American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington—Cascade Mountains, Liberty Bell Mountain, East Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1966

Liberty Bell Mountain, East Face. This 1200-foot face, perhaps the longest in the Silver Star area, was climbed in three days, July 16, 17, and 18, by Steve Marts, Jock McPherson and me. Prior to the final effort, Steve had climbed the first two leads with Alex Bertulis and had fixed two prusik lines. Unfortunately, Alex was unable to accompany us on the climb. Beginning on the left side of the face, three leads of difficult nailing past three roofs places one at the beginning of a crack system which is followed to within 500 feet of the summit. A left-leading ramp and ledge system, identified by a few trees, continues to a broken summit pitch. A route description is as follows. Climb from the left to a single crack which requires difficult nailing up to and over the prominent "Lithuanian Roof” for two leads. The partially hanging second belay is anchored in the three-bolt section 30 feet above the roof. Using a knife-blade and two bolts, gain a small ledge. Continue up difficult nailing and past one bolt to a small overhang, bypassed on the left by a good crack. From a hanging belay, continue up the crack mainly on aid using large angles to a small stance 120 feet above. There are two bolts here where the first night was spent in hammocks. Continue up the crack, using a variety of angles for protection and aid for about 140 feet to another small stance. The sixth lead climbs directly up past a small tree into a dihedral. A small nook atop some loose blocks provides a belay position for the next pitch. Lay- back around the large flake and nail the crack on the left of the large rotten block which overhangs the dihedral. The dihedral and block are prominent when one views the route from below. The lead continues up a rotten crack to a left-sloping ramp which is followed about 30 feet to where one traverses onto the exposed corner for a belay stance on a flake anchored to a bolt. Climbing free and aid for 20 feet gains another left-sloping ramp where free climbing leads past small trees and ledges to a large bushy pine. A somewhat easier pitch continues traversing left up past a large white gnarled stump (which is detached) and then up a chimney to a series of three ledges, the upper being the second bivouac position used. Here one is approximately on the southeast corner of the peak. Climb mainly on aid for 130 feet up another left leading ramp to an excellent belay position. A short dihedral leads to a sandy ledge behind a bushy pine. Climb 130 feet along easy ramps and ledges, after which 150 feet of easy climbing, angling right near the top, leads to within a few feet of the summit. The difficulty of climbing was NCCS F7, A2. Pitons were placed approximately 150 times, and 10 bolts, hangers left on, were placed. A suggested selection of 35 pitons includes 2 3", 1 2½", 2 2", 3 1½", 3 1", and a variety of regular and smaller angles, several horizontals, 4 knife blades, and 4 rurps. Future parties should plan on their first bivouac being hanging or semi-hanging.

Fred Stanley, unattached

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