Trip: Mount Rainier - Liberty Ridge
Liberty Ridge May 12-18.
We made it, but not without great difficulty. I think we bagged the first accent of the year. We started from the Carbon ranger station. We biked the section of road that was closed and blazed trail all the way to the base of the freakin mountain in deep freakin powder! Approach took 3 days due to bad weather(rain), the climb took 2 days, and the decent took another 2 days. The carbon offered almost direct access to the base of Lib ridge. There was only a few crevasses the we had to jump or end run. We gained the ridge on the west side. The climbing was good and clean in the morn but and soon as the temp went up the hard snow turned to deep slush. It was some of the most terrifying climbing I've ever done. Just unstable deep slush, no good axe or boot placements, no pro....horrible. so we free'd the whole route and only broke out the rope for glacier travel and the bergshrund. At the Thumb there was a constant showcase of avi's, ice and rockfall. Summit day was 15hrs of exhausting climbing in deep snow and hard alpine ice with a constant attack of falling ice and rock. Jeremy took a softball sized piece of ice to the arm and I got hit in the helmet with ice so hard it all most knocked me out. It left a big dent in my helmet. Uriah got hit by rockfall in the tent at our high camp and our brand new mountain hardwear EV3 has a nice big hole in it. Needless to say we slept the rest of the night with our helmets on. The upper route was solid untill we gained the slope to the left of the BP. the snow got deep and sticky. Every time I pulled my foot out to kick another step 50lbs of snow would be stuck in my freakin pons! So I had to beat it out on my other foot. Terribly exhausting, so the three of us rotated breaking trail 10 mins on 20 off for 3+ hrs. Above the BP the deep snow instantly turned to hard alpine ice for the last 400ft or so. We opted to take a more direct and difficult route to gain the cap. the crux was 60ft of WI3+, ate up all 5 screws and a pickett.FUN,FUN,FUN!!! got to the summit around 730(too late to descend) so we droped down a bit, found shelter from the feirce winds and bivied @ 13900 ft. woke up to high winds and made the decision to pack up and drop down anyway. As soon as we got down below the summit plateau the winds abated and with the exception of a couple route finding mistakes the decent went well. The emmons was in great shape minus some pockets of deep snow. Here is the link to the pics....
Snowshoes- need 'em, we wouldn't have made it.
Bikes- use 'em.
screws- for up high. 5 was perfect for the route we took.
picketts- we took 2 for a team of 3, worked well.
helmets- wear 'em
Long and hard