Kautz Cleaver

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 46.85280°N / 121.759°W
Additional Information Route Type: Glacier, Steep snow
Additional Information Time Required: A few days
Additional Information Difficulty: 30-45 degree snow
Sign the Climber's Log


There are two approaches for this route. The most common is to start at the Paradise parking lot (elevation 5420). Follow the Skyline trail to the Glacier Vista viewpoint. From there, drop down and traverse across the Nisqually Glacier. Ascend a prominent snow chute to gain the west side of the Wilson Glacier and the upper Wapowety Cleaver. A large rock buttress is on the right side of the snow chute, which is known as the Fan. Continue north and uphill on an increasing grade to 40 degrees as it reaches the crest of the Wapowety Cleaver.
The alternate approach starts at the Comet Falls trailhead (elevation 3600) and follows the trail to Van Trump Park. After passing Comet Falls at elevation 5600 ascend north to gain the Wapowety Cleaver.
At 8500 elevation on the Wapowety Cleaver, descend west to cross the Kautz Glacier and ascend to the Kautz Cleaver via a steep (50 degree) short snow chute. Ascend easy snow slopes to a fair bivy site at elevation 10200 below a prominent red tower on the cleaver.

Route Description

From the bivy site, bypass the red tower on the east side via a steep traverse on snow. From here, the route offers a variety of options. Ascend to the wide crest of the cleaver generally bypassing obstacles on the west. At 12500, the cleaver crest broadens where the Success Cleaver intersects. From here, climb on the east side of the crest making a traversing climb above the Kautz Headwall enjoying the exposure. During the final 500 feet the angle increases to 45 degrees before it tops out at Point Success. From here the summit is north across the summit plateau. Descend the route or carry over and descend the DC route.

Essential Gear

Standard Rainier climbing gear including pickets and ice screws and second ice tool. This route is best climbed early season when snow covers most of the route. Late season would see more climbing on scree and loose rock, especially high on the route. Recommended as a carry over to avoid descending the steep snow and ice sections. This climb is rarely attempted due to the long approach.

Miscellaneous Info

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