Mount Rainier, Tahoma Cleaver Variation. While making the second ascent of Tahoma Cleaver on June 16, Gene Prater, Tom Stewart, Steve Marts and I found we were forced to make a major variation from the original route. The lower part of the previously climbed buttress at about 12,000 feet had dropped away leaving only long (150 to 200-foot) vertical steps on either side, instead of the original 20-foot vertical pitch. Since we were unable to climb the buttress and later follow the cleaver’s crest, we were forced to traverse and angle up the steep ice slopes on the north side of the crest, below a 150 to 200-foot vertical rock band, for about a half mile to just where the ice slopes joined into more cliffs. There it was possible to climb two long, steep, fourth class pitches on loose rock to get above the long rock band. From there we gained the easier snow slopes of the original route and continued on to the summit.
Daniel R. Davis