Liberty Bell Mountain 5/7

Liberty Bell – Beckey Route (5.6)

Liberty Bell Mountain from our car camping site

Liberty Bell Mountain from our car camping site

Katie and Eric

May 7, 2016

Highway 20 was just recently plowed, so Katie and I drove up to Washington pass Friday night and found an excellent plowed pulloff to camp out right at the pass. We had a leisurely morning looking up at Liberty Bell just to our south. The mountain is one of a group of rock spires that are only accessible by rock climbing.

Because the actual trailhead wasn’t plowed, we walked the 1 mile section of road from our pullout to the Blue Lake trailhead, then followed a bunch of skiers into the woods on what was approximately the trail. The ~6ft of snow on the ground up there won’t be melting out any time soon. Within a few hours we’d climbed up the snow gully to the notch between Liberty Bell and Concord mountain. It was icy enough that we appreciated bringing ice axes and crampons.

Here we ditched the packs and changed to rock gear. I led up all 4 pitches of the Beckey route, including some fun chimneys and slab climbs. It was warm and sunny all day, and the only other climbers we saw were ascending the Early Winter Spires. I had read that this route on Liberty Bell was usually very crowded, but I guess the early-season snow approach had deterred people.

We scrambled down from the summit and rappelled from some slings on a nearby tree. Our double ropes just reached a bolted rappel anchor down and to the right of some tree ledges. However, the ropes got tangled up in the trees in between, adding at least an hour of untangling fun. When we finally got the ropes to the boltaed anchor, they reached all the way to the notch. We got back to the car just after sunset.

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Packrafting the Bumping and Naches Rivers 5/1

Katie and Eric

April 30-May 1

We camped out on the edge of the Bumping River Friday night, then stashed our bikes in the woods Saturday morning and drove to the put-in at the Bumping Reservoir. This is in the national forest just east of Mt Rainier, below Chinook Pass.

The Bumping river was fun Class II paddling, but had so many trees fallen over the river that required portaging that we pulled out early and walked back up the road to our car. We finished the afternoon with a fun hike up to Edgar Rock, overlooking the river.

Sunday we decided to raft the Naches river, which is wider and has basically no trees across it. (It looks like they’ve been cut out in many places, and we suspect this is from the rafting guide companies.)

We stashed our bikes just south of Cliffdell at a bridge this time, and drove 8 miles north to put in at another bridge. This time the river only had one section we had to portage around, but was otherwise fun Class II paddling. We made it to the bikes after a few hours on the water, than packed up the rafts in my backpack and biked back to the car.

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Tieton River Climbing 4/23

Katie and Eric

April 23-24

The Royal Columns climbing area on the Tieton River has an excellent collection of cracks to climb right next to the road. We spent a few days climbing here, and found an amazing campsite Saturday night up some rough dirt roads on the top of a plateau overlooking the Tieton River.

Royal Columns cracks

Royal Columns cracks

Campsite overlooking the valley

Campsite overlooking the valley