Trip Report    

Basic Rock Climb - Liberty Bell/Southwest Face

A great day for Liberty!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
​​​​Date: 07/01/2023

Trip Leaders: Justin BlackBurn (Primary Leader), Varun Ramesh (Mentored Leader)

Students: Juliana De Varvalho, Mary Wuest, Kate Lambert, Spencer Johnson

Approach: We left the parking lot at 6 AM along with several other parties attempting different routes in the area. We missed the cut off for the trail above the slab traverse and ended up scrambling up the talus field for a bit but rejoined the trail later. One of the students was not feeling well on the approach, but with a supportive group, we made it to the base slow and steady.

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Climb: By the time we reached the base, there was already a party of 2 on the route and a party of 3 waiting. We started climbing at 8:30 AM as 2 parties of 3, with 2 ropes per team. My team chose the finger crack variation on P1 (right of the gully), which was slightly harder (5.6) but had excellent protection. We moved efficiently through the pitches but were slowed down by the non-Mountaineers party of 3 in front, who were climbing one at a time. The non-Mountaineers group was impressed by our rope management skills and quick transitions. On pitch 3, my team chose the hand crack variation on the left instead of the classic finger crack on the right. This 5.8 variation was slightly harder for the students, but they managed it without any issues. After Pitch 3, both teams switched to a single rope with students tied on either end and the leader in the center. Most students were intimidated by the friction slab pitch, but everyone completed it with relative ease. We reached the summit a little after noon.

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Descent: After an hour-long summit break, we began the descent. The first rappel had an exposed scramble, so we set up a rappel to get the students down safely. It took some time to bring down our party of 6, but we all made it down safely to the Becky Gully by 3:30. At the base, there were still 2 parties waiting to get on the route. The scramble down from the gully was probably the crux of the day. We took our time to make it down the gully and got out safely. The rest of the hike was uneventful, with a sighting of a family of goats, including a little one, something about a christian heavy metal band named the 'Knee Bangers' and fun conversations about the best science fiction and fantasy novels keeping our spirits up. We made it back to the car by 5 PM.
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  • Start early (before 6 AM) on a busy weekend.
  • Becky route can be climbed by a party of 3 without a cowtail using a single 70m rope halved - students on either end, and the leader tied into the center. 60M rope won't work because Pitch 2/3 are slightly longer.
  • In the Becky Gully, it's best to stick close together to avoid rock falls from picking up speed.