Peak(s):  Mt. Rainier - 14,410 feet
Date Posted:  08/31/2009
Modified:  09/02/2009
Date Climbed:   06/27/2009
Author:  kmensch

 Rainier Liberty Ridge  

I climbed the Liberty Ridge route on Mt Rainier with two climbing partners. I don't recommend this route after late spring because of the unstable rock in the ridge prior to Thumb Rock. Thumb Rock is easier to gain via solid snow on the ridge. Above Thumb Rock near the Liberty Cap there will be several areas of steep, hard alpine ice that require ice tools. I came unprepared with one small tool and an alpine axe that proved to be worthless on the hard ice. Plan for a very long summit day. We had great weather, but I could not imagine being in the upper part of the route in bad weather. There is a possible bivy site just below the steep ice of the cap that could be used in an emergency. Go light and fast and believe that the randomness of nature will allow you to pass through falling rock without getting hit.

See my photos at


 Comments or Questions

Nice route.
09/01/2009 08:28
We did it 6 years ago in the first part of July. I concur that earlier season is better. Though we actually had a fairly smooth climb other than a dicey bergshrund aid climb. Weather was only a little nasty for a few hours. Rockfall was probably the main concern.


Great route!
09/02/2009 02:25
Great pics! If you don‘t mind me asking, what previous steep snow experience do you have? I would LOVE to climb Liberty Ridge, but I want to make sure the skills are there first. Congrats on the climb.


Not technically challenging, but...
09/02/2009 14:29
I probably was stretching the limits of my experience and was lucky to have partners who could lead the ice sections. I have done minimal ice climbing and steep couloirs in Colorado mountains, but Rainier is a different beast than anything in Colorado. However, I don‘t think the route is particularly challenging as far as skills. Someone on your team needs to be comfortable with leading on ice and simulclimbing techniques and all partners should have some ice skills. The route was longer than I expected and when you add in 3 or 4 areas requiring protected belaying, it makes for a long day.

Jason Halladay

heat wave
09/02/2009 23:22
Congrats on the climb. Nice photos, thanks. We climbed the route in late May of 2004 and it‘s wild to see the difference in your shots of the lower ridge below Thumb Ridge. We had mostly snow with just a bit of loose rock. And then from there it was much snowier up high. Probably less real ice too.
I was going to blame the summer‘s heatwave up there this summer but that was in July so nevermind.

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