Liberty Bell/Southwest Face

Also called the Beckey Route, this four pitch, 5.6 Grade II route has face climbing, a chimney, moderate cracks, and a short friction slab. On the east edge of the North Cascades and a remote alpine feel though very near the highway makes this climb very popular. During the peak season, go midweek to avoid the crowds. Rapple Grapple is a 5.8 to 5.8+ rock climb that shares its first pitch with the Beckey Route. Times: 2 hr hike to the start of the route, 2-6 hr climb to summit.

getting there

Drive SR-20 to the Blue Lake Trailhead (5,200 ft), 1.5 mi west of the Washington 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 splits. Keep left, heading up to the Liberty Bell Concord Tower notch, 7,300 ft. The gully is usually snow filled and can be icy until late June. Rockfall is high after snow melt.


Southwest Face (Beckey Route)

Intermediate Alpine Rick Climb, Grade II, 5.6

From the tree about 30 feet 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-foot friction slab, 5.5. A short scramble leads to the summit.

Rapple Grapple

Intermediate Alpine Rick Climb, Grade II, 5.8 to 5.8+

After one pitch of the Beckey Route, traverse right on the ledge (the "Beckey ledge") past a few trees and go up an open book corner system to the top of the buttress rejoining the Beckey Route before attempting the scramble and 10 foot 5.6 slab to the top.

Direct start (5.8): Start a few feet to the right of a red blocky overhang and make your way up and left to the Beckey ledge and follow the original route rejoining the Beckey Route and finishing to the summit.

Variation (5.8+): Do the direct start and, instead of going to the Beckey ledge, continue up to a ledge below an overhanging leaning block. There's a tree with a sling to belay from. After leaving the belay spot (crux pitch), continue past the leaning block and move up and left to rejoin the original route, belay before you venture up a ramp to the right, then you'll run into a 10 or 15 foot 5.8 crack with an old piton in it. After the crack you'll rejoin the Beckey route and scramble to the top as per the original route.


From the summit, down climb and/or rappel the route to the top of the third pitch, ~200 feet below the summit. Turn left (east) and downclimb through trees and loose rocks ~100 feet. Bear right, looking right across an exposed sloping ledge, two rappel bolts are on the steep wall. Alternatively, to avoid downclimbing the 4th pitch and the 5.6 boulder problem, descend the route approximately 20 feet to the first ledge and then go left (east) to a tree with rappel slings. One single rope rappel with a 60m rope reaches a flat area. Scramble down and right to the bolts. From the bolts, one double rope rappel or two single rope rappels reaches the Liberty Bell-Concord notch.


Southwest Face (Beckey Route)

Trailhead to Notch 2 2,100
Notch to Summit 2-4 420
Summit to Trailhead 3

Rapple Grapple

Trailhead to Notch 2 2,100
Notch to Summit 2-4 420
Summit to Trailhead 3


Southwest Face (Beckey Route)

Rock rack to 3 inches. Ice ax and crampons in early season. 50 or 60 meter rope.

Rapple Grapple

Rock rack to 4 inches. Ice ax and crampons in early season. 60 or 70 meter rope.


  • 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.
  • Rope has been known to get stuck after rappel.
  • If this climb is done late enough in the season to avoid snow in the approach gully, one may wish to gear up and leave packs/boots at a secure place before gaining the west side bench.
  • There is an excellent route topo in Becky's Cascade Alpine Guide Vol. 3.
  • 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.
  • Can be combined with a climb of Concord Tower/North Face.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Intermediate Alpine
  • Seasons: May, June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Intermediate Rock Climb
  • Length: 4.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,500 ft
  • 7,720 ft
  • USGS Washington Pass
  • Green Trails Washington Pass No. 50
  • Trails Illustrated North Cascades National Park
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Liberty Bell/Beckey Route
  • Liberty Bell & Concord Tower
  • Liberty Bell/Southwest Face & Concord Tower/North Face
  • Liberty Bell/Beckey Route & Concord Tower/North Face
  • Liberty Bell/Rapple Grapple

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