The Beckey route is a very moderate route to the spectacular summit of the Liberty Bell. The summit is the best part of the route, offering panoramic views of the peaks of the North Cascades, the Wine Spires, and the Early Winter Spires.
To reach the climb (~2.5mi), hike up the Blue Lake trail until it breaks into a small meadow and begins to curl east toward the lake. Branch off left on a climbers trail that ascends boulder strewn terrain to the base of the gully between Liberty Bell and Concord tower. Ascend the gully to the prominent notch between Liberty Bell and Concord. This gully is loose and unpleasant; be extremely careful of parties above and below you and wear a helmet if you are ascending beneath someone. After being in this gully once in late summer, I promised myself I wouldn't do it again unless it was full of snow.
The start of the Beckey route is about 30' below the notch. Look for a small ledge leading left and traverse it to the base of a blocky chimney. This is the start of the first pitch.
P1. Climb the chimney or the face to its left reaching a large ledge with a tree. 5.3
P2. Continue up the chimney for about 30m, climbing past chockstones and blocky slabs until reaching obvious 3rd/4th class terrain. I think this pitch is the hardest of the climb. Belay from a tree or from gear wherever you find it convenient. 5.5
P3. Ascend the 4th class terrain to a 6 foot finger-crack traverse past a large roof (climbing past a fixed pin) (5.5), then follow a dihedral back to the right and up onto the summit shoulder. Belay from a tree or from gear, use long slings and watch the rope drag.
P4. Shortly after leaving the belay on the ridge to the summit, you will encounter a slabby 5.6 boulder problem ~10' high. After surmounting this obstacle it is easy 3rd/4th class terrain to the summit. If you belay all of this, it will be more than one pitch to the top.
Descent: Downclimb the ridge and the 5.6 boulder problem. Below the boulder problem follow an obvious, tree filled gully down to the east until you encouter the first set of rappel bolts. From here it is possible to reach the ground in 2 single rope rappels. After the first rappel, scramble down and skier's right to reach a large ledge with another set of bolted anchors. We used a 60M rope, I can't say if a 50 would suffice.
A single set of stoppers and cams to 2" will be more than enough. You may want an axe and/or crampons depending on snow conditions in the gully. Also: bug repellent.
|By Bryson Slothower|
Aug 29, 2012
Watch out for goats kicking rocks down the approach gulley!
From: Tonasket, WA
May 27, 2013
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a
What's up with the grade inflation? The Becky Guide (1981, 1st edition) rates this as a 5.5 climb. That seemed about right when I did it in precam days 20+ years ago...
P1 - 5.2, P2 - 5.4 or 5.3, P3 - 5.5 and P4 - 5.0 to 5.5 (depending on one's height)