American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington, Cascade Mountains, Middle Peak of Liberty Bell

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1951

Middle Peak of Liberty Bell. On the Memorial Day week end in 1950, Dick Widrig, Wesley Grande and I trudged through snow over most of the 16 miles of the Early Winter Creek Trail to Washington Pass, which is a few miles N. of Lake Chelan in the Cascade Mountains. Just S. of this pass are the three peaks that make up the main mass of Liberty Bell Mountain. The N. and S. peaks had been climbed; the middle peak, as yet untouched, was our objective.2

We approached the peak by the W. side and easily moved up to the base of the tower, where we considered possible routes up the remaining 400 ft. It was decided to work up the steep snow couloir that led to the col between the middle and S. peaks, even though it was cut about halfway up by a large rock cave or overhanging formation. This plan seemed at least possible, since the lip of the overhang was only about 40 ft. above the snow. Actually, this proved to be the bottleneck of the climb: only after practising an odd variety of climbing tricks were we able to force a passage up the partially ice-covered rock. I am sure that later in the year, when snow is not there to help, this route would be impracticable.

About 200 more ft. of the snow couloir brought us to the col, where we donned tennis shoes—necessary for the moderately difficult rock work ahead (200-300 ft.). Climbing was further complicated by a freezing wind and driving snow particles. On arriving at the summit, we hastily constructed a cairn. We then made a speedy descent to high camp, where several inches of snow fell that evening.

P. Schoening

2G. Johnson, Mountaineer, XXXIX (1947), 49.

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.