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liberty ridge may 10/11

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we arrived at the ipsut/carbon river enterance to the park around midnite on 10th. early friday we set out from the parking lot and hit the mostly snow covered trail towards the carbon glacier. few tracks on the trail and after the suspenson bridge less. lots of snow along the moraine above mystic lake. upon reaching lower curtis ridge, the weather had been playing games with us, big thick cloud cover then ripping apart to giveus head-on veiws of the magnificent north face of ranier, and lib ridge jutting out proudly.

we found our passage onto the carbon and roped up. there is alot of snow on this upper part of the glacier. navigation was intersting due to the

sporadic weather, and the breaking of trail memorable... we found a direct path as the weather

steadily improved. the position on the glacier here is spectacular... this is an amazing alpine cirque, with straight-on veiws into a big, rugged,

landscape of snow, "rock", and ice. we headed up towards willis wall and found a snow/ice slope on the east side of the ridge between themogenesis, and the toe of lib ridge proper, we crossed a small shrund and climbed up wonderful sno/ice towards the crest. once on the crest we crossed to the west side and followed it directly up to thumb rock passing good snow and short mixed steps

at thumb, we made camp under continued perfect skys and took in our position at this cool high camp. as the day faded away to nite the stars put on an amazing display under the moon-less sky.

the sky eventually brightened and the sun caught us breaking camp. we headed out left and up perfect slopes of frozen snow and ice, thru a chute and towards the crest below the black pyramid. as we ascended ,the slopes became more icy with beautiful exposure and straight forward climbing. at the pyramid we headed up and left to the major ice face on the upper east side of the ridge, this face was wildly exposed and sustained, with absolutly gorgeous bubbly blue and grey alpine ice. this section continued along and above the pyamid towards the seracs at the top of the face. when the angle eased a bit we moved right and scoped a passage above thru the seracs to liberty cap. the climbing here was more of the same quality with steeper steps over and thru the ice cliffs. when the last of the steep was climbed we cruzed up more ice to liberty cap.

on top we found the only wind so far on the climb and it was mellow, we headed along the northern edge of the plataeu to meet up with the emmonds glacier. we navigated thru the big yawners

and down mostly icy slopes with occasional snow patches. once below stemboat prow we met up with the winthrop glacier and continued down under st. elmo pass, the conditions were more postholing the lower we got with occasional jumps and weaving to avoid the cracks... after reaching the lower margin of the winthrop, we headed west to make camp near a stream and forest below and east of mystic lake. we crashed and slept-in the following morning enjoying mild nite-time temps and bright stars.

awaking again to perfect weather we broke camp and headed up and out to the lake, and up along to our trail at the moraines edge above the carbon. the area around the lake was spectacular, situated below dramatic cliffs, with full-on veiws of the climb, and the sweep of the eastern and northern aspects of this glacial-clad volcano.

back at the terminus of the carbon, we encounterd

more melted out conditions, and once over the bridge, a steady flow of mothers day hikers, asking if we had made it to the glacier?.. you could say that, i guess.

this climb epitoizes the term "classic", and for those alpinists seeking a big, exposed ice climb in a incredibly powerfull position, in the heart of mt. raniers north face, look no further, cause liberty ridge delivers!

and for full value do it "off the couch", with two screws, and dull tools...oops... sans sousie!

thanx, mike gauthier for the condition reports, enthusiasm, and stoke along the way!!

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