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Reinhart

[TR] Rainier - 10 Memorial Day Summits via Liberty Ridge 5/29/2007

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Trip: Rainier - 10 Memorial Day Summits via Liberty Ridge

 

Date: 5/29/2007

 

Trip Report:

There were 10 summits via Liberty Ridge on Monday - two three person teams and two two person teams. All of the teams camped at Thumb Rock on Sunday night and then summitted. The conditions were good overall varying between firm snow and ice. There was no sign of anyone else previously on the route, so all new steps had to be kicked in. Anyone heading up this week will have a stairway straight to the top. From Thumb Rock, all four parties started out left and climbed at a similar pace all day. With all of the trail blazing it took about 10 hours just to get to the bergshrund. There is a couple foot wide snow bridge currently making passage fairly easy. My two person team went unprotected to the bergshrund (though there were many times that protection would have been nice!!), then placed pickets and screws as needed over to the ice and up from there. The ice is in good condition, but steeper and longer than we had expected. The general consensus was that it was over 80 feet at over 60 degrees, but I'm never any good at guessing that. I'd say that a team should bring a minimum of 2 screws per person and a picket per person. I've attached a couple of pictures so that people can decide for themselves what to bring. The crux of the climb was definitely from the bergshrund to a hundred feet or so above the ice wall. The weather was perfect on Monday and given that it took over 12 hours to top out, three of the teams spent a glorious night on the summit saddle.

Liberty_Ridge_079.jpgLiberty_Ridge_096.jpgLiberty_Ridge_095.jpgLiberty_Ridge_103.jpg

 

Gear Notes:

70 cm ice axe, 50 cm ice tool, two screws per person, one picket per person. Whoever leads the ice will want two tools.

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I remember looking over from Ptarmigan watching the a congo line going up LR. Something like 18 people. So for only 10 people on a holiday weekend I would say it was a wilderness experience. There were only 6 including us when we were on it and that was a couple of decades ago.

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Cool pics guys!

It looks like you had fun.

That route is awesome!

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Good Job everyone!

We left from the car on Friday at noon to climb Liberty Ridge. There was a Russian team of 4 and our team of 3. The temps were high and the snow was soft. We could see the footprints from the party that climbed the route in early May, but there was no boot track to ease the approach. We leap-frogged with the Russians all the way to the base of the ridge. The trail breaking was exhausting since we were the first ones out. The Russians climbed to Thumb Rock and turned around on Sunday due to very soft snow,rock-fall, and nasty looking lenticulars (which cleared!) Our party got off route and mislead a Portland team. We didn't have enough time budgeted to make a second shot at it - which is killing me since this trip report makes it sound like the conditions were great the next day!

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Matopis - I was part of the Portland team. Our fault for following you guys, but I think it worked out for the better. Sunday would have been our summit day and that day the winds looked wicked up top and clouds hung around the summit. Knowing us we would have gone for it anyway and been in pain. As it turned out, the weather on Monday was perfect - sunny, cold and basically no wind. Sorry that you guys didn't have another day to join the party.

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There was one guy from the Bay Area and his partner was from Seattle. Two from Portland, three from Salt Lake City and a three person guided team, but I never asked the clients where they were from.

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Oops, now that I think about it Tuesday was supposed to be their summit day. Again, congrats !

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Thanks for the pics and TR! You passed me and we chatted at the bottom of the Inter Glacier on your way out.

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Awesome TR!

 

How deep is the snow on the approach?

Any need for snowshoes?

Edited by Dave Maltz

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Doh....

 

Wishful thinking on my part. I see now that the roads are still closed, and that Chinook Pass isn't even scheduled to be plowed until June 5. Sigh...

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