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BillBurning

partner for rainier liberty ridge

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I was recently denied my request for a solo permit on Liberty Ridge. I'm kinda relieved actually... Anyway, if anyone's interested in doing a very fast and light ascent of the ridge reply or e-mail me at owenbrown1@aol.com. I'll be in the area from about July 24th through August 10th or so, I'm flexible, but would prefer earlier than later if that works. I hope you're in good shape...

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On what grounds did they deny your request? I was under the impression that they could not deny such a request.

 

Several years ago, they gave me a permit and I had a great climb. Crossing the Carbon was a little worriesome, but I went in on a Sunday, when there were lots of fresh tracks from the day before, and I took it very carefully. Despite the obvious risk inherent in travelling unroped on glaciers, I believe Mount Rainier makes a good solo objective and all in all it is probably easier to climb it by yourself than with a partner. For one thing, the pack is lighter without a rope, and for another, you climb at your ideal pace -- a big plus for a long slog up a big hill.

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No kidding! August Liberty Ridge doesn't sound too appealing. I don't know your climbing experience but it is probably more extensive than mine. One thing I [smile] have learned however is research the route ie,,, time of year it is in shape and Mt. Rainier current conditions

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I climbed it July 15th during an average snow year and had excellent conditions top to bottom. As this is a greater than average snow year, I would expect conditions to remain decent into at least late July this year. Have either Rod X or Dan L been on the route recently (as in the last week or two)?

 

This is the sort of thing I see that bothers me. People making blanket statements without actual knowledge.

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Climber report says bring a high tolerance of risk. It's in late-season condition and there is serious rockfall hazard.

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quote:

Originally posted by danielpatricksmith:

As this is a greater than average snow year,

Mike Gauthier posted here a while ago that conditions above 8000' are just average this year. Just FYI.

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Although I can't speak about conditions in the last week or two, a month ago the ridge was getting pretty bare. Even though it was a bigger than normal snow year overall, the winds on the upper mountain last year must have been pretty crazy. When we climbed it (June 1-3), it was almost all old ice and neve with very little of this last year's snow on it. I've since read climbing reports from Gauthier that say most parties are experiencing significant amounts of rockfall at all times of the day and night, mainly due to the low snowcover on the ridge. There was a resuce a few weeks back after a guy was smacked on his way to thumb rock. It sounds to me like the route might be a little sketchy right now, but give Gator a ring and he could fill you in with the latest info.

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I suppose it all boils down to one's idea of what good conditons are. I encounted very serious rock fall below the Thumb but excellent ice above. If one wants to kick steps up the route, earlier is for sure better.

 

[ 07-18-2002, 09:00 AM: Message edited by: danielpatricksmith ]

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I'm with DPS on this. It all boils down to what you are ready for, and what expectations you may have. People say "the such and such route is no longer open" when there is a crevasse requiring one to climb down in and back out again, or "the liberty ridge is done for the year" when there is dirty bare ice around the Black Pyramid or the initial wall off the Carbon Glacier is exposed such that there is a nasty first pitch. But people DO climb the route in late season and the first ascent was made in September or October. I climbed it in late July of a year where there was a lot less snow than there is this year, and I did not find it to be unreasonable.

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I was there June 25-27. The Winthrop and Carbon were not at that time a serious issue although they opened substantially while we were there, and I expect you will have to routefind on the Carbon well beyond following the boottrack.

 

Liberty Ridge itself was completely melted out to Thumb Rock. There was a snowfield down to the Carbon from Thumb Rock on the west side of the ridge. Rockfall while we were there (a warm sunny day) occurred on 10 minute intervals and blanketed the snowfield. The party ahead of us (1 day ahead) had an injury from rockfall requiring a helo evac. We did not feel we could climb the 1500' of snowfiled in less than the 10 minute fall interval and judged the objective hazard of that option unacceptable.

 

We looked at several routes in which we would access the ridge lower down, either east or west side, Every option we observed and considered had a significant rockfall event during the time we observed it. Weather was predicted to deteriorate in a day or 2 (and it later did) which clinched it for us and we backed off. As someone who has to travel I'm waiting for next year.

 

The following day it was much cooler and the clouds were coming in (no sun). Rockfall was substantially diminished. Our judgment was that with an alpine start onto the ridge, in cooler weather, one might well be able to reach thumb rock without unacceptable rockfall hazard. Had weather not been predicted to go bad we probably would have camped on the upper carbon and listened and watched in the very early morning and made a judgment then.

 

The ridge looked OK above Thumb Rock, albeit icy rather than in snow.

 

For what it's worth, I was back in the park last week (with family, not climbing) and the ranger at White River said no one had got Lib Ridge since the events of late June. The weather was VERY warm.

 

General conditions on the mountain, the effect of the winter, and the condition of the route are well-described on the park's website.

 

Everyone has to judge for themselves how much hazard is acceptable. For us, a cold day and no sun, with good weather to follow, might have given an acceptable situation but we did not have this. I doubt it is any better now. Good luck if you head up there. Even if you bail out at the bottom, the upper carbon is a great trip. And on the return you can always peel off and climb the Emmons.

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I soloed to Camp Muir last weekend and overheard (from a very well equipped climber, he had several camalots) that Liberty Ridge is out for the season. If you inisist on climbing the "death route" this season, take a GPS and 10 essentials, you will be ok. Don't forget your permit and blue bag.

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>I soloed to Camp Muir last weekend and overheard >(from a very well equipped climber, he had >several camalots) that Liberty Ridge is out for >the season. If you inisist on climbing >the "death route" this season, take a GPS and 10 >essentials, you will be ok. Don't forget your >permit and blue bag.

 

Makes me almost want to climb it again.

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Alright, basically the gist of it was they didn't think I had enough glacier experience to solo, granted, most of my alpine climbing has been here in the San Juans in Colorado, but I have climbed in the cascades and got to around 17,000 feet on the Jamapa glacier on Orizaba solo, apparently this isn't enough. Really, I don't blame them with all the deaths and accidents and whatnot. Anyway, can anyone recommend another route with a significant amount of fun ice climbing that would be in good condition late season?

-Bill

Owenbrown1@aol.com

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quote:

Originally posted by danielpatricksmith:

I climbed it July 15th during an average snow year and had excellent conditions top to bottom. As this is a greater than average snow year, I would expect conditions to remain decent into at least late July this year. Have either Rod X or Dan L been on the route recently (as in the last week or two)?

 

This is the sort of thing I see that bothers me. People making blanket statements without actual knowledge.

Well I usually think route conditions report qualify a little more than a blanket statement I know your a very accomplished climber and no I haven't done L.Ridge I am to date a dog router and Rainier buff (hobby [smile] ist if you will) Really into facts about the mountain and its history not trying to sound like a know it all but it is out of condition DUDE also I hear your hair is greyer than mine ..hehehehehe

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I flew over Rainier today and looked as though the lower half of Lib. Ridge is all melted out and would be a war zone with all the warm temps. and melted out rocks. I did it a month ago when the freezing level was at 10,000' and had some good size rocks come whizzing by below Thumb Rock. Give it up for the season and do something else! I waited 4 years to finally get up it- have patience and go when it's good. Just my humble opinion.

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"got to around 17,000 feet on the Jamapa glacier on Orizaba solo"

 

That is signigantly eaisier that Lib Ridge on Rainier. First there is not any REAL crevase danger on Orizaba...just isn't. Second the route, the Jamapa glacier, is not that steep.

 

I wouldn't consider time on any the Mexican volcanos to be real galcier time. Not trying to be a tough guy or anything...but they just are active glaciers...at least any where near the level of Rainier's glaciers.

 

But if you've climbed in the cascades, at least on the volcanos, and some other peaks you can definetly develop the needed glacier expereince.

 

Curious did they say why the denied you, and or what the look for in approving a request?

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quote:

Originally posted by Rodchester:

 

Curious did they say why the denied you, and or what the look for in approving a request?[/QB]

large denomination currency accidentally falling out of your envelope to the NPS.

 

(I'm not entirely sure of the thinking behind the application process. If you're going to solo, you either: (a) have the requisite experience and skill to assess the risks yourself and can go for it without the District's head saying o.k.; or (b) do crazy shit no matter what people tell you, in which case you're probably not going to ask for permission from the Park Service's head beaurocrat. That being said, if I were going, I'd highly value the informal advice/opinion of rangers like M. Gauthier.)

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Personally, I think it's silly to not allow people to climb what they like, isn't this the backbone of climbing? Didn't Twight say something like climbing is so different than other sports because anyone can walk up to the hardest climbs in the world and attempt them? Anyway, I felt that I had the necessary experience to solo Rainier, and therefore they should have approved my request, but they, obviously decided what was best for ME, which is ultimately wrong. Anyway, I don't know, I believe in personal responsibility, and if you want to go solo some crazy shit, then you should be allowed to regardless of experience. I also believe that they shouldn't have to rescue you if you screw up and get hurt. Also, I only mentioned my experience on Orizaba to point out the fact that I have been at altitudes greater than 14,000 feet, on the NPS application it says, "Please list previous experience on glaciated peaks. Climbs involving glacier travel, altitude, and inclement weather will be viewed with favor." I encountered all of these on Orizaba...

Another factor they considered might have been my age, maybe they feel at 21 one doesn't have enough experience. I don't know, I worked as a climbing instructor and am an EMT, but apparently niether of these things matters much.

At anyrate, I found a partner for the trip and we'll be up there in a week. I'm psyched, still no one's recommended a route in better condition than Liberty Ridge that has ice climbing... maybe Nisqually(?) ice fall?

-Bill

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Dude you are scaring me. There is a book called mt. Rainier a Climbing guide by Big Mike Gauthier. It will let you know what is up that coupled with the NPS route conditions would be a good start in picking a route or you could just ask Daniel Patrick and he will let you know the conditions when he climbed it 2 years ago

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In my opnion the plumb routes look like Ptarmigan Ridge and Mowich faces. Just because the first guy before you could not do it does not mean you cannot.

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quote:

Originally posted by BillBurning:

I'm psyched, still no one's recommended a route in better condition than Liberty Ridge that has ice climbing... maybe Nisqually(?) ice fall?


Ptarmigan Ridge?

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