Rainier: Liberty Ridge

We made the transition to the high, steep slopes of the ridge easily. Bob and I chugged along like steam engines as we kicked steps, periodically switching leads between us and switching off with the Anderson party as well. The night had been warm, making the snow soft; having a number of people to kick steps sped us up, as did a bit of friendly competition between the parties. If the slope had been icy we would have wanted protection and belays, slowing us down considerably.

This article has a picture showing a dark "smudge" near the center top; this is the slope we were on, and is perhaps the mark left by the snow that sluffed off and killed six climbers. The slope is not visible above the rock cliffs, but the ice cliffs shown in the next picture are visible at the upper left.