AI2 Mod. Snow PG13
Avg: 2.4 from 5 votes
|Type:||Ice, Snow, Alpine, 1249 ft (378 m), 2 pitches, Grade II|
|Page Views:||2,247 total · 62/month|
|Shared By:||Harvest Mondello on Jan 29, 2019|
|Admins:||Micah Klesick, Nate Ball|
The Glacier Travel: The technical glacier travel begins at Devils Kitchen (10,000) at the highest part of the White River Glacier which flows into the White River Canyon below this. Head up the safest route possible (this varies) towards the Hogsback (10,500) where you get on the Coalman Glacier. The Hogsback is a good spot for a break and to decide which South Side Route to climb depending on conditions, gear & ability. There may be crevasses and fumerols. At this point you've been following the standard route.
From the Hogsback head straight uphill trending slightly right but staying to the left of The Chute which is the wide gully that leads up to the Pearly Gates. Not to be confused with the Old Chute which is the large gully father to the climbers left. You will have to pass over the large bergsgrund just before getting to the opening of the Icefall Chute. In winter the shrund is usual bridged over & hidden, in spring you may have to cross a thin bridge or go around and summer-fall there may be a 17 meter headwall in your path. This route is not recommended with headwall conditions.
Enter the narrow chute just left of the Left Pearly Gate, somewhere above the Hogsback and lower than the Gates. It is partially hidden or iced over in the deep of winter. As the name implies watch for icefall early season and rockfall late season. This is where your glacier travel ends and the ice route begins.
The Icefall Chute Pitches (2 to 3): The first pitch starts out as 45-60 degree snow or alpine ice. The takes you up a narrow gulley. There's possible places to belay once you get to a level-ish spot. Maybe 50 feet for pitch 1. The second pitch is harder to protect will be alpine ice and can be very steep or vertical depending on conditions and may not be in. It often looks blocked. You have the option to continue a very long pitch up and to the slight left all the way to the ridge line or whenver you find a good belay spot. Alternatively you can break this second one into two pitches so you can here your belayer. Alternatively if conditions are good consolidated ice you can exit early to the right which is shorter but steeper. If you're unable to get good pro on the second pitch you'll have to free solo or bail on the route.
The descent: Take the safest route down. Typically this is Old Chute or the Left Pearly Gate. Gather beta before descending. The Left Gate typically has an ice step early season (fall-early or mid winter). Note any Avi concerns in Old Chute and The Chute (below Pearly Gates). Also if winds are bad avoid traversing along the summit ridge.
Objective Hazards: Storms with high winds up to 150 mph, white out, precipitation, flying ice, glacier travel with crevasses, poisonous fumerols, icy conditions where self arresting may be difficult or impossible, rock and ice fall are all the usual major concerns on this route.
Additionally watch for exposure from above to icefall & rockfall hazards when setting up a belay station.
Avilanche terrain concerns should be noted and always look for wind loaded slopes. This is a particular concern if descending Old Chute after your climb.
The summit cornice and summit ridge cornices should be avoided so you don't go for a tumble down the steep North side.
Subjective Hazards: Be careful about knocking ice & rock onto climbers using the standard route below.
Avoid all South Side routes on a holiday or weekend especially in the busiest months of May & June when over 100 climbers may be on the route in one morning. Don't climb under other teams. Falling climbers, particularly teams roped up on steep terrain but not setting any pro ("suicide pack" roped travel), have been the cause of multiple fatalities when they fall & knock down climbers below them with the rope entanglement. This type of reckless climbing is the norm for both guided groups and several prominent climbing clubs.
Conditions: General conditions on this route is that during winter it's a mess of loose rime that's very hard or impossible to protect and often the entrance is completely blocked by alpine ice. The route comes into good shape for a brief time in early spring for a few weeks when alpine ice has consolidated. By early summer it becomes a rockfall hazard gully until the following winter. Fall there may be frozen rock & ice but be very cautious of rockfall and you may not be able to protect the route.
Devils Kitchen is where you get off the Palmer Snowfield and step onto the Coalman Glacier. You may choose to rope up here for glacier travel but be sure not to linger to close to the large crater fumerol. Hazards here include the Devils Kitchen fumerols, crevasses and ice / rockfall. The largest of the immediate crevasses at 10,000 feet are often to the climbers left of the large crater fumerol. This fumerol is over 100 feet deep & all fumerols on the mountain are poisonous.
This is where the approach ends & the climb begins.
Pro: For the technical pitches in the chute; 2 ice tools, glacier rope, pickets, helmet and goggles. Possibly screws late season. If there's bare rock on the route I don't recommend climbing this route. Standard moderate glacier gear for the Coalman Glacier. Avi gear should be considered depending on conditions.