|Liberty Crack, Liberty Bell spire in the North Cascades|
Summer usually starts in the Northwest on July 5th, and this year was no exception. Faced with 100 degree forecasts and a still-injured ankle, my wife and I headed up to the spires at Washington Pass where we hoped to find no bugs, cool temps, and short approaches. We still got fried by the sun, but 2/3 is good enough.
I taught Allison how to Jug after we bicycled a few miles out the "Fridge" boulder in Leavenworth. She made 2 trips up the 15' overhanging face, and declared herself ready for a grade V alpine wall.
Despite missing our alarm, we still made the mandatory breakfast stop at the Cinnamon Twisp Bakery, and the sun was going 100% when we started hiking up from the car at 9:30 or so.
The first pitch goes free at 5.11- to a bolted anchor below the Lithuanian Lip, so I led in rock shoes, and then just kept aiding that way. As Allison jugged P1, I hand-tied a 3-loop aider from a 48" sling, and girth-hitched a couple runners to my belay loop.
Allison jugged with one pocket aider to stand in, one jumar, one cinch, and a single daisy. She kept her tennies on for a bit of freeclimbing out of the moat, and then 3 pitches of jugging.
Despite a bit of a delay as she fought her way out the "Lithuanian lip" roof on p2, she did great. I was a slow aid-climber, but found a standard granite freeclimbing rack (plus a couple offset aliens) proved sufficient for the climbing. Rather than bring a sky hook for the route's one reputed hook move, I just used the hole as a finger pocket and reached up. Top-stepping on a lower piece would likely work as well.
After the first 3 pitches, the remaining ~900' of climbing was really fantastic. We were in the shade, no wind, no storms, no clouds, and the rock was great. Nothing was too tricky, and we both enjoyed stashing our few aid-specific pieces of gear and just climbing the long cracks, ramps, quartz knobs, and chimneys.
Living in Leavenworth, on the East edge of the mountains, we never get to see sunsets, so we hung around on top of the peak until the sun went down, even though it meant that our snowy, single-headlamp descent was going to be done in the dark.
We used this topo:
(and suggest using many slings on p7, then link 8&9, 10&11)
|Allison near the top of pitch 9|
Nuts and Bolts:
2x cams from purple TCU to #2
1x #3 Camalot
1x Blue/Green Alien, Green/Yellow
1x set of wires with some small ones and green and yellow HB offsets - no large wires needed
10 slings, 2 long ones, a drom bag full of water, and a nalgene.