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jacemullen

Liberty Ridge May 21st?

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Me and my buddies are going to be flying out from the east coast in a week for our first shot at Rainier and we have our sights set on Liberty Ridge.

 

I'm having a hard time getting a read on what the snow is doing up there right now, it seems like there was a big, wet snow storm recently. How will that effect conditions? Are we looking at postholing the entire route? Should we start looking for other routes, and if so any recommendations for routes that will be in that still maintain some of the technical aspect? Or will there be a significant enough melt-freeze cycle that it will be perfect conditions the whole way up?

 

Thanks!

 

JM

 

[edited for clarity 5/14]

Edited by jacemullen

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Well first you better hope the White River Road is open. Current schedule is for May 23 but that could change. A wet snow could do anything - all depends on the weather between now and then. As for other routes, yes best to have alternatives, as well as other places to climb as May is a real crap shoot.

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If the White River gate isn't open you'll have a long approach for Lib RIdge...Your best bet for access is from Paradise- I might be going up and down via The Fuhrer Finger in the next week- I'll let ya know what conditions are if this trip flies...If you're looking to swing the tools on that side of the mountain there are some shorter technical sections around the Kautz Glacier, Kautz Headwall.

 

There are others who have been up Rainier a lot more than I, but from my experience the upper part of the mountain (10,000+) is usually wind blown or firm, so postholing isn't a concern on the way up, however if it warms up you might have a different story to tell in the afternoon.

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If the White River gate isn't open you'll have a long approach for Lib RIdge...Your best bet for access is from Paradise-

 

I've approached Curtis Ridge and Ptarmigan Ridge via White River Road several times in winter and early spring. The road to White River trailhead is plowed in two phases. The stretch from HWY 410 to White River Road will most likely be plowed when your trip is planned, leaving about 5.5 miles of road to the White River Trailhead. If this is the case, then riding bicycles is a very efficient way to make the approach. The White River road is mostly flat and can be biked in short order.

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If the White River gate isn't open you'll have a long approach for Lib RIdge...Your best bet for access is from Paradise-

 

I've approached Curtis Ridge and Ptarmigan Ridge via White River Road several times in winter and early spring. The road to White River trailhead is plowed in two phases. The stretch from HWY 410 to White River Road will most likely be plowed when your trip is planned, leaving about 5.5 miles of road to the White River Trailhead. If this is the case, then riding bicycles is a very efficient way to make the approach. The White River road is mostly flat and can be biked in short order.

 

Yeah, it's quite a surprise to be coming back out of there on skis and find that someone plowed half of the road you were planning on gliding down back to the car. :/

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If the White River gate isn't open you'll have a long approach for Lib RIdge...Your best bet for access is from Paradise-

 

I've approached Curtis Ridge and Ptarmigan Ridge via White River Road several times in winter and early spring. The road to White River trailhead is plowed in two phases. The stretch from HWY 410 to White River Road will most likely be plowed when your trip is planned, leaving about 5.5 miles of road to the White River Trailhead. If this is the case, then riding bicycles is a very efficient way to make the approach. The White River road is mostly flat and can be biked in short order.

 

Yeah, it's quite a surprise to be coming back out of there on skis and find that someone plowed half of the road you were planning on gliding down back to the car. :/

 

The highlight of the trip was hearing the straps on your back pack snapping under the added weight of your skis.

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