On Sat Aug 7 Dave and I climbed Liberty Crack. There was quite a bit of helpful information online that we used so I will just post a few photos and highlights. This was our first time on the route and on this side of the mountain.
Some helpful TRs we found were as follows: http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1011563http://www.summitpost.org/liberty-crack/309641
Dave and I drove up from Vancouver Friday evening and bivyed along the service road just past the backside trail parking lot.
We left the car at 4:30am and got back 7:30pm. Finding the trail just after the "pond" beside the highway was easy. We got up to the boulder fields and were a bit surprised to see that there was still snow at the base, we were hoping for no snow. Well it turned out there was about a 40-50ft section of 30-35 degree bullet proof snow at the base of the 1st low 5th pitch, but there was also a shorter a 30ft section lower to the right below the "5.7" alternate 1st pitch. I tried the first time but slipped about halfway up and slid down to the scree, no injury except some scrapes. I then went a bit further right where I saw a rope hanging from the cliffs and using one of Dave's poles I fished it out of the moat and was able to pull myself in. I then shimmied upward to a spot where I then brought up Dave with a rope and we proceeded to the normal start. Burned about an hour mucking about on this. This is one of the few times micro spikes would actually have been helpful.
As far as the route goes it is fairly straight forward. The aid placements are pretty easy going with some interesting fixed pro higher up, but still relatively strenuous if you haven't aided in a while (my first time aiding in years)...Although I had my system fairly dialed your still doing a few hundred light chin ups as you clamor up your aiders.
We had a good strategy to speed up the aid sequence by short fixing. I would aid up to the anchor, pull all the rope up tight to Dave, then fix the lead line (8.9 single/double rope) and the tag line (7.9 double rope) so that Dave could jug up and use the tag line as a back-up. I would then continue leading up past the anchor rope soling on the remaining rope and gear that I had, and using a gri-gri and a back-up knot on a locker. By the time Dave got up to the anchor I was already mid-way up the next pitch. I would then use the tag line to pull up the gear that he cleaned from the previous pitch. We did this for all the aid pitches and it worked well and saved a bunch of time. Took us 3.5 hours until both of us were at the top of the aid pitches. We continued upward using a double rope system.
The fixed gear (pins/copperheads) appear to all be still in place and in my opinion are pivotal to getting up this route hammerless and in a quick time. I brought a hook and used it 3 times, first getting to the piton at the beginning of the 2nd aid pitch, 3rd time moving off a higher copperhead to a large cam under a roof midway up the 2nd aid pitch and then lastly at the obvious hook hole that everyone talks about. Looking back you could have free climbed the first hook move but I did not see another option on the 2nd placement.
We brought a light leader pack and a 40liter follower pack to carry the approach shoes, aiders, extra jackets, etc., what a pig. The free pitches thereafter were surprisingly harder than what we were expecting in that they were consistently sustained at the grade. We both thought the first 5.9 pitch was the most difficult of the upper pitches, although we french freed past the 5.10 moves near the rotten block.
- x1 - 8.9mm rope rated as single/double
- x1 - 7.9mm half rope - double cams from small purple tcu up to #2 C4
- One each, smallest grey TCU, #3 C4, #4 C4, red link cam
- 1.5 set of nuts including some med size RP's, didn't need the smallest micro nuts or the very largest nuts
- x7 quick draws, x7 extendable draws, x8 loose biners. Over half of the aid pieces were clipped with only a single biner. Often I had to pilfer loose biners off my rack/extendables until I got my re-supply from the tag line.
I brought x3 liters of water for myself (not enough for me, 200pnds) and Dave brought x2 liters (enough for him, 160pnds).
The route has good bolted anchors up to the top off the rotten block, thereafter there is one gear anchor and the last three anchors for us were from trees. We did the final 5.9 & 5.8 pitches in one 55m pitch, seemed like the best way to do it.
Overall the route is a great line and can see why it is an obvious classic.
Photos below and also a quick video I added to youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFbsKI5a0C4
Me heading up the "Lithuanion Lip"
Dave finishing up the sustained 5.8 - 6th Pitch
Dave on the last 5.9/5.8 10th pitch. He finished the pitch at the tree you can barely see at the top of the main corner.
View of the peak from the road taken while walking back to vehicle.