Rainier in winter: why Gib Ledges is the standard route?

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artirm

 
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Rainier in winter: why Gib Ledges is the standard route?

by artirm » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:44 pm

A few buddies and myself are going to try Rainier in mid Feb. In my research Gib Ledges popped up as the standard winter route. Question is why DC is good in summer and Gib Ledges is better in winter? What's wrong with DC in winter?

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lcarreau

 
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Re: Rainier in winter: why Gib Ledges is the standard route?

by lcarreau » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:32 am

Time is of the essence on winter assents.

In winter, rockfall is greatly minimized along the ledges, and THIS is a more "direct" route. Also, you want to monitor the weather, and always watch for avalanches and invest in the necessary equipment.

You could descend via Fuhrer Finger, Cadaver Gap or Ingraham Direct, depending on conditions.
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Re: Rainier in winter: why Gib Ledges is the standard route?

by artirm » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:58 am

So, you are saying that Gib Ledges is less prone to rockfall in winter than in summer, that's why people do it. If not for the rockfall it would have been standard route in summer as well, right?
What about ava danger and crevasses on DC in winter? Is it normally any worse than Gib?

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Re: Rainier in winter: why Gib Ledges is the standard route?

by lcarreau » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:03 am

artirm wrote:So, you are saying that Gib Ledges is less prone to rockfall in winter than in summer, that's why people do it. If not for the rockfall it would have been standard route in summer as well, right?
What about ava danger and crevasses on DC in winter? Is it normally any worse than Gib?



Avalanches can occur anytime on any route. The DC is less popular in winter because of so-called "hidden crevasses."

You would have to zigzag around crevasses along the DC, while the ledges would be much more direct.
"Turkey Vultures always vomit when they get nervous."

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Re: Rainier in winter: why Gib Ledges is the standard route?

by artirm » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:12 am

lcarreau wrote:The DC is less popular in winter because of so-called "hidden crevasses."
You would have to zigzag around crevasses along the DC, while the ledges would be much more direct.


I assume it will depend on snow cover, right? Or these crevasses are so big that good snow bridges don't usually form?

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Re: Rainier in winter: why Gib Ledges is the standard route?

by lcarreau » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:39 am

EVERYTHING depends on snow cover and the weather, which can change very rapidly on Rainier at a moment's notice.

Another option is Gib Chute, which can be seen from the ledges at the upper end ...


Image


Image
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Re: Rainier in winter: why Gib Ledges is the standard route?

by artirm » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:04 am

Thanks! Got it.

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Re: Rainier in winter: why Gib Ledges is the standard route?

by ExcitableBoy » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:26 pm

I think at one time Gib Ledges was more popular, maybe even considered the standard route, but I am not sure about that. I've climbed it three times, twice in winter, once in early spring, and found it faster and more direct than the DC. Rock fall is definitely an issue, but in winter that is mitigated by the cold temperatures.

One word of warning, there are huge crevasses above Gib Rock. The prevailing wind during the winter is from the SW, which strips the snow off the mountain on the south side leaving sastrugi which effectively conceals the thinly bridged crevasses. On Gib Ledges I have always climbed ropeless from Camp Muir to the top of Gib Rock because it would be very difficult and time consuming to find reasonable anchors to belay those sections, but I insist on being roped above Gib Rock due to very serious crevasse danger.

Gib Ledges:
Image

Top of Gib Rock:
Image

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