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Descending the Mountaineer's Route in Early June

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Descending the Mountaineer's Route in Early June

Postby diersen » Tue May 08, 2012 4:56 pm

Assuming this low-snow year continues without and big storms between now and the weekend of June 8, me and my partner will be climbing the East Buttress and descending the mountaineer's route. Neither of us have been on the mountaineer's route.

From what I've read, I should have crampons and an ice axe. I've also read that the top can be fourth-class icy rock in early june. My questions:

Could we get away with microspikes and ice axes if we rap the top of the mountaineer's route? To be honest, I don't think either of us are up for downclimbing icy fourth-class rock.

It sounds like the glissade in the lower half of the mountaineers route is pretty casual. Any chance I could get away with a trekking pole or flat rock on that?

Thanks in advance for your input.

Chris
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Re: Descending the Mountaineer's Route in Early June

Postby Deb » Tue May 08, 2012 5:59 pm

diersen wrote:Assuming this low-snow year continues without and big storms between now and the weekend of June 8, me and my partner will be climbing the East Buttress and descending the mountaineer's route. Neither of us have been on the mountaineer's route.

From what I've read, I should have crampons and an ice axe. I've also read that the top can be fourth-class icy rock in early june. My questions:

Could we get away with microspikes and ice axes if we rap the top of the mountaineer's route? To be honest, I don't think either of us are up for downclimbing icy fourth-class rock.

It sounds like the glissade in the lower half of the mountaineers route is pretty casual. Any chance I could get away with a trekking pole or flat rock on that?

Thanks in advance for your input.

Chris

Kinda steep for microspikes. You might want to check the Whitney Portal Msg board; Richard has been up there every weekend this year. !!
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Re: Descending the Mountaineer's Route in Early June

Postby diersen » Tue May 08, 2012 8:01 pm

Thanks Deb. I was thinking that I'd only need the microspikes to get from the summit to the first rap into the gully...didn't intend to do any steep travel with them...maybe that's not possible?

Thanks for the tip on the Whitney forum...didn't know there was one. I'll have a look and see if I can find it.

Chris
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Re: Descending the Mountaineer's Route in Early June

Postby Monster5 » Tue May 08, 2012 9:27 pm

If you're capable of heading up the East Buttress, I think you can head down the MR with microspikes and axe and not even have to rap. Also, you'll find a pretty hefty trench up the rocks to descender's left of the usual icy patch.

Here are my pics from a couple weeks ago. No rap and it was one guy's first time using crampons and axe. Had to face in on a couple spots, but it wasn't difficult or time-intensive. The difficulty was in not sending rocks down on the later parties:

https://picasaweb.google.com/1059785374 ... 7010238626
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Re: Descending the Mountaineer's Route in Early June

Postby Steve Pratt » Tue May 08, 2012 9:42 pm

If the Mountaineer's Route couloir itself is too icy, you don't have to downclimb the route proper. You can descend west a couple hundred yards to the class 2 ribs and traverse back east below the couloir to the window and cruise down from there. It really isn't very far out of the way, and time-wise is negligible. Might be a couple dicey patches on the traverse, but you can set up some sort of running belay pretty easily.
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Re: Descending the Mountaineer's Route in Early June

Postby Vitaliy M. » Tue May 08, 2012 10:22 pm

From what I've read, I should have crampons and an ice axe. I've also read that the top can be fourth-class icy rock in early june. My questions:

Could we get away with microspikes and ice axes if we rap the top of the mountaineer's route? To be honest, I don't think either of us are up for downclimbing icy fourth-class rock.


You should see what the weather does in couple of weeks before the trip. And reports. I will be up there in the end of May/start of June. May climb East Buttress. Will post up conditions in this thread if you need them...I do not think I will bring crampons. If I do, it will be strap on crampons to my running shoes. Have done the 4th class buttress descent, and it is doable with running shoes. Had a spot that took me a bit to figure out, but was ok. At worst, find a block and put a sling around it.

I do not think there will be much snow to glissade down in the lower part (it was super dry in southern Sierra), but will see...
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Re: Descending the Mountaineer's Route in Early June

Postby diersen » Wed May 09, 2012 2:31 am

Great beta! Thanks everyone. Didn't know that there were alternatives to the mountaineers route for the descent. That's good to know.

Also, great pics, Monster. Looks pretty casual.

Steve, that sounds like a neat way to go even if the gully goes easy. I'll check that out.

Vitaly, I'll be looking forward to that condition report! Not so worried about missing out on a glissade...the east face sure does look free of snow in the cams online. Pretty amazing.

Didn't hold out a lot of hope when we got the north fork permits for june 8...if it holds up conditions should be ideal after all!

Chris
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