Mount Rainier, Sunset Amphitheater Headwall. On August 1, Brent Eaton and I completed a new direct route on Rainier’s Sunset Amphitheater Headwall. Our route lies on the central buttress directly below Liberty Cap to the left of the 1967 route. Its most prominent feature is the Ice Slot at 12,900 feet, a 100-foot-high gash in the black band a third of the way up the face. We camped at 9200 feet on the Puyallup Cleaver and reached the belay position below the slot at 10:30 A.M., a half hour after the sun-warmed rime ice began raining down the Ice Slot. I led moderate water-ice into the back of the rock gash where I confronted a vertical waterfall of ice, 55 feet high and composed of fluted melt ice with numerous voids. I led the 50 feet to a stance on the left and avoided the debris falling over the lip by exiting left on steep rock with loose holds (5.8). Drifted snow over water-ice slowed progress up the gullies and central snow ridge above. A short rock pitch (5.7) led to the summit ridge. To avoid objective danger, we recommend climbing the Ice Slot before ten A.M. in sunny weather. (IV, 5.8, WI4).
Scott C. Davis