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Tantalus Range Mountaineering: Mount Dione, Mount Serratus
Ross Berg | July 21, 2014 |
Just returned from a 3 day trip in the Tantalus range mountaineering (Jim Haberl hut) teaching a course.  Conditions are pretty excellent right now but changing rapidly with the very hot temperatures!  
 
Of interest we climbed Mount Dione SE face and Mount Serratus North face.
Mount Dione SE:  The glacier approach is great with no real challenging crevasse negotiation.  We took the first (southerly) approach to the ridge and avoided the long west facing couloir.   Although we didnt get a look at the couloir i would guess it is melted out to the point where the Bergschrund would be challenging and rock fall would be a real problem.  I walked into the couloir from the top to check it out and there are lots of large rocks in the snow just waiting to melt out.  If nothing else make sure you have a good night freeze and an early start if you want to approach this way!  The face of Dione is mostly dry except a 30m patch of snow but this could be avoided if necessary.
Mount Serratus North face:  Despite an early start there was next to no overnight freeze.  The snow is however well consolidated enough that only the surface snow was effected and travel was fine.   Good travel up the face with a couple large crevasses that were easily walked around and one giant near the top but again easily climbed up steeper terrain to the left..   On the descent at 12:00 the snow had softened enough to be a bit slippery and sticking to crampons but no wet snow avalanches where observed, just needed to be extra cautions with footing.
Other notes: A party had recently defended the normal route Tantalus and reported the moat on to the face was in good shape and easy to cross.  From our observations this looked to still be the case and only a couple small snow patches on the route.  Looked in great shape.
A large rock fall was observed on the west face rib of Serratus (rib lookers left of the normal west face)  We have been climbing this route alot in the early summer but i would say it has not melted out to much and now has some good rock fall potential.  The normal west face looks in great shape.