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OlegV

Holidays on Liberty Ridge

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Has anybody ever climbed LR on a Memorial Day weekend? I am concerned this place will be crowded, objective danger is higher than usual because of people dislodging rocks and there will be no camping at the Thumb Rock.

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Yes, I have. Expect crowds. MY ADVICE IS TO GO CAR TO CAR NO BIVY GEAR. Thumb rock camp gets crowded, you only wind up sleepin a few fucking hours anyway...just go for it. should take 18 or more hours. bottom to top to bottom

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I think that group of four from OSU (where 3 died in a storm) were climbing on Memorial Day weekend. I don't think there were any crowds though, so you got that going for you, which is nice.

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When I climbed the route, in July, there were at least ten parties at Thumb Rock. Not everybody had the prime spot, but there was no problem. Climber-induced rockfall can be an issue on the lower half of the route, and multiple teams may get in your way a bit, but overall I don't think crowding is a tremendous hazard on that route.

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No statistics to back it up, but from my recollection Memorial Day weekend has notoriously bad weather for the mountains. That combined with the "we only have these days to climb factor" don't make it a very friendly weekend up there.

 

But then I've never done it at all, so what am I to say.

 

-kurt

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Well, I share your optimism, Iain - people die on LR, but not because it is particular nasty. I can see how one can die on Gibbs Ledges in whiteout - by diving into the abys. LR attracts people from all over the world because some poet labeled it as "Rainier classic". My point is this self-inflating fucking hysteria over LR has no ground whatsoever. One should count relative statistics on various Rainier routes, and I bet it will be pretty similar.

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When I did it a couple of years ago, instead of camping at thumb rock, we climbed to about 12,000' and dug bivvy platforms in the snow. Made for a very easy final day, no crowds, no rockfall danger up there.

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When I went...I recommend it this way....

 

July 4th was on a Monday. So most people climbed Sat(the 2nd), Sun(the 3rd), and Mon(the 4th).

 

We climbed it Sun(the 3rd), Mon(the 4th), and Tue(the 5th).

 

We liked it becuase NO ONE was on the same itinerary we were. I am talking NO ONE. And becuase so many other people had been up there one day before we were using their steps they had placed--that was very nice!

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"Yes, I have. Expect crowds. MY ADVICE IS TO GO CAR TO CAR NO BIVY GEAR. Thumb rock camp gets crowded, you only wind up sleepin a few fucking hours anyway...just go for it. should take 18 or more hours. bottom to top to bottom"

 

I believe the record is 23 and some hours car-to-car, but it was set by a few RMI Guides (or maybe they were climbing rangers) who were, of course, already well acclimated.

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LR is the DC of the north side of Rainier.

 

rolleyes.gif

 

Another one star post from Mr. Nolse.

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Well, I share your optimism, Iain - people die on LR, but not because it is particular nasty. I can see how one can die on Gibbs Ledges in whiteout - by diving into the abys. LR attracts people from all over the world because some poet labeled it as "Rainier classic". My point is this self-inflating fucking hysteria over LR has no ground whatsoever. One should count relative statistics on various Rainier routes, and I bet it will be pretty similar.

 

I wasn't saying anything for or against climbing Liberty Ridge on Memorial Day or otherwise.

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We climbed on the 4th of July as well. My experience with trying to climb Rainier on Memorial Day has not been the greatest. I think the weather Gods have always frowned on me for this weekend. One of the worst storms I ever experienced was at the 9500' camp on the Wilson Glacier during Memorial Day- so good luck with the weather! For LR we had our bags packed for the entire month of June waiting for a decent weather window. When a good high pressure system did come in, it narrowed to 2 days so we pushed up to Thumb Rock in one day, and summitted on the 2nd day. This worked well, except for the rockfall hazard in the afternoon heading up to Thumb. There are smarter times to be on the lower ridge. Luck, or otherwise, there was only one other party at Thumb Rock with us on the 4th.

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I believe the record is 23 and some hours car-to-car, but it was set by a few RMI Guides (or maybe they were climbing rangers) who were, of course, already well acclimated.

 

Oh man, here we go again... speed 'records' on Rainier rolleyes.gif

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Yes, I have, too. When we did it as a party of three, there was only two other groups of two each on the route with us. Our weather window was clear, with snow waist deep (swimming) across the Winthrop and Carbon, and sloughing on us up the track to Thumb Rock. Bowling alley in the Willis Wall basin all night, but nothing (of consequence) entered camp at TR (not like Alpinfox's experience). High winds/lenticular arrived on summit day. But to answer your question, it wasn't crowded by any standard. Of course, this was before it got it's recent distinction as the "Death Route" of the PNW. rolleyes.gif

 

As an aside, we caught up with the group of two from Colorado, and ended up "rescuing" them. They were in over their heads, and they confessed this to us in those exact words. They had spent a night at 12,000 or so, just below the Black Pyramid, in an open, sitting bivy (they chopped "butt holes" into the slope). The other group of two joined up with us as well, as one of their members was getting lethargic and light-headed. AMS was the diagnosis (coming from sea level in CA to MRNP in a day), but he was not convinced to descend until after he summitted. We privately discussed the scenario among our group, and determined that we were obligated, as the only "fit" team on the route, to stay with them. We ended up short-roping them all up to us and putting them on the summit, then we descended to start the chopper exfil (that's another story all by itself!). It took us 26 hours from Thumb Rock, to the LC summit, then down the Emmons and Inter to White River CG, with four souls in tow on the ascent. All in all, a memorable way to spend Memorial Day. smirk.gif

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