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Liberty Bell
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Liberty Crack 

YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c C2

Type:  Trad, Aid, Alpine, 12 pitches, 1200', Grade V
Original:  YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c C2 [details]
Season: when the North Cascades Highway is open
Page Views: 15,161
Submitted By: Scott Coldiron on Aug 9, 2009

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (51)
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Belay on block atop pitch 6.


Excellent route guide.
good topo

route description to come...


Park at the turnout on the hairpin turn just east of Washington Pass on Highway 20. Walk back toward the pass, look for the pond on the south side of the road. At the East end of the pond, look for the trail heading into the woods. It is often marked with cairns. The Trail will bring you to the East Face of Liberty Bell.

Look to the left side of the East Face. The Liberty Crack is the obvious vertical crack which passes the large roof (2 pitches up)on its right side. Traverse in from the left for 40 feet on third or fourth class ledges. Belay the first aid pitch from these ledges at the base of the crack.


-1 60 m rope will work for a 1 day ascent. If in doubt, bring a tag line.
-1 set micro stoppers.
-1 set offsets,
-1 set reg. stoppers.
-doubles in TCU's or C3's #00-3.
-doubles in cams to 3"(c4 sizes .5-3).
-one #4 cam is optional. 3 48" slings. 12-16 trad draws.
-1 BD cliffhanger or similar hook is usually called for, but it is very easy to do without (even for inexperienced aid climbers).
-extra biners
-2 alpine etriers
-1 jumar 1 webbing loop, 1 Gri-Gri or similar. for jugging. (This method of jugging makes the Lithuaniun Lip easier to follow.
-or 2 jumars and webbing loops.

Note on the rating 

This route has a range of ratings, depending on how much is aided. A few things to keep in mind:

1) The aid is all clean, and probably will seem like C1. No pins or hooks are needed (unless some fixed piece has come out).

2) With the same C1-C2 aid rating, one can do just up to 5.8, 5.9, 5.10, or 5.11 free climbing.

3) The only completely free ascent was done with a pre-placed static rope, and the moves over the Lithuanian Lip apparently has no recorded repeats.

Photos of Liberty Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Turning the lip.  Quite airy and a lot of fun.
Turning the lip. Quite airy and a lot of fun.
Rock Climbing Photo: With haul bag
With haul bag
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 6ish of Liberty Crack
Pitch 6ish of Liberty Crack
Rock Climbing Photo: A few pitches up.
A few pitches up.
Rock Climbing Photo: 2nd pitch linked with scramble.
2nd pitch linked with scramble.
Rock Climbing Photo: Beginning the 2nd pitch on mostly fixed gear.
Beginning the 2nd pitch on mostly fixed gear.
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers above Lithuanian Lip.
Climbers above Lithuanian Lip.
Rock Climbing Photo: E. Face of Liberty Bell.  Liberty Crack on left of...
E. Face of Liberty Bell. Liberty Crack on left of...
Rock Climbing Photo: The 3rd class ledge system is clearly visible at t...
BETA PHOTO: The 3rd class ledge system is clearly visible at t...

Comments on Liberty Crack Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 27, 2016
By Mark SLC
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Aug 27, 2009

Approach (pitch) unroped on 4th class is a little spicy in tennies. Scrambling up in rock shoes would have been better, setting up first belay below the 11 pitch.
We did the crux aid move w/o a hook. Would have been nice, but we didn't think it was needed. But do bring the offsets and micros, you will use them. Superb route.
By BenCooper
Sep 7, 2010

This is a truly classic line up a strikingly steep face, one of the longest sheer granite cliffs in the state. We climbed it in two days, employing the usual fixing of ropes to the top of P3. Fast parties should be able to get up this thing in a long day, and knowing the route now, this is how I would climb it.

There is a ton of fixed gear on this route, including several pins spread out over the free pitches. The aid was straightforward. The hook move is not necessary, but is awesome nonetheless, and why not? It's worth it just to place a hook that could hold a fall!

Anchors are all very good bolts or decently sized trees. Thank you to the party(ies) responsible for placing these and some of the newer protection bolts.
By quinndalina BT
From: Estes Park
Aug 20, 2011

Still snow on the approach, as of 8/13. My only beef was the SHIT on the ledge top of pitch 6 or 7!
If you have to take a shit don't leave it on the ledge MF. PACK IT OUT!
By dirtbag
From: Bellingham, WA
Oct 5, 2011

I'm not a badass free climber or anything and we got it done in 4.5 hrs base to summit with a bit of simulclimbing up to 5.8 and short-fixing the pitches low on the route. Fixed anchors made this easy on us.

If you want to enchain with Thin Red Line as we did (which for comparison took us 8-9 hrs), look into possibly rappelling back to the base instead of hiking off the back then to the black asphalt road (HOT!!!!), which took 3.5 hrs from the notch at the base of the becky route to the start of TRL. If you opt to hike off the back (standard descent), it might be worth having a 2nd car to stash at that TH.

the snow at the base was sketchy with my slick soled tennies and no crampons.
By harihari
Jun 29, 2012

We did this easily in one day no fixing, leaving the car about 9:00 AM and the base of the route at around 11. We finished the raps and the descent gully as it was getting dark.

We brought two alpine aiders for each of us (very light), no pins hammers etc but if I did it again I would bring a couple of bashies, some of those 3-pronged hooks and a hammer as some of the bashies are crap.

I would bring a light alpine axe, no crampons, and not too much gear. Once you are done the roof pitch (bomber A1) which is pretty straightforward the rest is cruiser.

Great route in superb position.
By jdm
Jan 8, 2013

I'll agree with dirtbag and hari. We went car to car in 9.5 hours (7:00 > 4:30), no fixing. This was 22 Sept 2000. It was snowing the night before as we bivvied by the car but the morning was clear as a (Liberty) bell. I was expecting scary old bolts but to my delight it had just been re-bolted.

A question though... where do you use hooks? We only had a regular rack of nuts and Friends.
By jim.dangle
Jul 29, 2013

The link for the route description is in accurate. Steph's Abegg's excellent description can be found here:

By Erroneous Publicus
Jul 21, 2015

Bring a small offset cam (Metolius purple/blue) for the 3rd pitch! I'm no aid wizard, but there is a placement on that pitch where that seemed to be the only thing that would work.
By Salcone
From: Fort Collins, Colorado
Aug 10, 2015

Classic route! Few tidbits of beta. Don't read below if you don't want beta.

1) The approach pitch is 5th class, fyi.
2) "First" pitch is mostly 5.9/5.10 with a couple 5.11 moves. Very free-able.
3) Some pins are loose and probably would not hold a lead fall. Could be hammered more solid.
4) Bashies on pitch 3 are equally sketch, but still holding strong August 2015.
5) Don't need as much gear as you'd expect. Single set micro cams, single set nuts (offsets helpful), doubles .4 - 2 C4s, one #3, no #4. Offset cams helpful. Mostly small finger sizes. I think we placed the grey alien on every single pitch.
6) Fixing lines saves a little time, but only about an hour if you free pitch 1 and aid quickly.
7) Hook? Seriously? That placement is a great pocket and the climbing is 5.9, just free it.

Lastly: If you leave gear at the base, as we did, you can shortcut through the woods off of the Blue Lake trail. Follow trail to its furthest point east, enter woods at that switchback, stay at the same elevation until a boulder field, angle uphill across boulder field, aim for the base of the broken northeast buttress, and voila, you'll recognize it. ~20 minutes of bushwaking from the Blue Lake Trail. Saves at least an hour over going to the highway and hiking back up. But don't try it in the dark.

Has anyone tried descending the gully between Liberty and Concord to the EAST? Looks loose and sketchy but WAY faster than going west.
By Jplotz
From: Wenatchee, WA
Feb 16, 2016

The horror show of fixed heads were replaced with brand new heads.
By calvino
From: Marblemount, WA
Jul 31, 2016

One of the fixed angles pulled out on the rotten block on p7...
By blakeherrington
Oct 27, 2016

Free Climbing Beta

  • P1 is .10+ or .11a with a short crux. Length varies due to snow levels at the base.

  • P2 - is in the .13a/b range (V7ish) - you just need a few small cams or small stoppers. Belay on small ledge under bolt ladder. It's a short pitch and easy to lower down a loop to the belay for hauling up anything.

  • P3 - (~.12b) Moves out right via some .10+ mantels, using the high belay bolt to protect from a factor 2 fall. Finesse some 5.12 slab/face moves, then up the more featured arete and back left, across a final .11+/.12- sequence to the anchor.

  • P4 - There are a couple 5.11+ bits on this pitch, the first is protected by a fixed head maybe 6 or 7m off the belay. The second crux is high on the pitch, where the crack is thin and offset.

  • P5-P12 - If you've free climbed this far, you wont have trouble above P4.
By slim
Oct 27, 2016
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c C2

your pitch breakdown has me a bit confused. do you have one of the usual pitches split into P2/P3, or maybe P3/P4? i just remember p1 being a fingercrack up to the belay spot under the big roof. p2 being the big roof and a bolted slab to a small ledge. p3 being a slab with some heads up to a nice stance below an 8 to 10a crack? in a nutshell, 3 hard pitches instead of 4 (?)

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