Mt. Rainier: Mike Walter Recounts Their Week on the Kautz
Our Kautz Expedition Skills Seminar team arrived back to RMI Basecamp in Ashford, Washington, yesterday evening. We enjoyed excellent weather during the six day program, and we took advantage of it to spend lots of time climbing and training in the mountains.
We trained on a variety of skills, including various knots and hitches, anchors, crevasse rescue, and ice climbing.
On our climb, we moved camps up the mountain and went for our summit push. The Kautz Route was in a very challenging condition, and our climbers did a great job of managing the terrain. The Kautz Ice Chute was at least eight pitches (150’ rope lengths) long, with some additional steep climbing above it. The ice presented challenging climbing at high altitude, and pushed our limits. Due to the challenging nature of the ascent and a technical descent ahead of us, we opted to turn our climb around at ~13,000’, at the top of the Wapowety Cleaver. It had taken us ten hours to get to this point and only a couple of hours of glacier travel stood between us and the summit of Mount Rainier. But, we knew we had our work cut out for us to safely descend the Ice Chute and return back to camp. Everything went smoothly and it still took us ten hours to descend.
A huge 20-hour day in the mountains is very challenging, and I’m proud of our climbers for staying strong throughout the entire journey. I hope everyone has enjoyed a shower, cold beer, and flip flops…
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