Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Concord Tower/North Face

Single day climb of Concord, Liberty Bell and Lexington on a busy July weekend.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • No snow on trail, some maintenance is being done on the climbers trail after the turnoff from Blue Lake trail.  All trails passable with approach shoes.  Gullies to North side of Concord and Lexington have loose rock and mini gaters would have been helpful to keep sand and rocks out of shoes.  Mosquitos arrived around 2p and were present all the way up Lexington and back to the cars.  Bug spray and head net are recommended.

We arrived at Washington Pass at around 10:30p on Friday and all of the campsites at both Lone Fir and Klipchuck were occupied.  We ended up bivying at the Blue Lake trailhead which had around 10-20 like minded groups doing the same thing.  

We woke around 5a for a 6a start to find another Mountaineers group of 6 from the Kitsap branch was planning to climb Concord that morning as well with a carry over to Lexington.  After sorting out how the Mountaineers site allowed this (Kitsap group listed Lexington with comments that this was a combo with Concord) we hit the trail at around 5:40a and were the first party to arrive at the Concord/Liberty notch at around 7a.  We were planning  to climb the Becky Route on Liberty Bell if time and crowds permitted after Concord and decided to start with Liberty Bell to allow the Kitsap group a chance to get on Concord.  Two groups of two arrived within 5 mins of us at the notch both planning to climb the Becky Route - the second group informed us that the Kitsap group changed their plans and headed for Lexington first.  Upon hearing this, we reverted to our original plan and started with Concord.  We summited at 9a and used a double rope rappel from chains at the summit to arrive back at the ledge above the short first pitch, one final single rope rappel off tat brought us back to the notch by about 10:30a.

When we arrived at the notch, another group of 4 had just arrived planning to climb the Becky Route of Liberty Bell, but let us jump on the route as we were ready to go.  We summitted at noon and savored the views before heading skiers left to a rap station.  A 70m single rope was helpful in avoiding a scramble down from the end of the first rappel.  We then moved the rappel down skiers right through trees to a another belay station.  Two single rope rappels from this station brought us back to the notch by about 1:30p.  

At this point, due to our efficiency on the first two routes and the fact that we all still had energy and plenty of daylight remaining in the day, we decided to attempt Lexington on Saturday afternoon instead of Sunday as planned.  We descended to the base of Concord and traversed south on a well maintained trail.  We could not find the climbers trail ascending the gully to Lexington but rather took a goat trail and did a fair amount of bush-whacking on steep and loose terrain.  On the decent we realized the climbers trail to Lexington ascends from the junction where the main climbers trail splits north to Liberty Bell and south to SEWS and looks like a grassy slope without a trail from below. 

We arrived at he Lexington/Concord notch at around 3:30p and waited behind one party to start the North Face route.  We had an uneventful climb and arrived at the summit around 4:40p.  We left gear on the final scramble pitch to the summit and reclipped the gear as we down climbed to the top of pitch 2.  Protecting this pitch is probably overkill, but it is a little exposed for one of the moves and we preferred the safety of a rope.  We did two single rappels from the top of the second pitch and arrived back at the notch around 5:40p.  We packed up while being attacked by mosquitos and hiked out to the trailhead by about 6:50p for a total trip length of 13 hrs 10 mins car to car.