Type: Trad, Alpine, 3 pitches, Grade II
FA: Fred Beckey, Jerry O'Neil, Charles Welsh 1946
Page Views: 45,322 total · 288/month
Shared By: ScottH on Feb 17, 2006 with updates from Marc Sarracino
Admins: Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick

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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.

Note: There is a rappel station just below the summit that you can use to avoid the boulder problem down-climb described above. From the summit go back the way you came up, but veer to skiers' left and look for a groove in the rock. Take caution on slabby down climb and you will see a couple slings wrapped around a tree with double rings. Note: A 60-meter rope will make it down to the large ledge below. The next rappel station is a skier's right down-climb scramble, leading you to a cliff; look right, you'll see a rock ledge and bolts on a wall. From those bolts on rappel trend skier's right towards a large tree with a small platform next to it. The last set of bolts will be on the wall skier's left of the tree. The 60-m rope is more than enough to drop you in the gully where you started.


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.
Bryson Slothower
Portland, OR
Bryson Slothower   Portland, OR
Watch out for goats kicking rocks down the approach gulley! Aug 29, 2012
Tonasket, WA
applewood   Tonasket, WA
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) May 27, 2013
DJ Reyes
Northern Nevada
DJ Reyes   Northern Nevada
Climbed this a couple of weeks ago and I really enjoyed it. the climbing is fine, but nothing really special, but the setting, scenery, views and location.....that's what make this route spectacular. It is probably closer to 5.5 than 5.6. Jul 31, 2014
Colin Chupik
Bainbridge Island, Washington
Colin Chupik   Bainbridge Island, Washington
Amazing route with great views and fun climbing. Descent: There is a rappel station above the gully that you can use to avoid the 5.6 downclimb. From the summit go back the way you came up but veer to the left (skiers left). Look for a groove in the rock you can climb down and you will see a couple slings wrapped around a tree. A 60 meter rope will make it down to the gully below. The next rappel station is towards skiers right in the gully on a ledge. Aug 12, 2014
Nick Sweeney
Spokane, WA
Nick Sweeney   Spokane, WA
Colin's descent beta is spot on. I was glad to not have to downclimb that boulder problem.

I agree with the comments about grade inflation, but 20 years ago was definitely not the pre-cam days... that was 1993. I thought pitch three was really easy, definitely easier than pitch two.

Two star climbing with a 4 star summit... I'll say 3 stars and call it a day. Jul 5, 2015
To add to Colin's Descent line [can confirm, spot-on].

Rap off the trees into gully. Go down a bit and go to the right at the Y, it'll lead you to a cliff, but if you look right, you'll see a step-up ledge and bolts on a wall directly past it.

From those bolts on rappel trend towards the skier's right to an upper tree big enough to sling, when you land on the platform next to it, there'll be another set of bolts on the wall skier's left of the tree. Hard to see the bolts from above. [In fact, I didn't see them until I made it to the upper tree and had a sling prepped on it before noticing them...:D ] Jul 31, 2015
Daniel Bookless
Portland, OR
Daniel Bookless   Portland, OR
Climb the SW Rib of SEWS instead; The approach is 1000x less obnoxious. If you do have your heart set on this legendary climb. Consider early season when the gully still has snow. The SW face of Lib Bell involved a fare amount of technical fifth class, more than expected. However with the death trap approach and the scores of people I can't honestly recommend this climb given there are dozens of other climbs in the immediate vicinity. None the less four star summit with four star climbing partners. Aug 17, 2016