Type: Ice, Snow, Alpine, 10500 ft, Grade IV
FA: Ome Daiber, Arnie Campbell and Jim Burrow - 1935
Page Views: 69,180 total · 581/month
Shared By: Josh Garner on Jun 12, 2009
Admins: Nate Ball, Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick

You & This Route

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Approach via the White River Campground/Glacier Basin Trail and hike into the base of the ridge on the Carbon Glacier via St. Elmos Pass and across Curtis Ridge (most parties camp on Curtis Ridge). After negotiating the cracks on the Carbon Glacier, start scouting your access onto the ridge (either side can be accessed around 8000 ft). Climb 30-40 degree snow slopes and traverse scree and rocks up to Thumb Rock at 10,500 ft. From Thumb Rock, either go straight up a short ice pitch (70-80 degrees) in the center of a rock band, or traverse up and left/right around the cliff. From 11,000 to 12,000, stay on or near the crest of the ridge and climb increasingly steeper slopes and maybe a few icy sections up to 50 degrees. At 12k (Black Pyramid) go east (left) out onto the Willis Wall on exposed snow/ice faces up to 60 degrees. Climb several pitches of 50-60 degree ice and negotiate steep glacier travel until gaining the Liberty Cap Glacier around 13,500 ft. Seasonal bridges and icy ledges provide passage up onto the glacier - be prepared to climb a few short (5-8 ft) vertical ice sections to surpass the bergschrund and other cracks. Once through, the slope angle decreases until the Liberty Cap summit is reached at 14,112 ft. Either head down from here or go across the broad plateau to a col (13,600 ft) and then on to Columbia Crest at 14,411 ft. Many parties descend the well-traveled Emmons-Winthrop route down to Camp Shurman.


4-6 screws and a few pickets


Martin le Roux
Superior, CO
Martin le Roux   Superior, CO
Beware of loose rock on the lower part of the ridge, especially after the snow cover melts later in the season. We were almost taken out by rockfall when crossing from the Carbon Glacier onto the ridge.

Otherwise it's a great route, although some of the slope angles in the above description may be exaggerated. I don't remember anything in excess of 60 degrees except for a short section at the bergscrund near the top. Jun 21, 2011
Curt Nelson
Fort Collins, CO
  AI2-3 Steep Snow
Curt Nelson   Fort Collins, CO
  AI2-3 Steep Snow
20 hours? Car to car! That's friggin awesome Phil. Jul 8, 2011
Likely new ski descent off Liberty Ridge (from the ridge into thermogenesis.)

county5.blogspot.com/2012/0… Jun 23, 2012
Your moms house last night
WI2 Steep Snow
Portwood   Your moms house last night
WI2 Steep Snow
Alissa Doherty
Boston, MA
Alissa Doherty   Boston, MA
Warm conditions can make the lower portion of the ridge very difficult to navigate. You should be able to gain Thumb Rock with minimal rock/scree traverses. If climbing sustained choss, back off or find another gully (best entry is on the West side). Jul 11, 2013
Don Morris
Golden, CO
Don Morris   Golden, CO
After mounting Liberty Cap with high winds, blowing snow and/or poor visibility it may be difficult to see entry point on to the Emmons glacier. Do not go too low towards the Winthrop glacier. Stay around 13,500 feet until you find a moderate entry point onto Emmons. Jul 2, 2014
Vikram Sahney
Seattle, WA
Vikram Sahney   Seattle, WA
Here is a video from climbing Liberty Ridge under 80mph summit winds. We climbed it as a party of two and camped two nights on the way up and then decided to rest and Schurman on the way down for a few hours.

Liberty Ridge Climb video Aug 28, 2016
Anastasia B
Portland, OR
  AI2-3 Steep Snow
Anastasia B   Portland, OR
  AI2-3 Steep Snow
Be careful up there, guys! Don't end up in the Thermogenesis like us while trying to avoid the rockfall off the main ridge line:
facebook.com/anastasia.blag… Apr 10, 2018
Nick Sweeney
Spokane, WA
  AI2-3 Steep Snow
Nick Sweeney   Spokane, WA
  AI2-3 Steep Snow
We found mid-late season conditions on May 26-28, 2018 with a lot of rock scrambling low on the route and significant ice above the Black Pyramid. May 31, 2018
I have climbed Liberty Ridge 3 times (1975, 1978, c. 1980). This is a great alpine route. The third time, my dad dropped me off at the Carbon River/Mowich Lake Trailhead and picked me up at Paradise the next day. I went alone "free solo" and made it from the parking lot to the summit in one day. I slept on the summit and hiked down the Disappointment Cleaver route the next morning. Dec 11, 2018