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Liberty Ridge 

AI2-3 Steep Snow

   
Type:  Ice, Snow, Alpine, 10500', Grade IV
Consensus: AI2 [details]
FA: Ome Daiber, Arnie Campbell and Jim Burrow - 1935
Season: May - June
Page Views: 27,020
Submitted By: Josh Garner on Jun 12, 2009

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Around the sround.

Description 

Approach via the White River Campground/Glacier Basin Trail and hike into the base of the ridge on the Carbon Glacier via St. Elmos Pass and across Curtis Ridge (most parties camp on Curtis Ridge). After negotiating the cracks on the Carbon Glacier, start scouting your access onto the ridge (either side can be accessed around 8000 ft). Climb 30-40 degree snow slopes and traverse scree and rocks up to Thumb Rock at 10,500 ft. From Thumb Rock, either go straight up a short ice pitch (70-80 degrees) in the center of a rock band, or traverse up and left/right around the cliff. From 11,000 to 12,000, stay on or near the crest of the ridge and climb increasingly steeper slopes and maybe a few icy sections up to 50 degrees. At 12k (Black Pyramid) go east (left) out onto the Willis Wall on exposed snow/ice faces up to 60 degrees. Climb several pitches of 50-60 degree ice and negotiate steep glacier travel until gaining the Liberty Cap Glacier around 13,500 ft. Seasonal bridges and icy ledges provide passage up onto the glacier - be prepared to climb a few short (5-8 ft) vertical ice sections to surpass the bergschrund and other cracks. Once through, the slope angle decreases until the Liberty Cap summit is reached at 14,112 ft. Either head down from here or go across the broad plateau to a col (13,600 ft) and then on to Columbia Crest at 14,411 ft. Many parties descend the well-traveled Emmons-Winthrop route down to Camp Shurman.


Protection 

4-6 screws and a few pickets



Photos of Liberty Ridge Slideshow Add Photo
The Liberty Wall calves a McMansion-sized serac and plumes of snow rise from its path. <br /> <br />Definitely one of the most humbling experiences of my climbing adventures!
The Liberty Wall calves a McMansion-sized serac an...
i love this stuff!  beautiful
i love this stuff! beautiful
Awesome pic of climbers at the bergschrund / top of the ridge... gotta zoom  in to see them. (taken from Mount Rainer Climbing Rangers, June 2011)
BETA PHOTO: Awesome pic of climbers at the bergschrund / top o...
winter wonder land on the Winthrop. This is on the approach, after Camp Schurman and before Curtis Ridge.
winter wonder land on the Winthrop. This is on the...
Intricate crossing of Carbon gl. - 06/29/2013
BETA PHOTO: Intricate crossing of Carbon gl. - 06/29/2013
bivy ~11k.  Fits 2 person tent perfectly but is exposed.
BETA PHOTO: bivy ~11k. Fits 2 person tent perfectly but is ex...
Enjoying the corn on the Inter Glacier after carrying over Liberty Ridge (5-24-09).
Enjoying the corn on the Inter Glacier after carry...
Liberty Ridge from Curtis Ridge. July 01, 2009 -- snow's gone up to Thumb Rock.
Liberty Ridge from Curtis Ridge. July 01, 2009 -- ...
Early season looking SE onto the Carbon Glacier from Liberty Ridge at 12,000ft.  <br /> <br />Curtis Ridge spans the right side of the photo. Be sure to exit Curtis Ridge onto Carbon Glacier at a weakness around 7500ft.
BETA PHOTO: Early season looking SE onto the Carbon Glacier fr...
Steep snow above Thumb Rock (5-23-09).
Steep snow above Thumb Rock (5-23-09).
Coming up the ice before the bergschrund
Coming up the ice before the bergschrund
Scott Bell taking a break below the Black Pyramid (5-23-09)
Scott Bell taking a break below the Black Pyramid ...
Pete Lardy crossing the Carbon near the toe of Lib Ridge.
BETA PHOTO: Pete Lardy crossing the Carbon near the toe of Lib...
Crossing the bergschrund before the final ice pitches to Liberty cap.
Crossing the bergschrund before the final ice pitc...
Exploring the lower Carbon Glacier.  June 2012
Exploring the lower Carbon Glacier. June 2012
Coming over the "rock step" at dawn in spring conditions on June 3rd
Coming over the "rock step" at dawn in spring cond...
On the Lib cap. The shrund took the lense. <br />06/30/2013.
BETA PHOTO: On the Lib cap. The shrund took the lense.
06/30/2...
View of the route from Curtis Ridge
BETA PHOTO: View of the route from Curtis Ridge
At the Thumb rock high camp. 06/30/2013.
BETA PHOTO: At the Thumb rock high camp. 06/30/2013.
On the lower ridge, below thumb rock.
On the lower ridge, below thumb rock.
Near the Black Pyramid/Shield.  Photo By John  <br />
Near the Black Pyramid/Shield. Photo By John
View from Curtis Ridge. We ended up way high on the ridge and rappelled down to the glacier (instead of walking forever to find a weakness) off some huge rock. it was already set up with a heap of cord and webbing. You can see guy in green rigging the rappel. Late May, 2009
View from Curtis Ridge. We ended up way high on th...
In the black ice paradise of the Liberty cap
BETA PHOTO: In the black ice paradise of the Liberty cap
1st ice pitch above the Black Pyramid on 6/26/09.
1st ice pitch above the Black Pyramid on 6/26/09.
the carbon glacier was pretty melted out.
the carbon glacier was pretty melted out.
shrund
shrund
Schrund!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <br /> <br />
Schrund!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...
Final ice pitch before reaching Liberty Cap (above the schrund) on 6/26/09.
Final ice pitch before reaching Liberty Cap (above...
Light and fast at the Thumb rock high camp. 06/30/2013.
BETA PHOTO: Light and fast at the Thumb rock high camp. 06/30/...
late season (July 28, 2012)
BETA PHOTO: late season (July 28, 2012)
Above Black Pyramid at 13700'. 06/30/2013.
BETA PHOTO: Above Black Pyramid at 13700'. 06/30/2013.
View of the ridge from the carbon glacier.
BETA PHOTO: View of the ridge from the carbon glacier.
On the Lib cap summit. 06/30/2013.
BETA PHOTO: On the Lib cap summit. 06/30/2013.
Camp at Thumb Rock (Late June/09')
Camp at Thumb Rock (Late June/09')
Myself getting over the Liberty shrund
Myself getting over the Liberty shrund
The final ice pitches as we entered into a white out.
The final ice pitches as we entered into a white o...
view of Liberty Ridge from camp Curtis
view of Liberty Ridge from camp Curtis
Comments on Liberty Ridge Add Comment
Show which comments
By Martin le Roux
From: Superior, CO
Jun 21, 2011

Beware of loose rock on the lower part of the ridge, especially after the snow cover melts later in the season. We were almost taken out by rockfall when crossing from the Carbon Glacier onto the ridge.

Otherwise it's a great route, although some of the slope angles in the above description may be exaggerated. I don't remember anything in excess of 60 degrees except for a short section at the bergscrund near the top.

By Curt Nelson
From: Fort Collins, CO
Jul 8, 2011
rating: AI2-3 Steep Snow

20 hours? Car to car! That's friggin awesome Phil.

By Oliver Deshler
Jun 23, 2012

Likely new ski descent off Liberty Ridge (from the ridge into thermogenesis.)

county5.blogspot.com/2012/06/liberty-ridge.html

By Portwood
From: Your moms house last night
Oct 8, 2012
rating: WI2 Steep Snow

By Alissa Doherty
From: Boston, MA
Jul 11, 2013

Warm conditions can make the lower portion of the ridge very difficult to navigate. You should be able to gain Thumb Rock with minimal rock/scree traverses. If climbing sustained choss, back off or find another gully (best entry is on the West side).

By Jon Nelson
Administrator
Jun 5, 2014

Thanks for pointing this out Jikimika.

There is a bug in the averaging algorithm when two grade types are used. In this case, some people use WI and some use AI. The site guru is working on it.

(Update June 10: Now fixed. Thanks to the site manager who is constantly improving things.)

But in the meantime, is WI appropriate here? I haven't been on the route, but I would guess that most of the ice is year-round.

By Don Morris
From: Denver, CO
Jul 2, 2014

After mounting Liberty Cap with high winds, blowing snow and/or poor visibility it may be difficult to see entry point on to the Emmons glacier. Do not go too low towards the Winthrop glacier. Stay around 13,500 feet until you find a moderate entry point onto Emmons.