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Liberty Bell approach/snow conditions?


Original Post
Sirius · · Oakland, CA · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 600

Hello PNW climbers, 

Heading up your way from CA, would love to take the family up the Beckey Route as an intro to Cascades climbing. Should we expect lots of snow on the approach? 

Is the Beckey a decent choice? Others you'd recommend? Two parents and a tough little 8 yr old with other similar days under her belt. 

Shane Erwin · · Marysville, Washington · Joined May 2014 · Points: 5

Just did it yesterday, the gully was snow filled pretty much the entire way. Snow conditions were good for plunging most the way down, had to down climb part of the gully though. Route was dry and awesome. Surely the hardest and most dangerous part yesterday was getting down the gully. If you haven't looked at the SW face of the tooth, I found that to be a much more inviting approach and the climbing is just as fun!

Sirius · · Oakland, CA · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 600

Shane, thank you! Going to scope read up on the SW Face now.

Shane Erwin · · Marysville, Washington · Joined May 2014 · Points: 5

Seems all the beta I've been reading lately has gotten jumbled around in my head, the route I was referring to was the south face! 

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,085

the beckey route is west-ish facing (meaning morning shade) and in a gully of sorts.  it takes a while for it to get sun.  i did it last year in early july or so, and i wore leather gloves and approach shoes.  i was pretty surprised at how chilly it was.  that being said, on the way down it was in the sun and warming up a bit.  just be prepared that it can be pretty cold, particularly considering that the elevation isn't really that high.

the S face of the tooth is fun and would be a good outing - as long as you do it on a weekday.  if you do it on a weekend, no matter how early you get up there will be a ton of people in front of you.  it is also very popular with beginners, as well as beginners that climb in big groups.  when you combine this with a fair amount of loose rock on the edges of the ledges, rappel ropes coming down on you, etc, i would be a little reluctant to bring a youngster on a weekend day.  when i did it, we waited at the start of the route for 3 hours and the route took the entire day (it just wasn't really feasible to try to pass the non-stop stream of people, up nor down).  it was kind of frustrating in some ways, but my partner was chill so we just had a relaxing day.

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,085

hey sirius, one option i thought of is unicorn peak in the tatoosh range. there are also a few other nearby 'alpiney' summits that could be fun.

Drederek · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2004 · Points: 315
slim wrote:

hey sirius, one option i thought of is unicorn peak in the tatoosh range. there are also a few other nearby 'alpiney' summits that could be fun.

Now I did not think the Beckey route was all that great but to compare Unicorn Peak to it is a disservice.  You must have misremembered.   I couldn't believe I got suckered into carrying a rope and climbing shoes up there!  Unicorn was a cool little peak and certainly worthy of doing but not really a rock climb.

IJMayer · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 90

still lots of snow. axes and being ready to belay up the couloir COULD be useful (depending on skill and comfort).

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,085
Drederek wrote:

Now I did not think the Beckey route was all that great but to compare Unicorn Peak to it is a disservice.  You must have misremembered.   I couldn't believe I got suckered into carrying a rope and climbing shoes up there!  Unicorn was a cool little peak and certainly worthy of doing but not really a rock climb.

i was trying to think of something that is doable for an 8 year old, given the current conditions (tons of snow pretty much everywhere).  kind of a tough question as a lot of the more obvious ones (black peak, etc) have a lot of snow still.  maybe something on one of the twin sisters, or ingalls peaks?

IJMayer · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 90

north twin is quite do-able, and the west ridge should be snow free! the challenge is the 6 mile hike up the logging road. many bring bikes, lucky ones bring dirt-bikes. there is also a campsite if you wanted to walk up in the evening and climb the next day.

Fernando Cal · · Long Beach, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 5

Heading up there from socal tomorrow. With warmer weather these past few days, how are the approaches looking around WA Pass? Much snow?

IJMayer · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 90

I'm sure there will be tons of snow. Bring an axe to guarantee success in the gullies, and have fun glissades back down.

Peter Gonda · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 8

Lots of snow still in WA pass. Watch out during the approach/exit the snow around the boulder fields was thin and weak leading to some treacherous post holing.

Sirius · · Oakland, CA · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 600

^ Truth. We found too much snow for what I was comfortable with. No kids? All good. Little ones in tow? If your risk profile is like mine, better wait.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 483
Sirius wrote:

^ Truth. We found too much snow for what I was comfortable with. No kids? All good. Little ones in tow? If your risk profile is like mine, better wait.

Yup, I punched a foot through a thin bridge over a creek coming out on Saturday. Fine for me, could be REALLY bad for a small kid.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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