Rainier-Liberty Ridge Itinerary
Upon sign up, we will send you our richly detailed, pre-trip information package.
Gear check: The day before the start of the climb, we'll meet at 2 p.m. Alpine Ascents' Seattle office. We will do an extensive gear check, and review the itinerary for the climb, check food, and answer any questions you may have.
Day 1: You'll have breakfast on your own, then we'll meet at the Alpine Ascents office at 6 a.m., load our van and drive to White River Campground (4,400 ft.). We'll hike though a beautiful forest up the Glacier Basin trail for two to three hours where we reach the tree line at approximately 6,500 feet. From there, we'll travel up steeper terrain on snow over St. Elmo Pass (7,400 ft.) and traverse the Winthrop Glacier to our first camp, around 7,000 ft, next to the lower end of the Curtis ridge. Total hiking and climbing time is approximately seven to eight hours with heavy packs.
Day 2: We'll travel to the Carbon Glacier and traverse to the base of Liberty Ridge. Travel on the Carbon Glacier can be complicated, depending on the condition of the glacier. From the base of Liberty Ridge (8,700 ft.), we'll ascend for four to six hours up steep (40 degrees) and exposed snow to our next camp, at Thumb Rock (10,700 ft.).
Day 3: We'll begin our climb before dawn and continue up 30- to 50-degree snow and ice. We'll use ice anchors and natural rock outcrops to provide running belays as we ascend. The technical terrain up to Liberty Cap (14,112 ft.) covers approximately 3,000 feet, and depending on conditions, we'll often have a short steep pitch of ice (70 degrees) to cross a bergschrund at around 13,500 feet. From Liberty Cap, we'll traverse to the main summit of Rainier (14,410 ft.). Our campsite will be selected by determining the condition and strength of climbers. Often, camp is made in Crater. This will be a very long day!
Day 4: We'll descend down the Emmons Glacier route to Camp Schurman and back down to the Glacier Basin Train, and finish back at White River Camp Ground. After getting out of our climbing gear, we'll will drive back to Seattle and celebrate.
Day 5: An extra day, in case of bad weather or if we need additional climbing time.