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ScaredSilly

Liberty Ridge - Ski descent accident

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Sad news.  A bad week on Rainier it sounds like, with the two other searches underway.

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Very sad to see another young person passing. 

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Whoever called the LR the "classic climb" was wrong. I've climbed this ridge twice and each time my partner or I were an inch away from being hit by a flying rock.  The PR is a much better and  safer objective. There is nothing aesthetic about LR either.  The bottom line, the LR is a boring dangerous place.  

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Oleg, I was underwhelmed by the route also. We dodged large falling rocks from the toe (5th class climbing on an un-mortared pile of bricks) to Thumb Rock. I wonder, however, if PR was a 50 Classic Climb if there would be more accidents on that route. 

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Its like every year I have a reason to put LR on the back burner. I appreciate the honest sentiment OlegV and DPS. 

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I think LR is very condition dependent.  My experience was from a long time ago, but we found excellent conditions in early June of 2002.  It was quite cold and calm though.  That said, I was almost taken out by a bowling ball around the black pyramid!  However, I really liked the route and thought it well worth the 50 classic designation. 

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Posted (edited)

One needs put a few things in perspective about the classic routes such LR. If one thinks about the FA it was done in August.  50 Classics was written in the late 70s. Since then anthropomorphic climate change has greatly affected many of these routes.  In the late 80s when I did LR people regularly did the route through July. Rarely is that the case now.

What makes LR a classic over PR? That is pretty simple. LR has a bit of everything ... glacier travel, a climb to a high camp in a great position, long sections of exposed climbing that does not end until right at the summit. PR has little of that, a long hike to a high camp, at best 2000' of climbing, then a mostly leisurely 2000' stroll to the summit. 

 

 

Edited by ScaredSilly

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SS. you make a good point. The routes in 50 Classics are not always the most difficult or most aesthetic, some are of a more historical significance.  For example, is the WR the best route on Forbidden? Many would argue NW Arete is a much better route, however, WR has more history. I think as a young and inexperienced climber I had unrealistic expectations for LR.

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On 6/30/2020 at 3:01 PM, DPS said:

Oleg, I was underwhelmed by the route also. We dodged large falling rocks from the toe (5th class climbing on an un-mortared pile of bricks) to Thumb Rock. I wonder, however, if PR was a 50 Classic Climb if there would be more accidents on that route. 

Dan, your LR experience sounds classic - Thumb Rock is falling apart and scarring people. I suspect some of this rock derbies turn into a meteor shower flying down the first pitch of the LR. I've never had any problems with the rock fall ABOVE Thumb Rock, although people did get hit by the avalanches there.      

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8 hours ago, DPS said:

SS. you make a good point. The routes in 50 Classics are not always the most difficult or most aesthetic, some are of a more historical significance.  For example, is the WR the best route on Forbidden? Many would argue NW Arete is a much better route, however, WR has more history. I think as a young and inexperienced climber I had unrealistic expectations for LR.

Getting on the other side of Forbidden is a real pain though. 

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17 hours ago, ScaredSilly said:

One needs put a few things in perspective about the classic routes such LR. If one thinks about the FA it was done in August.  50 Classics was written in the late 70s. Since then anthropomorphic climate change has greatly affected many of these routes.  In the late 80s when I did LR people regularly did the route through July. Rarely is that the case now.

What makes LR a classic over PR? That is pretty simple. LR has a bit of everything ... glacier travel, a climb to a high camp in a great position, long sections of exposed climbing that does not end until right at the summit. PR has little of that, a long hike to a high camp, at best 2000' of climbing, then a mostly leisurely 2000' stroll to the summit. 

 

 

I actually liked the PR better because of its remoteness and variety of the terrains

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I've attempted PR a four times, but various factors skunked each attempt. Maybe next years. 

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15 minutes ago, DPS said:

I've attempted PR a four times, but various factors skunked each attempt. Maybe next years. 

We should team up Dan! I always wanted to do a 5.8 rock variation. The climb of the veterans :blush:

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On 6/30/2020 at 2:15 PM, OlegV said:

Whoever called the LR the "classic climb" was wrong. I've climbed this ridge twice and each time my partner or I were an inch away from being hit by a flying rock.  The PR is a much better and  safer objective. There is nothing aesthetic about LR either.  The bottom line, the LR is a boring dangerous place.  

Keep in mind ... 30 ~ 40 years ago, Lib Ridge, Willis Wall and the rest of the north side of Rainier was a bit different animal 

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5 minutes ago, wdietsch said:

Keep in mind ... 30 ~ 40 years ago, Lib Ridge, Willis Wall and the rest of the north side of Rainier was a bit different animal 

we are not that old :)

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2 minutes ago, OlegV said:

we are not that old :)

touche' ... dig the Rackliff woodcut Avatar

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Sounds good Oleg, maybe next year!

2 hours ago, OlegV said:

We should team up Dan! I always wanted to do a 5.8 rock variation. The climb of the veterans :blush:

Let's do it!

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3 hours ago, OlegV said:

We should team up Dan! I always wanted to do a 5.8 rock variation. The climb of the veterans 

Let me know @OlegV and @DPS!  It is on my list....

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If I climb PR I will definitely post here. 

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1 hour ago, JasonG said:

Let me know @OlegV and @DPS!  It is on my list....

Hey Jason, it brings up some great memories from our 2004 winter ascent of Gibbs Ledges!

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