Type: Trad, Alpine, 1400 ft, 11 pitches, Grade V
FA: Mikey Schaefer 8/16
Page Views: 2,813 total · 95/month
Shared By: Mikey Schaefer on Aug 19, 2016
Admins: Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick

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A Slave To Liberty climbs the first 3 pitches of Freedom or Death (5.10, 5.11, 5.11) but steps right to join Thin Red Line just before the 3rd pitch anchor. It would also be possible to just climb the first 4 pitches of TRL but the nature of the climbing on FOD is more in line with the rest of the climbing on ASTL.

Pitch 4 (5.12-) starts up easy terrain until reaching the right leaning overlap that was originally aided on TRL. Tricky locks and smeary feet at first, but it eases off after not to long. The gear can be a little tricky on this pitch. Finish at the original belay where the pendulum is on TRL. Belay off the single older SMC bolt to the left with a backup to the better anchor to the right. Doing this keeps your feet on a small ledge.

Pitch 5 (5.12-) steps down off of the narrow foot rail and traverses far to the left until gaining a short layback flake. Clip a bolt after a bit and work up and left to another short flake placing two small cams here to protect a somewhat difficult mantle. Clip another bolt and step to the right. This is the 5.12- crux. Continue up another layback flake placing a weird but good #2 Cam. Climb past the two bolt ring anchor that was placed during an aid attempt. Stem up and over the roof and then step right around the arete for a couple moves before the final move back left towards the anchor. It is also possible to stay in the corner but it is a bit more difficult.

Pitch 6 (5.12) starts in the shallow corner but also steps right around the arete on some classic rounded arete climbing. Make a big move back left at the dike continuing very far left on the big hand rail. Climb up positive face holds and step right when possible. Few medium to big finger size pieces to finish it off. A #2 Cam is nice to have for that last piece as a directional for the 2nd. This pitch ends on a nice ledge with the anchor being 25ft to the right. This anchor is equal height to pitch 7 of TRL and it would be possible to do a short easy pitch to that anchor

Pitch 7 (5.12+) is the mega slab pitch that will make most peoples toes cry. This pitch is 165ft with 14 bolts and 4 cruxy moves. It is best to yard up on the anchor to clip the first bolt. The first move can be a bit tricky to figure out but there are a few options that work. A .75 cam is needed after the 2nd bolt. It is best to use long slings starting with the 3rd bolt. Continue up the slab past a couple crux moves and eventually to an amazing tiny bonsai tree growing in a pocket. Be very careful to not hurt the tree. Make one more crux move back to the right and easier terrain. There is a high bolt up and left that can be clipped with a double length runner that provides a good directional for the 2nd, back clean the previous bolt if this is done.

Pitch 8 (5.13-) starts off easy enough but turns pretty vicious after moving out right. The crux slab sequence feels and looks impossible until all the holds are chalked and ticked. Be ready to grab a couple razor blades with your right hand and make some funky foot moves. It is pretty sustained for a few bolts (which can be A0’d) but eventually the holds get better and the climbing becomes 5.10-ish The crux moves might feel closer to 13c without beta or chalk. Unfortunately the rock quality deteriorates a bit on this pitch but the climbing isn’t hard when this happens.

Pitch 9 (5.10) is way more fun than anticipated. Mostly varied 5.10 climbing on decent rock. Be careful with rope drag towards the end of the pitch. A #3 Cam is placed after the last bolt in the left facing corner. A couple small cams are also nice for the final traverse around the chossy arete.

Pitch 10 (5.10) steps right off the belay into a short crack. Be mindful of a couple loose blocks after the short crack. Walk the ledge to the right and climb up underneath the big flair. It is possible to climb up into the flair or climb the face to the left. Mellow terrain leads to one bolt out left to avoid a big kitty litter block.

Pitch 11 (5.10+) climbs a low angle left facing corner that looks challenging from the belay but isn’t actually that bad. Lots of finger sized pieces and nuts on this section. After the finger crack section look for a bolt out to the left. After clipping this, wander down and around to lower angle terrain. Eventually it turns to low 5th class. Aim for some tree and blocks up and right. There is a fixed 3 nut anchor just above the trees.

It is possible to ramble to the top from here but best to stay roped up for a bit longer. it is also possible to rappel the route using two ropes.


Starts on either Freedom or Death or Thin Red Line


2x #0 C3 to #.75
1x #1 to #3
1 set small to med. nuts
8 quick draws
6 shoulder length slings
2 ropes if rapping route.


A small bit of history. Parts of this line were attempted aid solo by Darin Berdinka but the line was left uncompleted. I wasn’t aware of Darin’s attempt until asking around in 2014 for some photos of the upper headwall. I was then informed of Darin’s attempt and decided to look elsewhere for the season. I returned in 2015 to give the line a go. I climbed solo up to what is pitch 8. I then went out and left of the big roofs with a partner but decided the climbing was a bit too shitty for my liking. I spent the next couple weeks inspecting what would become the finished line. After TR’ing the line multiple times and deciding that it was free climbable I put in most of the bolts. The big fires in the area forced me to abandon the project for the remainder of the season without ever figuring out a finish.

I returned in late July of 2016 intent on finishing the line. I once again solo’d up to my high point fixing over a thousand feet of rope along the way. I then pioneered a line through the big roofs, this time going up and right on better rock. Two more moderate pitches led to easy climbing. I then spent a couple days top roping and equipping the remainder of the route. On August 6th my girlfriend Shanjean came up from Portland to give me a belay on a redpoint attempt. We started climbing at somewhat leisurely time of 11:20am not wanting to do too much climbing in the sun. All went as planned except for a bout of unexpected asthma that almost forced me down. I finished pitch 11 almost exactly 11 hours after starting. We then spent the next couple hours stripping the 1400ft. of rope off the wall, arriving at the base a little past 1am.


Jon Nelson
Redmond, WA
Jon Nelson   Redmond, WA  
Other than the route and pics, I like the added history. I just shifted it to a new heading. Aug 20, 2016
Sol Wertkin
Leavenworth, Washington
Sol Wertkin   Leavenworth, Washington
Nice work Mikey!!

Can any of those upper pitches be accessed from M&M as an alternative finish for Indy or TRL? Aug 20, 2016
Mikey Schaefer
Redmond, OR
Mikey Schaefer   Redmond, OR
It might be possible to join pitch 9 from M&M but it might take a bolt or two. I didn't really give it a look. It would for sure be possible to join pitch 10 though. You can easily rap the route with two ropes and have a look. Aug 21, 2016
Stig .
Stig .   Seattle
Damn dude. Nice job. Aug 23, 2016
Nicola Masciandaro
Brooklyn, NY
Nicola Masciandaro   Brooklyn, NY
COOL! Aug 31, 2016
Nick Sweeney
Spokane, WA
Nick Sweeney   Spokane, WA
Suuper sick. Looks like Honnold just made the second ascent. Sep 1, 2016
It's so rad that you finished this! Nice work. Can confirm that the lower portion of the route is amazing although my feet hurt too much to try the hardest pitches. Amazing tech-9 granite face climbing. Sep 7, 2016
Mikey Schaefer
Redmond, OR
Mikey Schaefer   Redmond, OR
Honnold did indeed do the 2nd ascent of this. And he managed to onsight it, which isn't that surprising. He said he actually had to try pretty hard on the crux pitch though and was pretty psyched to have done it first try. He thought a couple of the other pitches were pretty hard and possibly solid for the grade. Sep 10, 2016
Thanks for all the work and good hardware Mikey! Great climb! The hardest and most cryptic toe-killer climbing is concentrated high on P7 and low on P8. I think this one is destined for obscurity, but the middle section make a great mid-5.12 multipitch route which wouldn't take a very heavy rack if you climbed:

Freedom or Death 1, 2, 3, then step right to belay, climb the first three independent pitches of this route (listed as 4, 5, 6) and then climb the short .11d and long 5.10 on Thin Red Line, and finish to the summit per TRL.

You could do this with a single set of cams from tips to #2, (maybe take doubles to .5)

M&M Ledge Jul 20, 2017
Congrats Mikey, another quality, well done route! It's too bad this one is destined for obscurity. The hard climbing is a little flaky, but it's still quite cool if you enjoy tech climbing. It would obviously get better with traffic.

Mikey's selling himself short, I think it's actually damn impressive that Honnold onsighted this route. Even with chalk to follow, like Alex had, the climbing is cryptic, thin, and a bit friable. Without chalk onsighting the route would be incredibly hard, mad respect to whoever is the first to pull that off. I didn't come remotely close to redpointing the route my first, and only day on it. Hopefully I'll get back for another try at some point.

Couple notes:

There is a very key little footer on the rightward traverse on P5 that's hard to see. Got absolutely worked until I found it.

Washington climbers seem to be especially fond of grade bickering, so when in Rome...I doubt anyone would ever argue if P5 was called 12b, P7 13a, and P8 13b. This would be more in line with Thin Red Line, if that route's crux pitches are considered 12b...But then again those TRL cruxes might only be 12a so...

There's an obvious ledge halfway up P7 that has two horizontally spaced bolts. It would make a lot of sense to do an additional belay there to break up P7.

I thought it was harder on my tips than toes. Good skin is really key for P7 and P8.

Stiff shoes are key.

Red C3 to #2C4, and no wires gets to the top of P8 without issue.

Someone should link Liberty Crack into this route. As is, STTL is probably the hardest multi pitch route in Washington?, but with a Liberty Crack start It would make for a properly hard day, particularly with the crux coming on P8. Jul 29, 2017