Route Guide - iPhone / Android - Partners - Forum - Photos - Deals - What's New - School of Rock
The Fuhrer Finger is a very enjoyable route with glacier travel, 30-45 degree snow climbing. The route is a good choice for a car-to-car Rainier ascent but it makes for a long day. The Finger is also an excellent ski or board descent route. The routes namesake, the "Finger", is a snow couloir above the Wilson Glacier. The Finger involves about 2,200ft of 40-45 degree climbing before it joins with the upper Kautz Glacier route at approx 13K(a few exposed bivy site here). Once above 13,000ft the slopes ease back considerably and there are a few large crevasses that in late season may require lengthy end-runs to get around. The final slopes lead to the crater rim. I find it best to stay on the flat terrain just outside and below the crater rim and traverse around left and then up onto Columbia Crest. The route is pretty straight forward but there can be a few routefinding challenges crossing through the Wilson Glacier to access the base of the couloir especially around the bergschrund. Upon reaching high camp it may be prudent to gain a vantage point allowing one to scope out a feasible path through the crevasses of the Wilson so as to save time in the early morning darkness when making the way across.
Park at Paradise 5,400ft and hike the Skyline Trail to Glacier Vista overlook at 6,300ft. This is the rope-up point for teams. Drop down several hundred feet onto the Nisqually Glacier and cross the glacier to the base of a snow gully angling up and right, gaining about 700ft elevation. There is rockfall and avalanche hazard in the chute, move quickly, there is a good safe place to take a break at the top. There are bivy sites here but it is recommended to continue up to the Wapowety Cleaver and follow the crest of the cleaver to a suitable high camp(many rock windbreaks) at the edge of the Wilson Glacier.
A few pickets & runners. Helmets highly recommended as there is rockfall hazard on both the approach and the route.