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Hi all,

Anyone been on Rainier recently? A buddy and I are gonna try to squeeze in a Liberty Ridge climb (up Lib Ridge, ski down the Emmons) in the next couple weeks (shooting for sometime before May 13th). I know it's still early season, but I was wondering if anyone had been up that way recently? I saw the aerial photo up on the Rainier Climbing blog, but haven't found much beyond that.

Thanks for any conditions beta!

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It's probably in fine shape if it's not too warm. White River Campground road usually doesn't open until later in May, so plan accordingly! I'm sure that's a big factor for why it's not usually climbed in early May.

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Looks like White River should be open Friday May 18. We may try to make a two day ascent this weekend. Anybody camped on the Carbon glacier below the ridge? Figure it might be nice to avoid camping at Thumb Rock, would make for a long summit day though.

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There are probably some places one could bviy at the base of the ridge but yer gonna be probably chopping a ledge a the glacier kicks up as one heads towards the ridge. Other locations on the glacier on the way to the ridge are in a prime line for anything coming off the Willis. Here is a photo from the rangers from last week.

 

IMG_7226.JPG

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It looks like the Carbon is quite flat a ways downslope of the toe of Lib ridge. I've heard stuff can travel a long way from Willis Wall, but it seems like there should be some safe spots to camp, maybe even further down.

LibRidgeBivy.PNG.3d68aa852831fcc1dd57d72ed3368fc0.PNG

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I'm sure you could find a spot out there but it's pretty hairy.  I watched a huge avalanche sweep out a good 1000' onto the Carbon glacier from a serac calving off a few years ago.  I was glad to be at Thumb Rock as it rumbled by.  Does the flat area you marked on your map appear to have avalanche debris on it in the photo above?

My concern with your strategy is that most climbers want to climb the ridge below Thumb Rock while it's still cold in the morning and the choss is still somewhat frozen in place.  Most climbers also want to climb the area above Thumb Rock while it's cold in the morning and things are locked up.  

Can you go in the first night and get to the camp at the east edge of the Carbon Glacier?  It's pretty benign up to that point if memory serves correct.

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I wouldn't want to camp anywhere near the toe of Liberty Ridge on the Carbon.  If you camp further down, the summit day is way too long for someone like me.  But I'm sure it could be done by the fit and motivated.

 

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1 hour ago, Bronco said:

while it's still cold in the morning and the choss is still somewhat frozen in place.

Even if is is cold, don't be surprised if rocks whizz by.  I was very nearly taken out by medicine ball size rock on the black pyramid just before dawn (temps below freezing).  Spontaneous, not kicked by anyone.  It's the most spectacular route I've climbed in WA, but it comes with hazards.

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6 hours ago, tylerhs01 said:

It looks like the Carbon is quite flat a ways downslope of the toe of Lib ridge. I've heard stuff can travel a long way from Willis Wall, but it seems like there should be some safe spots to camp, maybe even further down.

Look at your X and look at where is it is on the photo I posted up. As said, notice some avy debris near by?? Just enough to side into your X, push it into the crack below, and cover it up all nice and tidy. Never to be found again.

FWIW I have camped on the Carbon Glacier proper but it was late winter. I have also camped on the moraine and watched the Willis cut lose and everything in the left side of that picture was covered.

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It would be a lot safer to camp where you cross the broad lower end of Curtis Ridge. If you're skiing the approach, this won't add substantially to the time/effort on your summit day and getting on to the base of Lib. ridge in the early morning hours makes sense to me. I've done it in the late afternoon on a warm day and it was a shooting gallery. There is plenty of flat terrain on lower Curtis and you might even find running water. Good luck!

 

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On ‎5‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 4:21 PM, tylerhs01 said:

Looks like White River should be open Friday May 18. We may try to make a two day ascent this weekend. Anybody camped on the Carbon glacier below the ridge? Figure it might be nice to avoid camping at Thumb Rock, would make for a long summit day though.

That is early, typically the road opens Memorial Day Weekend.  Having made the approach to North side routes in winter three times from the Snow Park at Crystal Mountain Blvd. I can attest it adds a long way, around 12 miles one way and full two days for the round trip.  I went into do Curtis Ridge the weekend before the road opened, and we were able to drive Hwy 410 to White River road, and then road bicycles the five or six miles to White River campground.  That wasn't bad at all.  Last time I did Lib Ridge we decided on a leisurely three day trip and we camped right before dropping onto the Carbon on good, flat dirt.  We then crossed the Carbon early the next morning. 

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