Liberty Bell - Beckey Route, August 2002
I wanted to introduce Agata to the allure of alpine rock climbing. My challenge was to find a complementary peak/route that didn't entail an overly lengthy or unpleasant approach. Flipping through the "Selected Climbs" v.1 guide book, I soon discovered that there are numerous quality alpine rock routes at a moderate grade and with relatively short approaches in the Washington Pass area. Soon thereafter a plan to climb Liberty Bell and time permitting, South Early Winters Spire was hatched.
Pitches 1 and 2 were relatively straight forward. I particularly enjoyed the short cave section on the first pitch. Pitch three starts out easily enough but takes a right (not a left) after the short (5.6) finger traverse (see sling) protected by a piton. Either have a long sling handy (about 3x longer than mine) or avoid clipping into the piton entirely to keep rope drag down to a minimum. I ventured off-route to the left and was forced into doing a 5.HARD move up and over a slanting foot-free crack with only marginal holds for the left hand. I ended up aiding off of a cam and wedging my leg into the crack managed to crawl out onto the slab above. (more...)
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