Bumping it up. Can someone post an update on MR condition? Can the remaining snow in the gully be bypassed or climbed without an ice axe and crampons during a day? Is there any snow left on the traverse section above the notch and if so, can it be navigated safely? I will need to quickly get up in the afternoon of Sep 1 with a heavy pack.
I guided two summits of the MR on Aug 22 and 25. On the 22nd we got an early start and were on the snow at sunrise. The 25th was a leisurely climb leaving our camp at Iceberg Lake at 8am so we got to the snow when it was soft. Both times ascending and descending we were happy we had crampons and ice axe.
On the 22nd there was an accident with another party. They were descending in the afternoon when the snow is supposedly softer. They had trekking poles. One person slipped and slid into another member of his party and his trekking pole almost tore his partner's nose off. They self rescued and descended to the Bishop hospital where he got some stitches.
With no ice axe there's no way to stop a slip from turning into a fall. Crampons add much needed traction.
The snow is wall to wall in the gully so there's no way around it. It is softening during the day then freezing at night. These constant freeze/thaw cycles are making that route increasingly slick. The section is only about 100 yards but again there's no way around it. If you take the main chute above Iceberg Lake you'll have a lot longer section of snow. If you take the climber's left variation many call the "Mountaineers Route Direct" which is the approach to the East Face & East Buttress routes you can traverse into the main chute higher up and only be on snow for 100 yards.
Here are a couple pictures and links to the entire photo galleries:Whitney Aug 20-23Whitney Aug 24-26
August 25 looking up the MR at the traverse from the Direct into the Main Chute
August 22 just after we removed our crampons on the descent. The 2 people next to the snow were part of a party of 3 who turned around at this spot because they didn't have crampons. The 3rd person in their party is out of view but he went higher along the climbers left side to see if he could get around it but was unsuccessful.
August 22 on the descent traversing back into the MR Direct.
August 22 looking up from Iceberg Lake after we descended. Clouds rolled in but you can see how much snow is in the Main Chute.
August 25: The traverse above the notch. There are a couple of big patches of firm north facing snow. If you go left up the final 400 there's one snow patch but it's off the normal route.