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About Us > Adventures > Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell 6/14/02

Liberty Bell via the Beckey Route is one of the most popular alpine routes in the Washington Pass area of the North Cascades. For that reason, four of us (Mike Strauss, Brian Miller, Doug Schurman and Courtenay Schurman) from the Seattle Mountaineers chose to do an Express climb during the week, and headed up Thursday evening to car camp, in order to put us in good position to be the first ones climbing Friday morning. As we left our cars at 5:55 a.m. Friday, there was nobody else in sight. We delighted in our luck, thinking of escaping the heat wave in Seattle the day before, and enjoying the pleasant temperature of the early morning hours on snow.

The ascent to the base of the route took merely 1.5 hours, and with snow still in the gully, it was a simple matter of kicking steps to the top of the gully where both the Beckey Route (up the SW face of Liberty Bell) and North Face and Cave Route of Concord Tower begin. We took time to change into rock shoes, organize our gear into fanny packs so we would have an easier time in the chimney, and then we started up the low-5th class rock.

Liberty Bell has a little of everything – chimney climbing, cracks, friction, great views, and some scrambling – on solid rock with plenty of opportunities for natural and man-made protection. It’s a great first multi-pitch climb for people fairly new to leading (up to 5.7). Our plan was to climb both peaks in a day, and when we reached the top of Liberty Bell at 11 a.m. we were in great position to do just that. After a few quick summit shots, we downclimbed the 5.5 (5.7 in some resources) friction slab, scrambled down to the first rap station, and then did two single (60 m.) rope rappels to the notch by noon. After a few bites to eat, we headed down the gully to the start of Concord Tower.

However, the North Face was still in shadows, and there was enough snow melting higher up in the notch to make the start of the climb quite wet, slimy and cold, so we decided that one success was good enough and we headed back to the cars by 2 p.m. Clark’s Cabins (known fondly by Mike Warren as “the bunny place”) was open and serving lunch, so we relaxed there while slurping shakes and munching fries and chicken sandwiches. Ah, the Freedom of the Hills – and the freedom to enjoy mid-week climbs without swarms of people having the same idea!

Following are pictures in order taken.

Brian Miller & Doug take a water break at the base of Liberty Bell, Concord Tower and Minuteman (left to right)

View West from the notch between Liberty Bell and Concord Tower

Court leads up the chimney on the second pitch. Rated 5.Awkward for some

Approaching the chockstone

Maybe it's time to go around

Whew! Nice place to sit and contemplate

Okay, going for the next chockstone

Made it!

Looking North to South South Early Winter Spire over Concord Tower

Doug climbs up the third pitch toward the top

Doug friction climbing with Brian looking on at the top

Court & Doug on the summit

Mike and Brian on top

Downclimbing with handline in case


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