After a weather day and no immediate high pressure system in sight, Brian and I decided to try rock climbing. We drove to the eastern side of the North Cascades to attempt the Beckey Route on Liberty Bell Mountain. We got a rather late start at 4:00 in the afternoon and started hiking towards Blue Lake on a well-established hiking trail. After 50 minutes, we cut off the main trail and started scrambling towards the base of the route. The ascent gully for this climb was loose and rotten. The weather was holding out, but just barely. Clouds surrounded the neighboring peaks and visibility was limited. We got to the first pitch and decided to give it a shot despite the questionable outlook.
Brian took the sharp end on pitch 1 and climbed the ridge/face to the right of the chock stone chimney start. There were a couple of fun and tricky moves, but the whole pitch and climb protected well. After the initial ridge eased up, he scrambled to the base of pitch 2 and set up a tree anchor. I grabbed the rack for pitch 2 and headed up. The initial few moves were awkward and challenging, but as I said the climb protected well and there was plenty of gear placements. This chimney was a bit sustained and had three or four challenging sections. Once again, it eased up considerably after exiting the chimney and I scrambled up to another tree anchor. I led out on pitch three, which started out on easy slabs, to some more interesting climbing in the middle of the pitch. I found a fixed piton and then placed a cam to a traversing hand crack. I got a couple of nuts in the crack to finish the pitch to easier ground and a scramble to a third tree anchor. Brian finished the route by leading pitch 4 and the unprotectable 5.6 bouldering problem which led to a fun class 4 scramble to the summit.
On the summit, we were rewarded with a brief view of the surrounding mountains as the clouds opened up ever so slightly. Time was short since we got such a late start, so we only stayed on the summit for about ten minutes. We did a short rappel off the bouldering problem and then scrambled down to the first set of bolted rappel anchors. This took us to another set of bolted anchors, which deposited us back to the notch and base of the route. We packed up the gear and scrambled back down to the main trail. We ended up hiking out in the dark and arrived back at the trailhead at 10:00. Beers were then consumed in a roadside tavern near Winthrop, Washington. To bookend our trip to the Pacific Northwest, we drove back to the Marblemount Ranger Station and slept under the stars again before driving back to SeaTac and flying home the next day.