Dan, Pete and I miraculously synchronized schedules and teamed up on this climb, skeptical but hopeful it would go as a ski. We took "the skier's route" up, a perhaps new climbing route variation to the Ptarmigan Ridge climb that traverses left before the traditional fork in the route, gaining the Liberty Cap Glacier above its ice cliff, and then merging with the Ptarmigan Ice Cliff route. Our route looks like a lightning bolt, two lines on either side of the ridge crest, joined by a traverse.
After a strenuous and cloudy but clearing approach (Pete as skittle-kid Cascade jibber)...
spirits rose as the objective came into view.
From our bivy:
The climb up the lower section was firm (but expected to soften for the ski), and the traverse was exposed and icy.
We soloed the crux, and Pete wisely installed a v-thread above it for later use.
We roped up for the broken Liberty Cap Glacier, and climbed at a determined pace, crossing many cracks.
Dan on Liberty Cap summit of Mt Rainier:
This will come as no surprise to anybody that's skied with Dan, but he crushed the climb like a wind-up action figure.
Not many skiing pics, we were pretty focused on getting down before temps dropped, as the clouds unexpectedly moved in. We followed our climbing route down, negotiating icy cruxes, enjoyed exposed powdery turns, and airing over a couple crevasses.
Pete on our single rap to the icy traverse; Dan can be seen below:
Finally, some firm fun turns to the N Mowich Glacier:
Incredible full-on experience and complete package; thanks fellas. More pics here.