Route Information Links

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Little Tahoma 2015

August 30, 2015

It's getting to be that time of year where Little T is seeing substantially less climbing traffic.  Upper mountain terrain is becoming very featured and broken which results in substantially difficult terrain navigation and route finding.  As we move into the fall months, this climb is  becoming much more dangerous from objective hazard such as rock fall, ice fall, unstable snow bridges, decompensating plugs, and long deep crevasses that are difficult to navigate around.  It is highly recommended to wait until next climbing season to attempt these routes and allow the winter months to heal the current upper mountain conditions.


July 6, 2015


Looking towards the summit, and the medial shrund
on the upper Whitman Glacier
Looking down onto the Whitman Glacier from the
East Face, before the exit gully

Little Tahoma is offering some exceptional climbing lately.  Even with the recent warm weather, the Frying Pan Glacier and Whitman Glacier are holding up very nicely.  Both are very easy to navigate with minimal amount of crevasses opening up.  The upper Whitman on the East face of Little T has surprisingly few features, making for a fairly easy ascent.  Granted, there are a few small, but deep cracks opening on the medial portion of the face.  This shrund is easily navigable and can be skirted without much difficulty.  The upper snowfield is unbroken, and can be traveled without touching rock until the exit chute that traverses to the southern aspect which gains the summit proper.  Water can be found cascading over the cliff feature adjacent to the medial shrund on the upper Whitman Glacier on warmer days.  Again, with the warm weather, watch for rock fall and de-compensating snow bridges over crevasses.  Safe climbing! 






June 27, 2015

These pictures were taken from Upper Cowlitz Park on Saturday 6/27.  There still appears to be adequate snow on the East Face.  There are minimal signs of the mid-face bergschrund, which still appears passable with minimal route finding.  Although with the recent warm weather front moving through, expect substantial rock fall and opening of crevasses.



Curtis Ridge 2015

August 30, 2015

It's getting to be that time of year where the non standard routes (routes other than the highly traveled DC and Emmons) are seeing substantially less climbing traffic.  Upper mountain terrain is becoming very featured and broken which results in substantially difficult terrain navigation and route finding.  As we move into the fall months, these routes are becoming much more dangerous from objective hazard such as rock fall, ice fall, unstable snow bridges, decompensating plugs, and long deep crevasses that are difficult to navigate around.  It is highly recommended to wait until next climbing season to attempt these routes and allow the winter months to heal the current upper mountain conditions.

May 27th 2015

Central Bowl Russell Cliffs

Winthrop Glacier into a sea of clouds


Traversing the Winthrop at 11,300'
The approach to Russell Cliffs from Camp Schurman is approx. 1.75 miles. Wind loading of the Winthrop glacier created difficult travel with knee deep snow. The lower snow levels this season minimized the amount and location of access. The guide book describes making a traverse across the Winthrop at 12,000' to 12,500' A lower traverse was encountered at 11,300 with minimal crevasses.






Ascending the lower snow slopes of Russell Cliffs


  Ice Serac on the Winthrop

Where the Winthrop meets Curtis Ridge the glacier is very broken. Large ice serac and ice fall zones guard the access to the base of the ridge. Good route finding skills and good decision making are necessary to navigate this terrain safely and efficiently.
At the base of the Curtis Ridge after crossing this ice fall zone, there were several moat crossings encountered before reaching 45 degree snow slopes along the lower rock buttress.






Russell Cliffs, Mount Rainier National Park


Lower Rock Band

Above 12,300' the snow slope increasingly steepens to aprox. 60 degrees until reaching the cliffs.
There are two rock bands that have to be climbed to exit through the cliffs. Mixed conditions with frozen rock and ice were encountered at both rock bands.

The lower rock band was approx. 60' tall with good snow above to build an anchor. Rock and ice protection was minimal. Leaving the lower rock band and making a rising traverse to the climbers left will get you to the top rock band where you can exit the cliffs. Route finding along this traverse to the upper band is minimal. With good visibility most of the traverse is in view. The upper rock band wax approx. 10' tall with some dry tooling in easy terrain. After exiting the rock good ice for an anchor is approx. 60' up.










View after exiting the upper rock band with blue ice in the background
Upper Ice Pitch with crevasse crossings in snow patches, Russell Cliffs


Russell Cliffs as seen from the Emmons
The ice climbing above the cliffs is moderately angled with 30-40 degree slopes on solid blue ice. This ice section is approx. 400' with patches of drifted snow and a few hidden crevasses. This ice can be simul climbed or pitched depending on comfort and abilities.
The ice was very hard in brittle. Sharp tools and crampons made for easier climbing through this section.
The last 400' to the ridge summit of 13,800' Russell Cliffs is mostly wind scoured snow.






Inter Glacier 2015

July 23, 2015

The Inter Glacier is still holding strong against all the summer heat!

From Glacier Basin Camp there is no snow all the way to the base of the Inter. The first steep slope of the glacier is proving difficult for some teams, as it is composed mostly of ice currently. This type of ice can be challenging, as it is not truly ice climbing, but yet it is still quite steep. Some teams are finding that placing an ice screw or two as running protection has been helpful. There is still several small "fingers" of snow coming down that climbers may choose to access as well. There is a small sliver directly below the rock nunatek that several teams noted. However, this option is directly under a rock fall zone, so if you choose this path, put on the hard hats and keep an eye and ear up hill.

Above the first pressure ridge the glacier is actually in fairly typical shape for this time of year, with mostly snow. There are the typical crevasses on the Inter, so many parties are choosing to rope up for the trip to Schurman or Curtis.
The crossing from the Inter Glacier, at Camp Curtis to gain the Emmons is also entirely melted out right now, with some rockfall present. There is a good trail down through the dirt to get onto the glacier, however, this trail is quite loose and a little steep down near the Emmons. Please use caution as you descend this trail, as there is a substantial moat below. The Emmons itself to access Camp Schurman is in good shape, with a well beat in boot track leading right into camp.

Whether you are looking for a beautiful day trip, or you are coming up to climb, come enjoy this beautiful glacier scenery and say hello to the friendly climbing rangers!



June 24, 2015


From Upper Glacier Basin.


The inter glacier is still snow covered from top to bottom but the rest of the Glacier Basin area is melted out. Only one crevasse is currently open above the first rock island on climbers left. Some other crevasse are starting to show a few sagging areas on the upper inter but still have stable snow bridges.

The snow surface is getting pretty textured with suncups, however some smoother areas still exist and several parties have skied it recently

Upper Inter Conditions
With this weekends warm weather expect very soft conditions on your way up to Camp Schurman or the Steamboat Prow.













May 27, 2015

Even with all the high pressure and warm sunny days, the Inter Glacier is holding up nicely.  A small crack has opened up around 8350' directly above the isolated rock in the center of the glacier.  The upper portions are skiing quite nicely, but once you reach the first headwall above Glacier Basin, the snow becomes quite sticky.  If you are are traveling on foot, prepare to post-hole until you reach approx 8800'.  In Glacier Basin, there are scattered snow patches around the group campsite, but the snow doesn't really start until you are off the moraine, under the slope below St. Elmo's pass.  Again to avoid knee deep slush, it's best to get an early start.  Happy climbing!  Stay safe.  Stay smart.
-687
View of the Inter Glacier and St. Elmo's Pass from the group campsite.





5/21/2015

Inter glacier is holding up well for now. No exposed crevasses as of this posting, but keep an eye out. The snow does not quite reach the Glacier Basin trail (about 100 yards short). In the past week freezing levels have been around the top of the Inter and the snow has been wet and unconsolidated. The best travel conditions would be in the morning after a cool clear night.
-693

Ptarmigan Ridge 2015

August 30, 2015

It's getting to be that time of year where the non standard routes (routes other than the highly traveled DC and Emmons) are seeing substantially less climbing traffic.  Upper mountain terrain is becoming very featured and broken which results in substantially difficult terrain navigation and route finding.  As we move into the fall months, these routes are becoming much more dangerous from objective hazard such as rock fall, ice fall, unstable snow bridges, decompensating plugs, and long deep crevasses that are difficult to navigate around.  It is highly recommended to wait until next climbing season to attempt these routes and allow the winter months to heal the current upper mountain conditions.


June 22, 2015


Ptarmigan Ridge and Mowich Face August 10, 2015


Check out this post from June 21st.
http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1140448

Mowich Face 2015

August 30, 2015

It's getting to be that time of year where the non standard routes (routes other than the highly traveled DC and Emmons) are seeing substantially less climbing traffic.  Upper mountain terrain is becoming very featured and broken which results in substantially difficult terrain navigation and route finding.  As we move into the fall months, these routes are becoming much more dangerous from objective hazard such as rock fall, ice fall, unstable snow bridges, decompensating plugs, and long deep crevasses that are difficult to navigate around.  It is highly recommended to wait until next climbing season to attempt these routes and allow the winter months to heal the current upper mountain conditions.

Sunset Ridge and Amphitheater 2015

August 30, 2015

It's getting to be that time of year where the non standard routes (routes other than the highly traveled DC and Emmons) are seeing substantially less climbing traffic.  Upper mountain terrain is becoming very featured and broken which results in substantially difficult terrain navigation and route finding.  As we move into the fall months, these routes are becoming much more dangerous from objective hazard such as rock fall, ice fall, unstable snow bridges, decompensating plugs, and long deep crevasses that are difficult to navigate around.  It is highly recommended to wait until next climbing season to attempt these routes and allow the winter months to heal the current upper mountain conditions.


May 19-21 2015
Sunset Ridge and the upper Mowich Face
Climbing rangers patrolled in the Sunset Ridge area for three days this past week. Access was snow free from the Westside Road to Klapatche Park via the St.Andrews Creek Trail.

Snow conditions were less than ideal; slow, heavy, mid-shin to waist deep wallowing with an unsupportable crust. We retreated around about 10,200' due to poor snow and variable weather conditions.

Recent wet slide avalanche debris was plentiful as visible in the pictures below.
Crossing the Puyallyup and South Mowich Glaciers was straightforward with few open crevasse crossings. The central bridge on the upper South Mowich Glacier bergschrund is short lived, possibilities for passage exist to either end.

If and when the weather the conditions firm up Sunset Ridge looks like it might have a short but prime window this season.

-682 Tomlinson

Crossing the South Mowich Glacier
Just below the bergschrund ~9600'
Looking down over the South Mowich and Puyallup Glaciers

Tahoma Glacier 2015

August 30, 2015

It's getting to be that time of year where the non standard routes (routes other than the highly traveled DC and Emmons) are seeing substantially less climbing traffic.  Upper mountain terrain is becoming very featured and broken which results in substantially difficult terrain navigation and route finding.  As we move into the fall months, these routes are becoming much more dangerous from objective hazard such as rock fall, ice fall, unstable snow bridges, decompensating plugs, and long deep crevasses that are difficult to navigate around.  It is highly recommended to wait until next climbing season to attempt these routes and allow the winter months to heal the current upper mountain conditions.


June 24-27, 2015
Here are some route photos and a trip report from late June. Thanks Valerie for sharing.

View of the Tahoma Glacier from the Puyallup Cleaver 5/20/2015


Success Cleaver 2015

August 30, 2015

It's getting to be that time of year where the non standard routes (routes other than the highly traveled DC and Emmons) are seeing substantially less climbing traffic.  Upper mountain terrain is becoming very featured and broken which results in substantially difficult terrain navigation and route finding.  As we move into the fall months, these routes are becoming much more dangerous from objective hazard such as rock fall, ice fall, unstable snow bridges, decompensating plugs, and long deep crevasses that are difficult to navigate around.  It is highly recommended to wait until next climbing season to attempt these routes and allow the winter months to heal the current upper mountain conditions.


July 2, 2015


Currently, Success Cleaver has very little snow on both the lower and upper slopes of the route, but surprisingly still has relatively good climbing conditions.  The rock quality on this route is largely variable and ranges between high quality stable rock steps to largely unstable and slightly scary volcanic and glacial affected choss.  We encountered spotty snow patches on the lower Success Cleaver, between 7400’ and the exit col on the Kautz Cleaver.


It is worth noting that there is substantial rock fall along this entire route, and there are areas that require navigation through small sections of 5th class terrain with unstable rock quality.    As with the recent elevated freezing levels (15k-16.5k) there is a substantial amount of natural releases, so keep your head on a swivel and avoid debris gullies and travel one at a time in hazardous zones. 


There are bivy platforms located along the ridge up until about 10,600’ with the occasional snow patch and run-off for water. 


The snow on the upper portion of the route is largely sun affected and has transformed into fairly large penitents past the exit col on the Kautz Cleaver which provide surprisingly easy travel.  There are a few rock steps past this point that were verglassed, but still easily navigable with a single ice axe.


This is a very long but fulfilling route that leads you through multiple zones if starting from Longmire.  Be aware that the bugs are out in Indian Henry’s, but then again, so are the wild flowers.


As always, safe climbing, and especially watch for rock fall hazard on this route.



Kautz Cleaver 2015

August 30, 2015

It's getting to be that time of year where the non standard routes (routes other than the highly traveled DC and Emmons) are seeing substantially less climbing traffic.  Upper mountain terrain is becoming very featured and broken which results in substantially difficult terrain navigation and route finding.  As we move into the fall months, these routes are becoming much more dangerous from objective hazard such as rock fall, ice fall, unstable snow bridges, decompensating plugs, and long deep crevasses that are difficult to navigate around.  It is highly recommended to wait until next climbing season to attempt these routes and allow the winter months to heal the current upper mountain conditions.


June 10th


Over the past week with sunny skies and warm temperatures, climbing rangers were able to get out for a climbing patrol on the Kautz Cleaver.
Rangers found excellent conditions, with firm snow, and even some water ice despite the 15,000 foot freezing levels!

The approach for this long route begins at the Comet Falls trail head, approximately 4 miles from Longmire. The hike is a beautiful traverse through all of the eco-zones found in Mount Rainier National Park. Ranging from deep old growth forest, to eventually climbing into the alpine.







Rangers camped at 8,900 feet on the lower Wapowety Cleaver, where a nice bivy site provides dramatic views and running water. From the bivy site rangers found an easy crossing of the lower Kautz Glacier, and an easy, albeit steep, access point to gain the cleaver itself. Once on the broad base of the cleaver, rangers ascended a narrowing, 45 degree snow slope that ends in several large gendarmes. Presently, there is a small snow finger that provides access to the west edge of the cleaver, and access to the East Success Couloir. Rangers chose to follow the Kautz Cleaver as long as possible to avoid the rockfall hazard from the many rock bands on the upper slopes of Point Success, which frequently shed rocks down the Success Couloirs.

The cleaver runs into the steep upper slopes of Point Success up near 12,000 feet, and forces climbers onto the broad open slopes. Several rock bands need to be negotiated in this area. Both rock bands which rangers climbed through were relatively easy, with good hand holds, and small seeps of water ice, which would take an ice screw or two.

At approximately 12,900 feet there are several exit options to gain Point Success. One option traverses east and out onto the upper Kautz Glacier. This option provides a steep 45-50 degree snow traverse under large rock bands, above the Kautz Headwall. Rangers chose to traverse up and west through a small snow ramp to access the final rock band before the gentle slopes leading to the summit of Point Success. The rock band offers many options. Rangers chose a path which led to a small vertical chimney of rock and good ice.

For climbers looking for a moderate route, with sustained 45 degree snow slopes, and a remote feel, this is the route for you! Come on up and check it out before the sun melts it away!


Kautz Glacier 2015

August 30, 2015

It's getting to be that time of year where the non standard routes (routes other than the highly traveled DC and Emmons) are seeing substantially less climbing traffic.  Upper mountain terrain is becoming very featured and broken which results in substantially difficult terrain navigation and route finding.  As we move into the fall months, these routes are becoming much more dangerous from objective hazard such as rock fall, ice fall, unstable snow bridges, decompensating plugs, and long deep crevasses that are difficult to navigate around.  It is highly recommended to wait until next climbing season to attempt these routes and allow the winter months to heal the current upper mountain conditions.


July 31, 2015
Below Camp Hazard

With continued interest and many parties registering for Kautz Glacier climbs a Climbing Ranger Team made another assent of the route late last week. Conditions were largely unchanged from the previous post with two large 60m pitches of ice. The ice was still brittle and managing ice fall for your self and other parties on the route is a priority. With the current warm conditions the ice may be wet and sticky for current climbing.

For the most direct route trend to the right hand side of the upper ice pitch which will help you avoid a heavily crevassed area, and access the upper cirque. From the Wapowety cleaver cross a manageable ice jumble and traverse to intersect the current DC route at just under 13600ft.  Great route in a beautiful setting.

First Ice Pitch


July 22, 2015

Rangers did another patrol on the Kautz this last week.  Approaching through Van Trump Park via the Comet Falls Trail Head offered a nice gradual climb out of the forest and onto the route.  The unmaintained part of the trail, after turning off of Comet Falls, is easy to follow and well kicked in.  There's running water along this approach in multiple locations.

The "Upper Castle" rock formation on the ridge between the Wilson Glacier and Kautz Glaciers at 9600' offers multiple great tent sites.  There's running water here too - right at the base of the Turtle Snowfield.

Snow on the Turtle Snowfield is hanging around making for easy cramponing up to the short rock-step down climb.  There's also still some great tent sites just before this rock-step, around 10,500 feet.  This puts climbers a bit higher on the route making for shorter summit days.

The two ice pitches are lengthening as the snow melts away.  The lower pitch has about 50 meters of ice exposed and the upper has about 60 meters.  Remember to be cautious of ice fall when leading.  Instead of leading straight up, traversing a diagonal route can help protect your partner below while belaying.  If choosing to simul-climb, be extra-cautious!  The potential "dinner plates" you're knocking off could cause your second climber to fall.  Parties above the first ice-pitch and starting to climb the second should consider where ice chunks that they might knock off will end up.  If it's a crowded day, work together on route to keep everyone safe.

Above the second ice pitch, climbers are faced with a choice to climb up left towards Point Success or veer climber's right over to Wapowety Cleaver and traverse up toward the DC route above the Nisqually Cleaver.  Ascending to Point Success adds a bit more elevation gain and length to the route.   Heading across the Wapowety Cleaver forces climbers to navigate through quite a ice-block jumble and cross large crevasses to around 13,600 feet where the DC route can be accessed.  

July 1st, 2015



Current Conditions of the Kautz Glacier, Mount Rainier National Park

The Kautz is seeing lots of activity lately. It is in good shape and climbing well. Use caution while climbing on the ice pitches and don't climb directly below other parties. This picture is courtesy of "Jason Ramsdell"




June 28th, 2015


Rangers made a patrol up the Kautz Glacier route from the Comet Falls trailhead on June 28th. The approach through Van Trump Park is a pleasant, albeit longer, alternative to slogging on a glacier during the recent sunny, warm days we have been having here.

The Castle and the area just below Camp Hazard have running water and plenty of bivy sites have melted out. Please use only the established sites; it is unnecessary to build your own. Also, please remember to pack out your blue bags! Leaving them sitting under a rock for some unfortunate soul to happen upon is poor form.

Getting onto the Kautz from Camp Hazard is a matter of a short down climb right now, no rappel needed. The lower ice pitch is almost completely ice and the second pitch is mostly ice. Expect large suncups on the snow covered portions of the route. Above the ice pitches, the route is straightforward but circuitous to the top of the Wapowety Cleaver. Getting off the Wapowety Cleaver and continuing towards the Summit currently requires crossing an unlikely looking snow bridge that may cease to exist at some point soon. At that point,an alternative route or crossing will be needed. Above the Wapowety, climbing is straightforward on consolidated snow to the Summit.

With the exceptionally warm temperatures, early starts and fast travel are recommended to avoid hazardous rock and ice fall.



Crossing onto the Kautz Glacier


Climbing the first ice pitch


Independent climbers near the top of the Wapowety Cleaver




June 18, 2015

Kautz Glacier, Mount Rainier National Park

The snowpack on Kautz Glacier is starting to dwindle around the upper and lower ice pitches. The lower ice pitch is mostly melted out and the upper in not far behind. The route above the ice climbing is holding together nicely. There has been several parties that have climbed the route recently leaving a well defined boot pack leading to the summit. The route will continue to improve over the few weeks as the upper ice pitch becomes more exposed.



June 1, 2015
Rangers have yet to get out for a patrol on the Kautz, however conditions have been reported as favorable by several private parties. Two climbers completed a carry over, descending the DC yesterday.

Wilson Headwall 2015

Check back soon for updates!

Fuhrer Finger 2015

August 30, 2015

It's getting to be that time of year where the non standard routes (routes other than the highly traveled DC and Emmons) are seeing substantially less climbing traffic.  Upper mountain terrain is becoming very featured and broken which results in substantially difficult terrain navigation and route finding.  As we move into the fall months, these routes are becoming much more dangerous from objective hazard such as rock fall, ice fall, unstable snow bridges, decompensating plugs, and long deep crevasses that are difficult to navigate around.  It is highly recommended to wait until next climbing season to attempt these routes and allow the winter months to heal the current upper mountain conditions.


June 18th, 2015

Austin Shannon (IMG Guide) was up on the Finger this week and climbed the route quickly with a strong team. Here is his conditions report:

Fuhrer Finger Route Conditions:

From Glacier Vista crossing the lower Nisqually glacier:
Good travel overall.  The glacier is quite dry and broken for this time of year.  Late season conditions are in effect.  The ice fall directly climbers right of chute accessing Wilson bench is quite
active.  During our mid morning ascent we experienced a moderate amount of rock
and icefall.

Wilson Bench to Upper Castle:
Good coverage and perfect sun-cup steps.  Seems like most of the winter snow has consolidated. Easy steep snow walking to gain the ridge at 7200’.  Flowing water can be found in multiple spots at the Upper Castle Camp.

Upper Castle to top of Wapowtey Cleaver:
Good access to base of F.F. from Upper Castle, Wilson glacier was slightly broken but direct travel was not interrupted.  Travel up through the F.F. proper was quick and without significant
rock fall.  Rock fall is still a real objective hazard.  Good sun-cup steps made travel
relatively easy.   The moat/bergshrund was slightly broken.  Two 50m pitches were
the final piece to complete the exit out the top of F.F. onto Wapowtey Cleaver at 12, 800’.

Wapowtey Cleaver to Summit:
Getting off the Wapowtey Cleaver to upper Nisqually seemed to be more broken than usual and will likely cause route issues soon.  The upper Nisqually glacier was smooth travel to the North East where we met up with the standard DC route.

Thanks go out to Austin for the information. And congratulations to his team!
-693


May 2, 2015

Rangers got some photos from a group who made a one day ascent and ski descent of Rainier via the Fuhrer Finger. They reported firm conditions in the morning with excellent cramponing up to around 13,000 feet. From 13k to the summit, the snow surface was mostly sastrugi with a few pockets of drifted, softer snow. On the descent, the snow in the Finger had softened perfectly; below the Finger, the Wilson and Nisqually glaciers were a bit sloppy in the afternoon heat, but held up well enough.

Coverage and conditions are closer to what one would expect in mid-June. Gibraltar Ledges barely has any snow on it; see the photo below.



Ski Descent of the Fuhrer Finger around 12,000 feet. Take a look at the Gib Ledges route in the background.





Taking a rest break on top of the Finger/Thumb split





April 17, 2015

Climbing Rangers took a quick trip out to the Tatoosh this week and captured a picture of the south side.  Several routes are visible including Fuhrer Finger, Kautz, and Success Cleaver.  Recent 1.5 to 2 feet of snowfall blanketed the south side and Paradise area.  Be sure to check the Weather and Snow page for recent observations and tips on conditions.  More reports coming soon as the season gets underway!

Liberty Ridge 2015

August 30, 2015

It's getting to be that time of year where the non standard routes (routes other than the highly traveled DC and Emmons) are seeing substantially less climbing traffic.  Upper mountain terrain is becoming very featured and broken which results in substantially difficult terrain navigation and route finding.  As we move into the fall months, these routes are becoming much more dangerous from objective hazard such as rock fall, ice fall, unstable snow bridges, decompensating plugs, and long deep crevasses that are difficult to navigate around.  It is highly recommended to wait until next climbing season to attempt these routes and allow the winter months to heal the current upper mountain conditions.


July 23, 2015

Conditions on the ridge have deteriorated substantially.  Every party who has attempted it in the last couple of weeks has turned due to lots loose and falling rock.  All the snow on the ridge below the Black Pyramid has melted.  Travel on the ridge has become much more objectively hazardous than when it's in good shape. 

June  19th 2015

A few aerial photos of Liberty Ridge from 6/13/15.  Looks like later season conditions with lots of ice around the Black Pyramid.





May 29th 2015

International Mountain Guides (IMG) recently attempted Liberty Ridge with a group of clients. Please check out their trip report and photos below. Aside from the rockfall at Thumb Rock, IMG reported good conditions on the route, and reported that the upper reaches of the route appeared to be in good shape. If you are planning a trip to Liberty Ridge, please assess the avalanche and rockfall conditions carefully! If you choose to camp in a location high on the route aside from Thumb Rock, choose wisely and ensure your camp is out of any potential rock or ice fall zones.


"IMG attempted a summit of Mt. Rainier via Liberty Ridge with three clients and two guides.  The trip left White River 5/25/15 returning 5/28/15 without a summit.  We found continuous snow from the top of the moraine above Glacier Basin.  Travel from St. Elmo Pass to Curtis ridge via the Winthrop glacier was relatively easy and straight forward.  We accessed the Carbon glacier from the campsites at 7,300 feet on Curtis Ridge and approached the west side of Liberty Ridge via the left variation on the Carbon Glacier.  We accessed the ridge  at approximately 8,800 ft over a relatively thick snow bridge over the bergschrund.   Once on the ridge we were able to follow ridge crest to Thumb Rock.  Significant rock fall from the feature directly above Thumb Rock triggered an avalanche, which deposited rock and avalanche debris over the entirety of the col and campsites. The majority of this debris continued down the east side of the ridge, but there was evidence of significant rock fall down the west side of the ridge from Thumb Rock as well.  Due to this recent catastrophic rock fall at Thumb Rock and continued sporadic rock fall, we did not feel this was a viable campsite for an ascent of the route.  We descended from this point via our ascent route." 

-IMG Guides Aaron Mainer and Austin Shannon















May 23rd 2015

As mentioned in the prior post no climbing ranger teams have been on Liberty Ridge yet this season. We have been too busy training!

On Saturday, May 23rd climbing rangers were up on a mission with the 214th General Support Aviation Brigade, a reserve Army unit that flies CH-47 Chinook helicopters. During the mission, rangers were able to snap a few aerial photos of Liberty Ridge.

Note in both photos that ice is already present near the Black Pyramid, which is rather early in the season for ice to be exposed. However, this is not a surprise with the winter snow pack in the Cascades. Aside from the early ice showing, climbing rangers also noted one other significant change to the route. Near the bergschrund area, the serac and icefall potential have gone up significantly from prior years. In years past there is typically a visible line to exit the route onto Liberty Cap, or at least this area is relatively smooth, and bowl shaped as it ramps up towards the cap. This year, however, there are substantial leaning seracs nearly across the entire aspect. This will mean a more sporty climb! The route does go, there have been several independent parties on the route, who have somewhat successfully completed their trips.

 As always on Liberty Ridge, please plan your climb for a substantial good weather window. The weather this time of year typically approaches from the southwest, meaning that climbers on the ridge cannot see the approaching storm systems. Many parties have been put in compromising situations because of this. Also, be aware of recent snowfall, as nearly the entire route is prone to avalanches. These avalanches can occur any time of day, and may be triggered by serac/icefall, rockfall, or simply new snow sluffing off of the steep slopes. Please read the trip report posted in the prior blog post.

Liberty appears to be in great shape at the moment, albeit a little different than years past, but it looks to be ripe for the picking right now! Come one out, and give it a shot after you find a nice big weather window! If you climb Liberty Ridge, please be sure to check in and check out with the White River Ranger Station, and obtain all necessary permits. And please drop us a line after your climb and let us know how conditions were on the route! Happy climbing!






May 2015

During a training mission with the 214th  rangers were able to take a few photos of Liberty Ridge. We have not yet climbed the route this season but check out the trip report below.

Here is a trip report from Cascade Climbers from their successful climb on liberty this May. Nice work!  Objective hazard continues to be a concern on this route. A quote from their ascent: 
"Since we were racing the weather window, we did most of the climb in the dark, and ended up too far left somehow and almost on the Willis Wall. Fortunately, when we noticed we were getting mighty close to the ice cliff, we found a steep passage to the ridge crest near the top of the blue ice. We pitched this portion out, and Joe reached the bergschrund. It turned out to be a very good thing we went way left, because a serac collapsed above the top of the route and swept the face of blue ice, and could very easily have killed us had we been on route. Joe was almost underneath it when it collapsed, but fortunately had just enough time to move slightly out of the way and brace himself. The car sized chunk missed him, but a large chunk hit him square in the helmet, and he amazingly came away unscathed. (Always wear your helmet!) I mention this as a word of caution: just because you're not on Willis or Liberty Wall proper, doesn't mean there are no serac falls. In any case I didn't see anymore seracs looking too unstable, but you never know. "   Photo and words: Aikidjoe /Cascade Climbers