Home > Trip Reports > Carbon and Russell Glaciers

Carbon and Russell Glaciers

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by johnnyutah on 5/15/23 9:38am

We had grand ambitions of skiing Liberty Ridge so we went to have a look. It turns out that this isn't the best year to try it. Too much heat. Too little snow. It will be a short climbing season alone up there.

On 5/9: Our team of two started our approach to the Carbon from the Mowich Lake road closure. We were able to skin from about 200 yds from the car and made our way up and over Knapsack Col and up to 6800' in Spray Park.

5/10: We skinned up the Flett and traversed the Russell onto the Carbon. We then ascended the carbon to our camp at the base of Liberty Ridge, dropped our overnight gear and set a track up to the alt start to the ridge on the uppermost portion of the Carbon at 9400'. It quickly became evident that the north side of the mountain had a slightly below average snowpack and the pronounced warming at the end of April took a large toll. The ridge had way more rock exposed than we anticipated, the burgshrunds were gaping and the route finding on the glacier was already fairly sporty in places. The east side of Lib. Ridge, in the Thermogenesis Couloir, was riddled with cliffs and evidence of prior flushing- it was a complete mess.

5/11: After a few inches of snow overnight we pulled the pug on the affair and went to do some mellow glacier skiing on the Russell. We skied from a little over 10k there and to our surprise had about 6-8" of cold powder to ski, at least at the top. By mid elevation we were skiing corn and a bit of the sticky icky down to the low bench at 6750'. From there we climbed back out and exited into Spray Park to a camp at 5800'.

5/12: Exited up and out from Spray park through Knapsack Col and then another 6 miles of slow sliding down the road to the car. Hit the car at 1130am.

Sometimes you don't know until you go.

Note: We chose this access due to the fact that the road isn't open to the White River access as of yet. The disadvantage of starting from the west as we did is that if you are on Lib Ridge you don't have as good of an exit as you would on the Emmons if you choose to abort skiing the Lib Ridge back down. If we had had a little more time, we would have considered climbing the ridge (even if not to ski it) and skiing Emmons and wrapping back to the Carbon.

Overall, we didn't see anyone and had a really nice time out considering we were denied on our main objective. Till next time.




Cool You got out there! Any thoughts on how the road might be now after all this heat? Considering whether it’s worth it to bring bikes.

Im sure bikes would help

Reply to this TR

2023-05-15 16:38:07