skied back down to my truck in only an hour!
A look at the day hikers on their way up to Muir after skiing some of the way down.
A Buried look at Paradise Inn........Tatoosh range in the background......
Looking west near White Pass driving home and the BIG MOUNTAIN shows my route drawn in red here......hard to believe I was up their earlier in the day!