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Fuggedaboudit

Liberty Ridge 6/8/06

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Here is a copy of my entry of this climb that I posted on Summitpost. I'll add some pictures next week.

 

First- THANKS to David G. Climbing Ranger at Schurman for the kind words and the offer of water and some food after our descent Friday.

 

Second- I'm posting this because I wanted to make sure that nobody else does what we did, follow a lonely set of footsteps off route when your already tired and moving too slow and go up and into harder climbing to the right when there is an easier snow ramp somewhere off to the left. Overall the route is in great shape, with deep steps kicked in for lots of the route, just some parts the deeper snow becomes a negative.

 

Third- there were two strong climbers who came up after us the next morning the same way (Friday 6/9 around 12PM) from Montana. If you two read this, am I crazy or did we really do 500' of the top of the Liberty Wall?

 

Finally- thanks to the positive people on this site that I have gotten useful information from over the last few years.

 

Anyway, heres the post:

 

"Had flown out to try this route two previous years (in April 2005 and May 2004) and after pushing in from Ipsut entrance to Curtis Ridge camp but got weathered off mountain both times without setting foot on Ridge.

 

This year topped out a bit off route on 6/8/06 at 8:30 PM after a very long day with partner Willy Nash. Exhausted and with light fading we camped about 200' below and 500 yards west of Liberty Cap. Lots of snow on the mountain made for slow travel. Day 1 camped at St. Elmo's Pass, day 2 camped on Carbon Glacier below Curtis Ridge, day 3 at Thumb Rock and day 4 on top of what I thought was Liberty Cap but actually turned out to be a subsidiary "cap".

 

Very draining day to get to top, belayed out about 10 pitches in total, and got off route above Black Pyramid.

 

Hardest climbing came ABOVE the Black Pyramid at about 13,500' when we got a bit off-route and veered over too far right (west) and ended up coming up onto a subsidiary "cap" that was about 200' lower and 200 yards west of Liberty Cap. I didnt realize this until a few days later looking at photos. Anyway that unexpected detour spiced things up- it involved a 50' high WI 3 pitch followed by a 100' 70 degree snow pitch. Very different climbing WI3 with 2 ice axes and pack at 13,500' totally exhausted. After that pitch I was psychologically out of gas, I looked at my partner and said "thats it, you have to lead the rest of this or we are bivying right here." Luckily the end of the difficulties was at the top of the steep snow pitch above. Also lost a picket about 3 hours above Thumb in the dark (slid into a crevasse we had belayed). When there was no ice or the ice was crap we had to do sitting body belays in snow backed up by axes (not very reassuring, especially on a single 8mm rope).

 

Encountered no rockfall but there were small avalanches going off on slope immediately to our right as we climbed above Thumb Rock in the dark, one of them sounded quite close. I would suggest you try going around to the left above Thumb if you climb in heavy snow conditions as we did. Thankful for the good weather which held all 5 days. Descended by traversing from Liberty Cap across Winthrop, picked up Emmons route about 11,500'. Met a strong pair of climbers from Texas, Brian and Kelly, you two are gentlemen."

 

Oh yeah: 4 16cm screws, 2 SMC pickets and 2 ice axes (1 66cm axe and 1 53cm w/ a hammer).

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OK, here are links to some photos that are in the "gallery" of this website. I still cant figure out how to actually add the photos here, if anyone knows how, please just add the pics here.

 

Glacier Basin looking at St. Elmo's Pass

 

http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/504/5561022_004-thumb.JPG

 

 

St. Elmo's Pass camp

 

http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/504/5561St-thumb.jpg

 

Traversing from St. Elmo's to Curtis Ridge

 

 

http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/504/5561Traversing_wintrop_towards_Curtis_Ridge-

 

Camp on the Carbon Glacier

 

http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/504/5561009_017-thumb.JPG

 

Nice view from the tent

 

http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/504/5561008_018-thumb.JPG

 

Good shot of the route as it looked 6/6/06

 

http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/504/5561LR_Route_from_Carbon_camp-thumb.jpg

 

Belaying Willy somewhere above the Black Pyramid

http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/504/5561Belaying_Willy_top_of_Black_Pyramid-thumb.jpg

 

 

Our camp below what I thought was Liberty Cap morning of day 5

 

http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/504/5561004_022-thumb.JPG

 

 

Willy and me about ready to head down, taken by those two guys from Montana

 

http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/504/5561Me_and_Willy_on_top_day_5-med.jpg

 

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OK, here are links to some photos that are in the "gallery" of this website. I still cant figure out how to actually add the photos here, if anyone knows how, please just add the pics here.

 

Glacier Basin looking at St. Elmo's Pass

 

5561022_004.JPG

 

 

St. Elmo's Pass camp

 

5561St.jpg

 

Traversing from St. Elmo's to Curtis Ridge

 

 

5561Traversing_wintrop_towards_Curtis_Ridge.jpg

 

Camp on the Carbon Glacier

 

5561009_017.JPG

 

Nice view from the tent

 

5561008_018.JPG

 

Good shot of the route as it looked 6/6/06

 

5561LR_Route_from_Carbon_camp.jpg

 

Belaying Willy somewhere above the Black Pyramid

 

5561Belaying_Willy_top_of_Black_Pyramid.jpg

 

 

Our camp below what I thought was Liberty Cap morning of day 5

 

5561004_022.JPG

 

 

Willy and me about ready to head down, taken by those two guys from Montana

 

5561Me_and_Willy_on_top_day_5.jpg

 

I guess I'm juvenile, but I find it funny to have a picture called "belaying willy". I think I've found a new phrase. I like it.

 

Glad you finally did it.

 

And got down, too!

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Great job, I am glad you finally got your summit! I just came off this route yesterday, so much snow has melted off and there was plenty of rock fall. There were a couple of obscure tracks, but it didn't look like it had been climbed for a while. We went left of the pyramid and climbed a snow bridge onto a 50-60 foot section of ice, placing two screws at the bottom. Great exposure, and then topped out. Sounds like your ascent was quite the adventure!

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