Liberty Ridge is risky, deadly Mount Rainier route
Though less than 2 percent of Mount Rainier climbers attempt to summit via Liberty Ridge, the route now accounts for about 25 percent of all deaths on summit climbs, according to National Park statistics.
So what draws a climber to Liberty Ridge?
Those who have made the climb say the route offers up-close vistas of some of Mount Rainier’s most spectacular features, an opportunity to get away from the crowded south slopes that draw climbers and plenty of challenges to test skills and conditioning.
“This is really special,” said Gavin Woody, a veteran mountaineer who made the climb last June with his friend Vik Sahney. “You pick your way up the ridges in between these massive walls.”
The route was first climbed in 1935 and was included in “Fifty Classic Climbs of North America,” which was first published in 1979 by Sierra Club Books.
“That really put it into the spotlight, and has actually driven a lot of traffic (to the route),” said Eric Simonson, co-owner of International Mountain Guides, which offers guided ascents of Mount Rainier via Liberty Ridge.