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| |-+  May 2014 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  May 20-21, 2014 Kautz Glacier, Ice Chute + Turtle
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Author Topic: May 20-21, 2014 Kautz Glacier, Ice Chute + Turtle  (Read 5643 times)
gfunk
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Posts: 48


May 20-21, 2014 Kautz Glacier, Ice Chute + Turtle
« on: 05/23/14, 06:48 AM »

This week's weather window provided some stoke for a Rainier summit and ski descent off the top.† Mainer, Pedro, Alex and I enjoyed a quiet evening stroll up the snowfield to Muir, admiring the high quality corn in all directions.†

To time the corn cycle at 14,000 feet we had a leisurely start the next morning around 6:30am, ascending the Gib Ledges route for a direct and more exciting way to the top.† There was mostly hard snow to walk on as we contoured around the base of Gib Rock in the shade.† The exposure increased in intensity after rounding the first corner, the path offering lose rock in a layer of water ice sloping generously over the cliffs and onto the Nisqually below.† Focused steps were crucial here, and the constant clacking of rockfall across the valley was no help.† Soon back on snow, the footing was great with fine penetration to the top of Gib Chute (which looks like a perfect ski right now).

After the slog to the top breaking trail in 6-8" of new snow, we were greeted by the thumping and eventual landing of a Chinook.† After transitioning to skis we traversed high and to the west to Success Point, where we lined up to ski the prominent face of the Kautz Glacier -- wide and steep off the top of the mountain.†

To our wild surprise the first turns were soft and fast corn -- not the norm for a tall volcanic peak.† This consisted throughout the entire descent.† Navigating cracks was uneventful.† After a couple thousand feet we arrived at the first ice cliff in the Kautz Ice Chute, fortunately some ginger sideslipping got us through.† The second ice cliff proved to be more consequential, requiring us to set up a V-thread anchor for a sideslip rappel down the ice roll over.† Before arriving at the third ice cliff we traversed skiers left and climbed rock to access the Turtle.† Thus began the series of corn fields, each rolling over into yet another super fun ski down to the Nisqually.†

From closer inspection, many of the desirable skis off the top look to be in prime condition, especially off the top of the Wapowety Cleaver.†


* Kautzline.jpg (223.37 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 989 times.)

* Kautzdecent.jpg (40.25 KB, 640x480 - viewed 910 times.)

* Kautzicechute.jpg (68.16 KB, 640x480 - viewed 912 times.)
« Last Edit: 05/23/14, 07:13 AM by gfunk » Logged
Jonn-E
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Posts: 337


Re: May 20-21, 2014 Kautz Glacier, Ice Chute + Turtle
« Reply #1 on: 05/23/14, 07:54 AM »

Solid trip!
Did you loop back to Muir to pick up your stuff or just run light and hump it?

In some ways the big R looks more filled-in now than it did a month ago.
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tabski
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Posts: 246


Re: May 20-21, 2014 Kautz Glacier, Ice Chute + Turtle
« Reply #2 on: 05/23/14, 10:17 AM »

Nice link up!

Wondering if you climbed back onto the Turtle higher than shown in your picture?

Man, that upper headwall dropping from Pt. Success down the Kautz looks like the $ shot. Sweet!
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gfunk
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Posts: 48


Re: May 20-21, 2014 Kautz Glacier, Ice Chute + Turtle
« Reply #3 on: 05/23/14, 08:42 PM »

Solid trip!
Did you loop back to Muir to pick up your stuff or just run light and hump it?

In some ways the big R looks more filled-in now than it did a month ago.

Hey Jonn,
We went light and carried our gear. There were several decent options on the table and we wanted to ski to the car, so the only option was to carry. Worth it!

The cracks are stuffed. It sure looks better now than it has most of the winter.
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gfunk
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Posts: 48


Re: May 20-21, 2014 Kautz Glacier, Ice Chute + Turtle
« Reply #4 on: 05/23/14, 09:00 PM »

Nice link up!

Wondering if you climbed back onto the Turtle higher than shown in your picture?

Man, that upper headwall dropping from Pt. Success down the Kautz looks like the $ shot. Sweet!

Thanks Tabski. We felt pretty darn privileged! Good question on the Turtle, a pice I left out but is important beta for anyone wanting to access the top of the Turtle. Once below the second ice chute we traversed over to the fixed lines that get you to the top of the Turtle, which would have been ideal and straight forward. Unfortunately instead of a snow ramp leading up to the arÍte, the wind formed a large fin 10 or 20 feet away from the rock, making the wall annoying and time consuming to ascend due to the deep gap. That's when we opted to drop about 150 feet to find an easy ramp connecting us to the Turtle. It would be doable to get up top but more trouble than it's worth with the current configuration.
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