Liberty Bell/Northwest Face

A five pitch, 5.9 Grade III rock climb on Liberty Bell near Washington Pass in the North Cascades. It's 7-11 hours round trip.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

Drive I-5, take Exit 232 (Cook Road) at Burlington, turning east to Sedro Wooley and SR 20. Continue to Washington Pass. Park at the Blue Lake Trailhead, 5,200 ft, 1.5 mi west of the pass.

APPROACH

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; bear left, heading up to the Liberty Bell Concord Tower notch. When just below a prominent split in the gully, perhaps 200 feet below the notch, scramble left and up to gain the broad sloping bench on Liberty Bell’s west side. Traverse left at the base of slabs and up through thin timber to a left leaning crack/groove with a bush sprouting halfway up about 80’ before the bench ends. The gully is usually snow filled until late June and rockfall there is high after  snow melt.

ASCENT ROUTE

Pitch 1: Climb the easy Class 5 crack/groove to a spacious ledge on the corner with a large rock wrapped with slings.

Pitch 2: Climb the outside corner above the ledge for 150 feet. Chimney moves and a move off a horn gain a long sloping ledge extending to the right. Move the belay to the right to where some rounded, somewhat crumbly left facing flakes ascend directly up below a dihedral a half rope length above. Do not be confused by the sharp clean flake to the left.

Pitch 3: Layback the flakes past one fixed pin to where one can make a wide step right to gain the left facing open book, climbed to a small ledge belay, 5.8+. This zig zag pitch has potential rope drag.

Pitch 4: A long and fun dihedral is climbed for a long 165 feet, 5.8+.

Pitch 5: Moves a short distance up to the top of the west spur (low 5th class) with the summit reached in a few minutes of Class 3-4 climbing.

DESCENT ROUTE

From the summit, down climb and/or rappel the route until about 200 feet below the summit. Turn left (east) and downclimb through trees and loose rocks about 100 feet. Bear right, looking right across an exposed sloping ledge, two rappel bolts can be located on the steep wall. One double rope rappel or two single rope rappels reach the Liberty Bell-Concord notch.

TRIP PROFILE

SEGMENTTIME (HOURS)ELEVATION GAIN (FEET)
Trailhead to Notch 2 2,000
Notch to Summit 2-6 500
Summit to Trailhead 3

EQUIPMENT

Rack to 2 ½ inches. Ice ax and crampons in early season.

NOTES

  • 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 top in Beckey'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.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Intermediate Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Intermediate Rock Climb
  • Length: 4.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,500 ft
  • 7,720 ft
Map
  • USGS Washington Pass
  • Green Trails Washington Pass No. 50
  • Trails Illustrated North Cascades National Park
Activities

Upcoming Activities



Stewardship - Liberty Bell/Northwest Face

Stewardship Trip
A stewardship event in partnership with the Access Fund, as part of the Liberty Bell
Sat, Sep 8, 2018
No Prerequisites
9 participants
Registration closes Sep 6
The Mountaineers Branch
Trip Reports
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