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[TR] Rainier - Liberty Ridge 5/5/2007


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Trip: Rainier - Liberty Ridge


Date: 5/5/2007


Trip Report:

Here is an old TR I meant to post a long time ago. Chris, Chad and I met up on Wednesday night and headed down to the White River campground. Being early season, we slept in the parking lot with no one around. It sure beat having to get up really early and drive all the way down then start the approach.


Day 1:

We grabbed our permits in the morning and headed up the traditional approach to St. Elmo’s pass. We continued west with the plan of sleeping near the carbon glacier to acclimatize a little. We found dry ground and rocks and decided to forgo the tent and just had an open air bivy. We spent the day looking up at the route, and watching the huge seracs falling down the Willis Wall. To top it off, we were treated to a spectacular sunset and sunrise.


Day 2:

In the morning, we headed down a little to access the carbon glacier and then up towards liberty ridge itself. After negotiating a few crevasses, we headed up the beginning of liberty ridge. The temperatures were starting to warm a little and there was some rock fall coming down the face as we continued up the right side of the ridge. As the day progressed, more and more clouds were rolling in, making us fairly nervous about our summit plans. There were several other teams camped out at thumb rock and most of the afternoon was spent discussing the weather and sharing a large tub of Nutella that we found under a rock. We headed to bed early with the hopes of getting going at about 1 AM. During the night, I was awakened with the nearly constant sounds of rock and serac fall coming down Willis Wall. At one point some baseball sized rocks actually came raining down on our tent, hitting me in the arm.


Day 3:

We were first out of the camp at thumb rock in the morning and tried to first head up to the short steps of water ice right above the thumb. The ice was pretty low in quality, so instead we came back down and headed out left. The route seemed to have about every type of condition from powdery snow, hard packed snow, good ice, rotten ice, rotten rock, etc. We essentially simul-soloed most of the route, occasionally placing a few pieces of gear when the ice was starting to look rotten. Sunrise found us on the black pyramid, which is essentially the same as the route below, but it adds some exposure. As the angle eased, we came to a large burgschrund that separated us from the final ice section. We crossed the burgschrund, and that is when the wind and clouds began to descend on us. We simul-climbed the ~250ft. ice section placing a few screws along the way. By the time we hit liberty cap, visibility was about 30 feet and the winds were howling. We started walking towards the Emmons glacier, the ropes floating between us as we went. Even though I wanted badly to summit, we knew it was a bad idea due to the conditions. We headed down the Emmons and after descending about 2000 feet, we had clear views all the way down to camp Sherman. The temperatures down low were quite warm, causing sloppy snow all the way down to the rangers hut.


We took a break and hiked the rest of the way out to the car. Although we were exhausted, we made our way back to Seattle and to some fabulous beer and burgers.
































Gear Notes:

About 4-5 screws, 3 pickets, one axe, one tool.


Approach Notes:

See da map.

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  • 2 years later...

ADKman is correct. Camped at the parking lot, hiked to the carbon and camped, climbed to thumb and camped, summit and back to the car. Summit day was 5/5 if I remember correctly. We had a perfect weather window with the only downside being that the snow was like walking in a bathtub full of mashed potatoes.



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