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[TR] Mt Rainer - Liberty Ridge 6/6/2013

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Trip: Mt Rainer - Liberty Ridge


Date: 6/6/2013


Trip Report:

Climbing Mt Rainer via Liberty Ridge has been on my “bucket list” for many years. The stars aligned, weather cooperated and the “mountain gods” granted safe passage to the summit on June 6th 2013. Bill Hecker and Tony Cameron were my climbing partners, from the Tacoma Mountaineers. We saw the weather window we wanted and departed June 3rd. We could not get a permit for Thumb Rock, so we moved the itinerary forward 24 hrs. and returned the following day. Permit in hand, chomping at the bit, we hiked to Glacier Basin and over St Elmo’s Pass. We crossed the Winthrop Glacier, to the first nights camp on Curtis Ridge. This was a bit of a slog with warm temps and high freezing levels, but there was good coverage on the glaciers. We broke camp at 6 AM and made our way to Thumb Rock camp by 1 PM. There we were greeted by Matt and Ann, who flew out from Hartford CT to climb LR. There was just enough room for two more tents on our perched bivy. Willis Wall and Liberty Wall were calving ice avalanches and rock fall throughout the day. This was very intimidating! We got some good video of a spectacular debris cloud from a massive ice fall. After hydrating and fueling up everyone was horizontal by 7 for a midnight get up. I woke up to Matt and Ann singing “Happy Birthday” on my 60th b day. We left about 45 minutes after them, climbing the east face variation on Willis Wall side. We stayed close to the rock following a boot track. At the base of the Black Pyramid 12,400’ we traversed towards Willis Wall and up the exposed slope where we got into hard ice. We belayed and simul climbed until the angle decreased at 13,000’. Three screws between us was not enough but we made it work. We climbed more ice on the left side of bergschrund, and gained the summit. This was mostly grade II alpine ice, with exposure that took screws fairly well. It was a blue bird day with 20 mph wind on top. We descended the Emmons route for a slog fest to Camp Schurman, ending a 16 hour day. The winds were rising and woke up to blowing and gusts of 30 mph. The following days forecasted winds on the summit were 85 mph! Definitely hit the weather window. We broke camp at 7 AM and arrived at the TH by 10. Matt and Ann, who were always 45 minutes ahead of us, provided chips, salsa & beer at the cars. What a blessing to be alive for 60 years, summiting a “classic climb” on my 60th birthday and be with great climbing partners. The “mountain gods” did indeed, smile upon us.




Gear Notes:

Grivel Evo piolet 2nd tool, 1 screw, 1 picket


Approach Notes:

White River CG, St Elmo Pass

Edited by mbabare

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I will send this TR to Anne and Matt. The CT crew are fine folks.


Great job. I'll never forget summitting Rainier on my 50th birthday in shirtsleeves weather.


I was nervous all day hoping that you all knew that the winds were coming in.

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Nice trip report - you cheated the Wind Gods, and did a great job sneaking in between with the right window, Awesome, and congratulations! You are the envy of the many. :brew:

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