Climbed the Zipper under deep powder conditions. At several times, I could not move forward because every time I tried to move up, snow just crumbled underneath me, creating a waist high wall. We must have spent 3 hours in the couloir, just struggling to make it up. The total climb took us 7 hours RT.
Route Climbed: The Zipper Date Climbed: April 04, 2004
Did this as a cushy overnight climb. We camped under clear skies after a short 45 minute approach. Got started up the route at sunrise on day 2. Snow had an infuriatingly inconsistent crust over 8 inches of mush making for difficult work getting to the base of the couloir. Reached the base of the couloir in just over an hour.
Once in the couloir, the snow was much more consistent and made for good mix of step-kicking and front-pointing. Didn't really need a second tool, but I was happy to use the one I'd brought. Topped out the couloir in another hour to bright sun and extremely warm temps. The southeast face was a mess of debris from the previous day's avalanches and the snow was about 24 inches of slush. We decided to skip the wallowfest to the summit and descend before conditions got any worse.
Descended to the east saddle (between Lane & Denman) and then down to the basin. Arrived in camp about 3.5 hours after we started.