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danhelmstadter

[TR] Mt. Rainier - Liberty Ridge 7/7/2010

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Trip: Mt. Rainier - Liberty Ridge

 

Date: 7/7/2010

 

Trip Report:

Plans were made with great excitment, anticipation, and some anxiety. Us skiier type Washontonians have suffered greatly this spring, clouds, rain, clouds, rain, finally sun and warmth have arrived, so Eric Wehrly, Casey Ruff, Antonio Jenkins and I developed a plan to make the most of the few days of good north-side ski weather in the forecast.

 

2051277360103935217ZHNLhl_ph.jpg.26ae800e94f288e9e9fc97322ca6547b.jpg

 

The approach went smoothly, although warmly -- our plans to get an alpine start were dashed becasue self registration is no longer available and we had to wait till the ranger station opened. Camp was bueatiful - too bueatiful, the kind of sweet bueaty that once tasted becomes adictive, and the bitter thought of returning to the city for drudgery a dismal reality - although the thought of return was comforting, since we were there to ski Liberty Ridge, which we could see quite clearly from our camp, it's dramatic bueaty and asthetics jutting out at the top from 500' vertical ice cliffs, then slopeing bueatifully away from the 5000' wall of choss and destruction on either side to meet the notorious Carbon Glacier. It was a sight to behold, although not to closely, for it is one thing to look at such a sight, and another thing to meddle with the power that it possesses.

We crossed the Carbon roped in the early hours of morning, the route being fairly direct, although some end running of giant cracks were nessecary, includeing the shrund at the base of the route, which had to be circumvented in a way that exposed us to possible enileation from the Liberty Ice Cliff.

 

2731922730103935217hTJDXj_ph.thumb.jpg.a2237f4bb425588b4f5c6c34a39e428c.jpg

 

The slopes to Thumb Rock were glowing in pink dawn, the climbing firm, the rockfall - sparse. At Thumb Rock we bumped into Hannah and Aton who were climbing LB and skiing the Emmons in a push. Funny how Hannah seems to live on Rainier...

Continueing up, we eventually encountered some ice, I opted to traverse around on slopes to the right to scout out an ice free descent line, while Tony, Eric, and Casey continued up the direct route. We regrouped on the steep slopes near the Black Pyramid. The wind began to pick up and whipped spindrift at our burned and burdened bodies. Some more ice became exposed but we found a snow rotue.

We breaked to melt some water on the flats just below the bergshrund, I was feeling ok, and stoked to reach the summit, but my compadres were suffering from altitude and fatigue. After talk of plans I set off for the summit alone. There was an short bowl above the bergshrund held several ice steps -- which were fun to climb. Above the bowl it was a short slog to the summit where I bumped into Aton and Hannah again, they were quite stoked and their energy was contagious.

2215429570103935217LEZDSN_ph.jpg.5921802ffacda8bb82f4d1203b6c66be.jpg

 

 

The skiing off the Liberty Cap was excellant, I did take the skis off and downclimb the ice steps in the bowl around the shrund, perhaps they could be skiied on a hotter day, but I was sticking to my plan, and had saftey foremost in my mind since I was alone, and the margin for error or accident on LB quite slim. The ski on the falts to the roll of the "sheild" was variable but a nice warm up for the serious nature of the turns below.

The steep turns on the "sheild" (the slope to the climbers left of the black pyramid) were unforgettable -- turn breath turn breath, five thousand feet of cliffs below, the snow surface a winterlike windboard, edges gaining little purchase on the scoured 50dg slope. I saw that the Eric, Tony, and Casey had skiied down and to the right, I decided to ski the route I had climbed (the variation that goes onto the Liberty Wall below the black pyramid.) The entrance was thin snow over ice, then ripper variable, there was some sugar, some wettening snow, some powder, yes July powder in the sunshine. I regained our bootpack at a point before we had encountered the ice, and skiied a steep gully that dropped towrds the Willis Wall side of the ridge. The Lower slope below Thumb Rock was in slayer condition, and was redicoulsly fun to ski, near the bottom, I rejoined Casey, Tony and Eric, and we skiied crossed the shrund together dodgeing spicy rockfall, and makeing haste to clear the death zone of the Libety Ice Fall. Turns down the Carbon back to camp were excellant.

I did not take a helmut cam or many pictures. It felt more appropriate to be in the moment and concentrate on climbing and skiing rather than photography or documentaton, although I did still snap a few.

What a great trip in great company, great is not a good enough word.

 

Lookin down fall line below the Black Pyramid

2546387350103935217PIRjSX_ph.thumb.jpg.40ff15b1aba4afa684eafb57c51ce720.jpg

 

Eric skis a bridge

2916296660103935217RuALof_ph.jpg.5cb56f14df39b330cea722c2bc9ff36a.jpg

 

2032848180103935217owbVQN_ph.jpg.f2d6f83fd222e979610b161593ce6ccd.jpg

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Hell yeah! I bet you've had your eye on that for a while. Whenever you're around Lworth next we should go climb the N ridge of Stuart.

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Kick ass. Casey you're tearing it up now that you're not spending your summers in AK!

 

 

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Hell yeah Dan(and Co.)! Methodically slaying the demons, one by one! Looking forward to the next descent!

Edited by telemarker

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Dan: great descriptive efforts for an indescribably great (I also lack the words) trip!

 

a few of my pics.

N side of the big dog:

IMG_7612.JPG

 

Tony, w/ Dan in distance:

IMG_7634.JPG

Casey's first turns from c. 13K, below the icy 'schrund:

IMG_7646.JPG

More skiing. The first is Tony perched above the shield with 5K of exposure to the Carbon Glacier below:

IMG_7653.JPG

 

IMG_7664.JPG

 

IMG_7688.JPG

 

few more: Liberty Ridge pics

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It was awe inspiring climbing by your still visible ski turns. Fantastic effort. Curious how you passed thru the schrund below Thumb Rock to access the Carbon? No rap necessary?

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It was awe inspiring climbing by your still visible ski turns. Fantastic effort. Curious how you passed thru the schrund below Thumb Rock to access the Carbon? No rap necessary?

 

Thanks, yeah looking back on the route after we were down it was cool to see our tracks...there was a nice bridge on the west side of the ridge's toe that allowed us to ski the steep snow slope on the west side of the ridge and drop right onto the carbon. The large crack just beyond that was a little tricker...we had to head west for a ways (below liberty cap ice cliff) to some avy debris that had filled in the crack enough to allow us to ski over. Very scary to be below that ice cliff during the heat of the day (around 3 pm).

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...... Very scary to be below that ice cliff during the heat of the day (around 3 pm).

 

 

NO SHIT!!

 

You guys are my heros!! That's about the scariest line in the State....

 

 

VERY VERY sick sick work dudes... :rocken::rocken::rocken::rocken:

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Hey guys, great work skiing a sick route. :brew:

 

I skied Russell Glacier and lower Ptarmigan Ridge from its 10300 ft mini-summit yesterday, and saw a single fresh-looking ski track coming down Liberty Ridge. Secret sources stated that this was an IMG guide who skied it yesterday.

 

This photo gives an interesting perspective on the ski route:

RainierLibertyRidgeSkiTrack1200-14Jul2010.jpg

 

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Being shadowed...first Bona now this! Well, it's a guess, but I'm pretty sure. Great work, and good to see another taking advantage of the conditions!

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Liberty Ridge AVALANCHE: the Rainier climbing blog has aerial photos taken July 20 of a massive slab avalanche, stepping down to multiple bed surfaces, with crowns of several meters. Possibly triggered by rockfall from above?

 

It runs right through where the nice ski track is in the photo above. Scary to think that this was ready to let loose at any time underneath all the recent climbers and skiers!

 

slide1.jpg

 

slide3.jpg

 

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Damn! A group of us were at pt 10,300 on the Russell Glacier on the 18th. I remember looking at the ski tracks on Liberty Ridge. :crazy:

 

There was an open moat at the base of the ridge (below the slide) when we were there. Apparently the last support for that slab went away when the moat opened.

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yikes! that's really scary! looks like a WS-NR-D3-R4 ?

my guess is that the wet slab was triggered by a large and or high impact trigger, probably rockfall during the heat of the day/afternoon -- (nw aspect) -- that looks to be thumb rock on the left (10.8k)

2384777840103935217S425x425Q85.jpg(picture from the mt rainier climbing blog)

the telemetry from muir looks to be absent on the 19th & 20th, but here's a link to the sunrise data -- note the high temps at 6900' -- http://www.nwac.us/weatherdata/sunrise/10day/ it looks like the temprature peaked in the low 60s around 1pm for both the 19th & 20th, 10 degrees warmer than the 18th.

 

Edited by danhelmstadter

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