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savaiusini

Liberty Ridge: 6/13-14

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Made a trip up Liberty Ridge with 3 friends. Left WRCG at 9am after meeting a team of 3 kids who had just driven all night from Utah. From the looks of it, they were going to have themselves an epic. It didn't appear that either of them had any 2nd tools. However, they did have a rubber mallet to "slam those pickets in real good." (No joke) [Eek!] My team looked at one another, and cringed. They also said they had no map OR any previous experience on Rainier. [hell no] My partner, Jon loaned them a spare topo and gave them his address for its return. We wished them the good luck they were going to need and we were on our way.

 

We made it out to the Carbon in pretty good time. The Glacier was in excellent shape and the line was obvious to the base of the ridge. We traveled as 2 rope teams of two on 2 30 meter ropes. The first 500ft. of the lower ridge was melted-out and made for some interesting maneuvers before we made it back onto the snow. Please Note: there are a couple places before you get to Thumb Rock where there is running water! Finish any extra water you may have left, and fill-up here! The water is quite "grit-free." [Wink] We arrived at a deserted Thumb Rock around 6:30pm. Several nice platforms had already been made by previous parties and we were in bed quickly thanks to very little need to melt snow.

 

We were on route by 6:30am, traveling solo due to excellent footing. Some rock fall on the initial climb out of camp (leftmost variation). We were greeted with a short-lived ice pellet squall to make things interesting. At about 12,400 we roped-up and started running belays up the face to the top of the Black Pyramid. The snow was mostly a couple inches of rotten sugar over very hard, sometimes black, ice. Those boys from Utah weren't going to be needing that rubber mallet. Screws were the only choice and the placements were bomber! We saw 3 busted tent poles strewn about on the face. Why they stopped here and didn't go rocketing down the mountain, I just don't know! My guess is that they were remnants of the fatalities up there a couple weeks ago. [Confused]

 

After a short food break, we were on our way to the final pitch up the bergschrund. Nice, steep water ice here with a short traverse under a tiny ice cliff. My partner Jeromy, who lead this part, actually broke the pick on his KONG aluminum axe and finished the pitch with his CM Axar. The purple pick, which I'm sure is still stuck in the ice, stands as a reminder: Aluminum headed axes don't do well on bulletproof ice.

 

At Liberty Cap we were greeted by mostly clear skies and 40mph winds. By the time we were heading across the plateau and slightly up the summit cone, we were engulfed in a lenticular. We bumbled around for close to 2 hours (seemed like forever) in the cloud, looking for a way down. Most directions we headed seemed to put us above big gaping 'schrunds. We were about 5 minutes from giving up and heading to the crater for an epic night in high winds, when the clouds broke and we could see our line, even a wand about 300 feet below. Our senses did us well as were not far off route.

 

We left Camp Schurman at about 9:30pm under clear skies and crescent moon, climbing the gully to the top of the Prow.

Dinner at Shari's in Renton at 2am. [big Grin]

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right-on, good to hear you scored good conditions, and had a good time. sounds as though the route has changed a bit from a month ago, and i'm sure alot different from your ski descent a few years ago. again congrats on a fun trip... hope those utah dudes are o.k.... its funny, after i posted a tr for this climb earlier, i recieved some pm's from some dude from utah, wonder if its the same dude? anyway 2 days from white river sounds like a nice pace. i remember being pretty hashed from the ipsut 2 day program.

[big Drink] heres to ya!

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Don't get me wrong...Those guys from Utah could have very well pulled it off. Utah can have some great ice climbing! I've just never heard of a rubber mallet being used for those purposes. [Wazzup]

 

Maybe Mike G. can let us know how they did from the sign-out records. I'd be curious. Not to mention, they better send my partner's topo back. That thing was pristinely laminated! [Wink]

 

[ 06-16-2002, 10:26 PM: Message edited by: savaiusini ]

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We left Curtis Ridge at 4:00 am and got to Thumb Rock at 8:00 where the 3 guys from "Utah" were. Actually there were from the east coast. We stayed at Thumb Rock for an hour and then headed out about 9 am and caught those guys below the black pyramid. We also caught up to the other party (group of 4 above) who had left a couple of hours before us and got stuck behind them at the ice cap. They stopped midway on the ice pitch to belay- I'm not sure why considering you could simul-climb this to the upper snow slopes leading to the summit. It was pretty annoying since we had to wait for them to finish while the winds and snow were blowing. We made it to the top and climbed to Columbia crest. The other 3 guys were following us- it seemed they had no clue how to get off! We lost them in the clouds and we waited on the rim for 10-15 minutes but didn't see them. Hopefully they made it off ok! Overall, a great trip!

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The guys we met were definitely from Utah. (Saw them drive in, Utah plates, said they drove all night from SLC, etc.) Looked like Utah, smelled like Utah....must be Utah?! [big Grin]

Did you see the rubber mallet? [Wazzup]

 

[ 06-17-2002, 07:44 AM: Message edited by: savaiusini ]

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quote:

Originally posted by savaiusini:

Maybe Mike G. can let us know how they did from the sign-out records.

Does the Park Service at Rainier keep "sign-out records"? This is news to me.

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When we registered, the ranger was looking through sign out slips. I assume they keep them for route info/stats, etc. I could be wrong [big Drink]

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At Grand Teton NP, the climbing rangers have requested that I not sign out. It seems they use the registration to regulate the numbers of people camping in sensitive areas (like the Lower Saddle) and to locate climbing groups should a third party make inquiries. That's it. The MORA rangers could take a lesson in the friendly attitudes of other NP rangers, IMO. I caught major 'tude from ranger Steve Turner when I was last at Rainier.

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I have found the Teton climbing Rangers to be the best informed, coolest, and most service oriented rangers around.

 

While the MRNP guys have gotten WAY better in recent years, I seriously feel the Teton guys are heads above them. When you ask a climbing question (at Teton)...say about a route...you actually get an answer from an informed and experienced individual. [big Drink]

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Have to agree about the Teton NP rangers, some real world class climbers among them.

Just had to ask if savaiusini is a guide, or did they just quote his report verbatim on the climbing conditions page?

 

http://www.nps.gov/mora/climb/climb_cd.htm

 

Coming over to do LR this week, anyone willing to answer questions that may be too obvious for this forum?

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No, I'm not a guide. It looks like they took it pretty much verbatim, though. I am a pretty good acquaintance of the lead climbing ranger up there. If it was he that made the update, he probably felt he could trust the report. I don't know...not a big deal. [chubit]

Besides, everybody knows guides carry nitro, duh. [big Grin]

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