Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Lexington Tower/North Face & Concord Tower/South Face

WaPass two-fer of climbs with fun ridge traverses on a beautiful day.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The Blue Lake trail and climber's trail to Liberty Bell (thanks to the Access Fund) were in great shape, but the goat trails and gully up to the notch were... goat trails and a gully.  As available beta suggests, climber's left is preferable.

Our group of six started out from the Blue Lake TH at 5:00AM with headlamps on and made quick progress to the point where we needed to leave the now well-maintained climber's trail to Liberty Bell and head for the notch between Concord and Lexington.  To help other parties with navigation, this picture shows Concord on the left and Lexington on the right as seen from the approach:


As suggested in other beta, climber's left in the gully was the lesser of the available evils for the ascent to the notch.

We were the first party at the notch and split into two groups: one group of two teams of two to climb Concord S and a separate team of two to climb Lexington N.  The groups planned to swap routes after completing each.  Thanks to being on adjacent routes, our groups were within earshot and sight of each other.  We did encounter a number other parties during the day either on the summit of Concord or at the belays on Lexington and were able to get some pictures of another Mountaineers group on the Beckey Route.  Each team of two brought a 60m rope and a modest rack to taste.  (For example, nuts, cams 0.3-3 with some doubles in 0.4-#2, and a pink tricam for the top of Concord.)

For Concord S, we followed the beta from Nicholson's Washington Pass Climbing book, ascending the face on the far climber's right.


We established an initial belay (a finger-size cam and a sling in a thin thread-through) after traversing gravelly ledges to the easternmost edge of the notch, a second belay at the first significant set of trees on the face, a third belay at a sandy flat area just before the "shark fin" (#2 and a #3 behind a flake), and a fourth belay from the bolts on the summit.


The group of four made a double-rope rappel all the way to the notch, and the group of two made two single-rope rappels using intermediate chains part way down the face.


For Lexington N, we also followed the beta from Nicholson's Washington Pass Climbing book, establishing an initial belay at the right-leaning hand crack, successive belays at the rap anchors, and a gear anchor on the summit.  As suggested, each group left gear in place and re-clipped/cleaned it on the downclimb.


All in all, it was a fun day of climbing with two summits, and everyone was back at the cars by 3:30 for 10.5h car-to-car.