The approach begins at Paradise (elv: 5400ish). Hike up the paved trail for about a mile to Glacier Vista. Locate a climbers trail to the left (west???) and descend to the Nisqually glacier. Cross the Nisqually. You should head for the base of an obvious gully. Scramble up the boulder filled gully. This spits you out onto the left side of the wilson glacier. Follow the rolling snow fields aiming for a snowfield shaped like a turtle. There is good camping at the base of this snowfield (elv. 9000ish). Climb the turtle snowfield and aim for its left paw (do turtles have paws?). There is a good camp on the rocks near this paw. (elv. 11,000ish). From this camp follow the climbers trail on the rocks to a short rappel which may have a fixed line. This puts you at the bottom of the ice cliff drainage gully. Cross the chute, aiming for the obvious snow/ice ramp. This is the first "technical" pitch. It is probably about 35-40 degrees and really stepped out, you'll probably only need one tool. It's about 400 feet before easy glacier travel resumes. The second pitch is a few hundred yards above the first. It's steeper, and not nearly as stepped out. I'd say it's around 50-60 degrees. I had to use two tools on this pitch. It's about 400 feet long as well, but I'm not sure because we simul climbed it. When you top the pitch out glacier travel resumes, head up twoard the flase summit, then head for the top.
This beta is from a mid-august ascent
a few screws and a picket or 2
From: San Jose, CA
Jan 15, 2007
The amount of ice on the Kautz apparently varies quite a bit depending on the time of the season. On 9-July-2006 the first pitch was all snow and maybe 45 degrees at most, while the second pitch was about 40m of 50 degree ice. We pitched out this section and I led it with one tool and one axe. Very featured.
On the descent there was a fixed anchor about 70m above the start of the second pitch (probably a buried picket). Be prepared to make v-threads, rap off ice horns, etc.
Conditions updates can be found on the head climbing ranger's blog site :
|By Bryan Gartland|
From: Helena, MT
Feb 24, 2007
The condition of this route seems to have changed a lot in the last ten years. I did this in relatively safe style in late August of '97 or '98 with a single alpine axe and no rappels or fixed lines. The "chute" appears to be more of a proper ice climb these days.
Pitching tents at Camp Hazard during warm spells is pretty risky. We did so and nervously watched as blocks broke off the sun-baked upper Kautz Glacier every hour or so. Most of it funneled down the gully the route crosses just west of the camp but one big fall let loose directly above the tents and sent washing machine sized ice boulders rolling through camp. It was pretty terrifying and one of the closer calls I've had in the mountains. Amazingly no tents or people were hit with big stuff.
In retrospect it was a comical scene. Most of us were awakened from afternoon naps by the crack of the ice fall and watched in what seemed to be slow motion as the glacier broke up and trundled towards the tents. Realizing that it wasn't going to miss the camp, people started running for cover behind boulders in their underwear.
The irony is that Camp Hazard is named for an individual and not for its location below a south facing ice cliff. Needless to say, the name fits.
|By Bill Bones|
Aug 6, 2007
This is a great route. The ice pitches were great fun. The first was not much more that a 40 degree step ladder, but the second pitch was steep enough for 2 tools. We fired the route in 2 days car to car. A classic route for the climber seeking to stay away from crowds and wanting a more challenging route.
|By Rick Miske|
From: Orem, UT
Nov 14, 2007
Summited July 4th. 1st ice pitch a walk-up after the first semi-vertical 40', 2nd required one tool but quite a bit of front-pointing. Felt like solid Grade 3. There were loops of webbing left on the penitentes which made good anchors.
Was cool at the end of the day to sit in camp 2 and watch the fireworks all around.
From: Yelm, Wa
Jul 6, 2011
Got up the route on 4 July 2011 from comet falls trailhead. Conditions were good. The icefall was stable especially compared to the recent activity on the nisqually. We accessed the ramp via the chute from below camp hazard at 11,200 ft, and it was a simple descent down around the horn of the western icefall. If you want to do the rappel you should head west at 10,450 ft and follow the ridge to about 10,850 ft. The rappel poit is easy to miss. Very few crevasses on the upper glacier and good snow bridge across the kautz/ nisqually transistion at 12,500 ft. Upper mountain was dense hardpack snow and we skied up most of the way to the crater. Recommend taking wands if descending this route as it is not well marked right now.
Descent was the standard dissapointment cleaver route. Large suncups made ski descent difficult. Several large crevasses are open on the upper ingraham glacier making the route traverse back towards emmons glacier. Well marked and tracked.