A dense layer of tall clouds rolled last night and landed on top of the mountain. The cloud layer traps heat and blocks long-wave radiation, so glaciers do not radiate cooling overnight at high altitudes. As a result, guides reported that their ascent conditions were milder than during the dome of heat, when we had 18,000 levels of freezing with clear skies. When conditions are hot, there is usually a faster change of direction. Note that walkways and ladders become unsafe in hot weather – be prepared to find an alternative route at the bottom of the mountain if things change at altitude!
|Dark clouds and rain above the high camps on Rainer Mountain.|
Last night, while some groups were up in the mountains, the ice fin used to access the disappointing device came out with a falling rock. Both sides were able to get off the Cleaver (go down), but riding on it (going up) adds an extra challenge.
The ladder is melting rapidly at an altitude of 13,500 ‘and is sometimes left uncontrolled. Be careful when using ladders.
It is always good to remember not to simply cross the bridge or ladder, because many people have crossed it before you. Rainier offers a very dynamic environment and is currently changing rapidly – did we mention that before? The renaming of the game is when climbing the frozen ground in August. If you need to find an alternative route, save some extra! I see you in the mountains.