American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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North America, United States, Washington—Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, Kautz Glacier Headwall

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1964

Mount Rainier, Kautz Glacier Headwall. The Kautz Glacier Headwall on Mount Rainier was climbed July 8 by Pat Callis, Don Gordon, and Dan Davis. This headwall is the glacial finger and rock and snow face above the left part of the Kautz Glacier, bounded on the left by the Kautz Cleaver and on the right by rock cliffs and the upper Kautz Glacier. The approach was made via Christine Falls and Van Trump Park to the meadows and ridges of the lower Wapowety Cleaver. High camp was made between 9500 and 10,000 feet on the Wapowety Cleaver from where it was easy to descend to the Kautz Glacier in the morning. The glacial finger above is reached by keeping left of the ice cliffs which separate the lower Kautz Glacier from the upper Kautz Glacier. We then ascended the finger, skirting three major crevasses, to reach the rock and snow slopes above. Here we first climbed obliquely right on a rock and snow slope until we arrived at another snow slope which allowed us to ascend obliquely left and when this pitch ended in a side cliff we climbed straight up on snow, many rope lengths, until further vertical progress was blocked by a cliff slanting up to the right. We then angled upward staying at the base of the cliff until it was feasible to climb through a gully in the cliff, and above this final cliff there were just snow slopes to Point Success. Due to the whiteout and blizzard conditions in which we found ourselves at Point Success we bivouacked there for the night in a snow cave, which was very miserable, and continued to the summit the next morning. Because the climb was made early in the year and after a recent snowfall, the cliffs above the glacier were almost exclusively snow slopes. Under different conditions or later in the summer this part of the climb would probably be mostly on loose rock with some rockfall danger.

Dan Davis, The Mountaineers

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