The short ice pitch above is the crux. Some guide books advise an alternate line in the rocks to climber's left. The ice appeared much easier as the rocks all slope downward and didn't offer a lot of pro.
That puppy must be running in the mid-50's, huh? And for a crux pitch of any length, a pack like that thrusts a climber into an entirely different element of difficulty.
In early June, 2010, I did not feel comfy attempting Rainier's Liberty Ridge due to the frickin'60+ lbs pack... and the numerous warnings from multiple parties, who dissuaded us with high avalanche conditions and probabilities. Any hoot!! We went Winthrup/Emmons instead and had a great climb with the crux being the 40+ winds and snow during the first four hours of summit day.
This photo shows REAL climbing though!!!
Kick butt documentation here, bud!!! Great climb.