Summit of Mount Rainier via the Emmons Glacier. Weather was perfect. Multiple crevasses to pass. Snow bridges beginning to collapse. The route is firm early in the AM, however, the snow softens during the day making the going down more challenging. Expect the route, especially navigating the crevasses to change. We used pickets placed by other parties for safety/belay while passing, crossing, and jumping a few crevasses.
The Emmons route is longer than the Disappointment Cleaver (DC) route and had many crevasses to traverse – across snow bridges, and some by sketchy single track boot paths cut above in the snow walls. The route has a very long traverse towards Liberty Cap, before turning upwards to a final 800+ foot neve snow wall/hill, creating the disillusionment of a closer summit. The benefit is that you top out at the true summit at Columbia Crest at 14,411 ft, vs. needing to traverse the crater rim for the true summit from other routes.
There were good paths circumnavigating the crater rim. It was exceptionally clear, yet windy – 30-40 mph, and super cold, so we opted to not find the summit register, and make our way down to minimize changes in the route due to warming conditions. Unlike the DC, there is minimal exposure to rock on this route – however, it is a long hike up Glacier Basin via the Inner Glacier to Camp Sherman, and the summit push is about an additional 1100 feet vs. other routes from Camp Muir. Camp Sherman is a tent only site, with a small ranger station and two camp toilets.
There was a small glacial melt pond we used to filter water, and room for about 20+ tents. There are also many broken up and deep crevasses just outside of the camp area, so take care when walking around. Our party consisted of Mark Hadland, Kevin Hall, Marco Sanchez Ponce, Aga Fine – guided by Zach Keskinen and Jake Skeen of Mountain Madness.