The Beckey Route on Liberty Bell is one of the most popular alpine rock climbs in Washington State. It is the easist way to the summit of Liberty Bell. "Distinctly sporting climbing, consistently interesting, but nothing severe, on quite sound rock", is how Fred Beckey describes this route. This four pitch climb features a combination of chimneys, moderate cracks, face climbing, an optional lieback, and a short section of friction slab climbing.
The combination of a quick approach, clean granite, solid rock, good protection, and the alpine environment of the North Cascades, make this a very popular climb. Expect lots of company on a warm summer weekend. Try to get on the route early in the morning to avoid getting behind a slow party.
Start at the Blue Lake Trailhead and hike up about 1.25 miles until the first clearing. Find the path ascending up to the notch between Liberty Bell and Concord Tower. Hike all the way up to the high point of the notch then stash your packs. The Beckey Route starts about 100 feet west of the high point. Find a ledge with a tree at the end. Now go around a corner and you will find a short chimney. This is the start of the route.
Pitch #1 - Ascend up an easy chimney (5.3) or to the left on a face with several spots for good protection (5.5). At the top of this, ascend some 5.0 slabs just past a small tree to the base of a harder chimney on your left. 80 feet
Pitch #2 - Climb up the 50 foot high 5.6 chimney then ascend up some 4th class slabs until you run out of rope. Establish a gear belay below the section with the chockstone. 130 feet
Pitch #3 - Climb up to below the chockstone then traverse to your left by moving your fingers as far over as you can in a horizontal hand crack. Now make a long step over unto good foot holds (avoids the 5.6 move). If you smear and grab it is 5.6. Continue up and to your right on an easy 5.4 crack. Establish a belay below the crackless slab. 110 feet
Pitch #4 - Climb up the 12 foot high 5.6 friction slab moving up and to the left. There is a pocket in the bottom right hand corner for a bomber pink #.5 tricam placement. Belay your partner up. 40 feet
Scramble 4th class slabs up to the summit. The rap route is directly down to the high point of the notch. It can be done in 2 sections with 2 60 meter ropes. There is some 3rd class downclimbing between the stations. Move down and to the west to find the second set of rap slings. There are also intermediate rap stations, so only 1 rope can be used.
Some more detailed descent info coutesy of hkutuk:
The descent can be done in 3 rappels with a single 60m rope. To get to the first rappel station down climb a short section from the summit towards west and on your left you will see slings on a tree. From here you can rappel to the second station. 50m rope will not make it to the ground. This rappel avoids the class 3 down climb described in Beckey's CAG. The second rappel station has two good bolts on solid rock. From here rappel to the third station. There are actually two trees with slings, the higher one being the better one. From here you can rappel somewhat diagonally to the notch between Concord Tower and Liberty Bell.
Cams .5 to 3 inches
Set of nuts
6 to 8 24" slings
2 48" slings for natural pro
50 or 60 meter rope
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