Liberty Bell/SW Face
7,720’, Washington Pass Grade II , 5.6 Rock Reference & Data • • • • Jurisdiction: Okanogan National Forest • Ranger Station: Marblemount Ranger Station / 360-873-4500 • Equipment: Rack to 3 inches. Ice ax & crampons in early season. • USGS Maps: Washington Pass • Other Map: North Cascades National Park Complex • Beckey: Cascade Alpine Guide III, 2nd Edition, pp 335-338. • Other ref: Selected Climbs in the Cascades, pp 176-178. Classic Climbs of the Northwest, pp 140-144. Time Elevation gain/loss Mileage • Seattle to TH 4 hrs 5,200’ 165 • TH to Notch 2 hrs +2,100’ • Notch to Summit 2-4 hrs +420’ • Summit to Cars 3 hrs -2,500’ Approach • • • • • • • • • • • Drive I-5 N, take exit 232 (Cook Road) at Burlington, turning east to Sedro Wooley and State Route 20. Continue to Washington Pass. Park at the Blue Lake trailhead, 5,200’, 1.5 miles W of the pass. Follow the Blue Lake trail about 1.5 miles to a small meadow. Locate the climbers path left, just after a small stream. Follow path up through slabs, talus and meadow to below the gully descending from between Liberty Bell and Concord Tower. The path will split; keep left, heading up to the Liberty Bell Concord Tower notch, 7,300’. The gully is usually snow filled until late June and rockfall there is high after snowmelt. Climbing Route • • • • • From the tree about 30’ below the notch between Liberty Bell and Concord Tower the first pitch begins. Traverse left and up a low fifth class gully, chimney past ledges and small trees to a belay at the base of a steeper chimney. The second pitch climbs a 5.5 chimney to large ledge. A excellent variation for the second pitch avoids the chimney and takes face climbing (5.6) left and then up to rejoin the standard route at the start of pitch 3. The third pitch climbs low angle rock to a small roof where a finger tip traverse to the left (5.6) leads around the roof. Continue up and right on friction and a lay back crack around the corner to a ledge and good belay station. The final pitch begins with a 20’ friction slab, 5.5. A short scramble leads to the summit. Descent • • • • • • • • • • • From the summit, downclimb and/or rappel the route until about 200’ below the summit. Turn left (east) and downclimb through trees and loose rocks about 100’. Bear right, looking right across an exposed sloping ledge, 2 rappel bolts can be located on the steep wall. One double rope rappel or 2 single rope rappels reach the Liberty Bell-Concord notch. Comments • • • • • • • • • Known as the Beckey Route, this is the most popular route in the Washington Pass area, with frequent traffic jams of climbers on weekends during the height of the climbing season. It is short and presents few technical difficulties, remaining on the Intermediate Rock Climbs list largely due to the force of tradition. If the Beckey Route taxes your skills, or takes excessively long to complete, more practice is called for. During the peak season, it’s best to do this climb midweek to beat the crowds; even then you’ll need an early alpine start.
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