Liberty Bell – Beckey Route (5.6)
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.