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| | |-+  July 6-7, 2012, MRNP, Mowich Face Circuit
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Author Topic: July 6-7, 2012, MRNP, Mowich Face Circuit  (Read 4234 times)
andybrnr
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July 6-7, 2012, MRNP, Mowich Face Circuit
« on: 07/09/12, 02:30 AM »

Upon discovering the Mowich Lake road was slated to open on Friday, Robert and I planned an attempt on either the central or Edmunds headwall lines on the Mowich face of Mt Rainier. Departing SEA around 0830 on Friday morning, we checked in at the Carbon River ranger station and headed up to Mowich Lake. After some shenanigans figuring out how to split group gear and repacking at the car, we slogged the melted out trail to Spray Park. We skinned up along the ridge towards Observation Rock, then scrambled down a few hundred feet of talus to snow fingers emptying onto the North Mowich glacier. Following a bootpack, we set up camp around 8200 ft as light faded. Dinner consisted of a blend of mashed potato mix and instant refried beans whipped up in the jetboil, a shockingly delicious combination. We awoke in the middle of the night to find the wind partially collapsing the tent. I reluctantly crawled out of my bag and set to strengthening our initially modest windbreak, which after 30mins of shoveling was enhanced to 5ft walls around three sides of the tent, providing sufficient shelter for the rest of the night.

Saturday featured a rather lazy start by alpine standards, as the Mowich face barely sees sun before 11AM and is reported to corn between 3pm and 5pm. After a reheated spaghetti breakfast, we roped up and booted along the glacier to the base of the central face, which looked good to go. Bypassing the bergschrund on the left, we simul-soloed the 2600ft steep snow field to the entrance ramp at the top right, which we  found covered in 1"+ of smooth water ice. By working along the moat where the ramp meets the cliff band bounding the top of the face, we soloed a short pitch of WI-2 to exit onto the snowfield below the ridge leading to Liberty Cap. The altitude and intense sun had taken a toll, and we were both pretty beat at this point, so the appearance of some cloud swirling over the ridge was enough to convince us to forego Liberty Cap and transition in place at about 13k ft. Rather than downclimb back into the top of the central face, we descended the Edmunds headwall (skiers left of the central face), which had been skied two hours earlier by another party. The snow at the very top was a little icy, but below 12500ft we found beautifully consistent corn for 2500ft of steep skiing in a stunningly beautiful alpine environment.

All too soon, we were back on the glacier, and a quick traverse brought us back to camp at 7pm. After snacking on the last of our food and packing up, we traversed to the snow fingers falling away from the ridgeline that bounds the North Mowich, again suffering through a few hundred feet of talus at the top. We found Scott and Brian, the party that had skied the line just ahead of us, camped atop the ridge. After briefly comparing notes in the fading light, we said goodbye and made a quick traverse to Observation Rock, followed by great turns-by-headlamp down the Flett glacier. A traverse following tracks brought us back to the Spray Park trail. The slog to the car felt exceedingly long in our state of exhaustion, and we finally arrived back at the car at midnight. The drive home was made possible by a quick refuel at the 24hr Subway in Enumclaw. All in all, a fantastic trip with good snow, steep turns and a healthy dose of alpinism in a wild and beautiful environment.

Route map:
http://www.hillmap.com/m/ag1zfmhpbGxtYXAtaGRychALEghTYXZlZE1hcBisoSkM

Edit: Added some pics

Banner cloud shrouding Liberty Ridge on the approach



Robert with our objective in the background



Approaching the face



View up the face



High on the central Mowich face



Clouding in



View on the out



Tahoma alpenglow

« Last Edit: 07/09/12, 02:26 PM by andybrnr » Logged
ski_photomatt
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Re: July 6-7, 2012, MRNP, Mowich Face Circuit
« Reply #1 on: 07/09/12, 06:47 AM »

Nice job Andy and Robert!!  Way to get after it  Cheesy
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JimD
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WWW
Re: July 6-7, 2012, MRNP, Mowich Face Circuit
« Reply #2 on: 07/09/12, 06:58 AM »

Good try, I'd love to see some photos.
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samthaman
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Re: July 6-7, 2012, MRNP, Mowich Face Circuit
« Reply #3 on: 07/09/12, 08:31 AM »

^^^ me too! nice line
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gorp
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Re: July 6-7, 2012, MRNP, Mowich Face Circuit
« Reply #4 on: 07/09/12, 11:30 AM »

Nice job! About what time did you begin your descent?
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andyski
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Posts: 455


Re: July 6-7, 2012, MRNP, Mowich Face Circuit
« Reply #5 on: 07/09/12, 12:15 PM »

Awesome! Saw your uptrack from the Russell on Saturday.
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andybrnr
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Posts: 92


Re: July 6-7, 2012, MRNP, Mowich Face Circuit
« Reply #6 on: 07/09/12, 10:16 PM »

I think we were headed down around 6:00. The altitude was kicking us a bit, and we definitely should have started up a few hours earlier to reduce the rock and ice fall risk on the ascent... there was a pretty big release right before we exited the upper part of the central face that would have been bad news 45min previously, and that was a bit close for comfort.
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tabski
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Re: July 6-7, 2012, MRNP, Mowich Face Circuit
« Reply #7 on: 07/09/12, 10:30 PM »

BOOO YAHHHH
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snoholic
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Re: July 6-7, 2012, MRNP, Mowich Face Circuit
« Reply #8 on: 07/10/12, 12:13 PM »

Sweet route. I wish that I could have joined ya!
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jhamaker
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Posts: 257


Re: July 6-7, 2012, MRNP, Mowich Face Circuit
« Reply #9 on: 07/10/12, 08:14 PM »

Nice run!  We of the round the hill crew stared for hours on Sunday to try to see your tracks but were never sure.  We guessed left wich is where it sounds you skied.  After a couple days of no tracks it was nice to follow yours for a while on Sunday.
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