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Rainier in Mid-June, Thoughts on 2-man Rope Team?
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By Mark Ra
From Mid-Atlantic/CO
Apr 23, 2014
Poking around at Coopers

3 is the recommended minimum as two man CR is much more difficult than 3man but here's the situation.

As of now there are just two of us on the team. Do we practice 2-man CR until we can build anchors in our sleep then make a go at DC or Emmons, or do we look for a 3rd man? How would you weigh the trade-off between being a man short and bringing on someone with whom you have never climbed and aren't familiar?

I've heard differing advice regarding crevasse danger in June. Pros: early summer so they won't have opened as much as late season. Cons: high solar effect melting out snow, potential for weak bridges.

Should we just suck it up and find a 3rd? Should we go as two, do lots of probing, and hustle to beat potential bad weather? As it stands I think the two of us can pack pretty light and make good time working together.


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By FoamFinger
From Grand Rapids, Michigan
Apr 23, 2014

Tough one. Really you are going during the time frame when the snow bridges are in there greatest period of deterioration and probably the most sketch. If I were you I would find a third and spend an extra day doing mountain school so at the very least they have some idea of what to do if one of you punches through. Really you could just stick the weak climber in the middle and as long as your other partner is knowledgeable then the two of you could be at the end of the rope anyway.


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By JediGorf
From Waterville, ME
Apr 23, 2014

If you decide to go 2-man, which isn't an awful idea, make sure to put 4 or 5 butterfly knots on the rope between you and your partner; those should help arrest a crevasse fall. If going on the DC trade route, follow the guide trail and greatly reduce crevasse danger. The only really dicey area will be above Ingraham Flats for a few hundred meters.


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By SinRopa
From parts unknown
Apr 23, 2014

You'll probably see plenty of traffic in mid-June on the DC. I've done it a few times as a 2-person rope team; we had iffy snow bridge conditions once and teamed up with another 2 person party for that section just above the Flats before you gain the Cleaver. Same thing on the descent.


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By Ted Eliason
From Westminster, CO
Apr 23, 2014
Ice Fest 2014

2 man rope teams with butterfly knots in the rope, 2 pickets a person and the skills to know how to arrest, anchor and haul is totally the way to go. I would recommend 2 separate 2 man rope teams over a single 4 man rope team anyday, for both speed and safety. Alpine Climbing: Techniques to Take You Higher (Mountaineers Outdoor Expert) spells out the technical details.


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By jaredj
Apr 23, 2014

Butterfly knots is what I've heard recommended by guides in the region for 2-man teams on glaciated terrain.

I've done CR practice trying to build an anchor while holding the load of a partner, then transferring the load of the partner onto the anchor and escaping the load. It's really hard. It's worth practicing in the snow; not the same as in ones' living room or garage.


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By Mark Ra
From Mid-Atlantic/CO
Apr 23, 2014
Poking around at Coopers

jaredj wrote:
Butterfly knots is what I've heard recommended by guides in the region for 2-man teams on glaciated terrain. I've done CR practice trying to build an anchor while holding the load of a partner, then transferring the load of the partner onto the anchor and escaping the load. It's really hard. It's worth practicing in the snow; not the same as in ones' living room or garage.


Thanks for the thoughts everyone. I'll keep looking but will probably give it a cautious go with 2 if need be. We will definitely practice CR together on snow. We're doing a skills refresher day then a Hood attempt as prep at the beginning of the trip. Also planning to carry a screw each so whoever is in the hole can clip in and release some of the load if they can reach a placement.


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