A PNW Summer – Part 2
A few days after our nations birthday, Allen and I headed out to climb the Becky Route on the Liberty Bell. The route is a moderate, yet extremely classic climb in a dramatic spot, right on the Cascade Crest.
There was so much snow that we were able to skin right from the car to the base of the technical climbing.
Our objective came into view (the left-most high point)
I led the way up the gully. Later in the season this choss-filled approach gully is probably the most dangerous part of the route.
Mountain goats were everwhere. You had to be careful where you left your pack; goat were aggressively pursuing sweat-salt.
As I built the anchor at the start of the climb, almost exactly where the goat in the previous photo is standing, yet another goat walked past me on the ledge. They really aren’t shy at all.
Fun climbing + sun + great views = smiles.
The views from the top were spectacular. To the east, the land becomes arid, and very “colorado” looking. To the west; glacier capped peaks with dense old growth forests cloaking their flanks. The contrast is striking… just like this pose:
These mountains are what I like to call “little-kid” mountains: jagged triangular peaks that clearly define a horizon. You know, like a kid might draw.
We headed down as the sun got lower in the sky. The main hairpin on SR20 is visible in the background.
This photo pretty much sums up the day.
Bringing skis turned out to be a very smart move. We managed to save a ton of time getting back down to the car. In the background the glacial-clad peaks I spoke of earlier are visible.
The skiing got a little spicy in places.
Our trip to the Liberty Bell stands out in my mind for a number of reasons. Besides the fact that it was simply a ton of fun, it was also one of the least contrived multi-sport days I’ve ever had. Sure, I’ve skied and climbed in the same day on more than a few occasions, but never as part of getting to the top of one objective. Further, I first got interested in climbing not to do the hardest boulder problem there ever was, but to get to the top of interesting high places in the mountains. With that in mind, rock climbing often felt quite contrived… why climb several pitches of hard rock, when you could easily walk around and get the same view? The Becky route had none of this. Skiing was the easiest and fastest way to and from the base of the climb, and the route we chose to climb was the easiest way up the mountain (ie. if the summit was the goal, we weren’t needlessly adding difficulty). It felt pretty cool.
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