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3rd free ascent [TR] Liberty Bell - Thin Red Line - Free Ascent -

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Trip: Liberty Bell - Thin Red Line - Free Ascent - V 12c


Date: 7/14/2010


Trip Report:

On July 14th Max Hasson and myself made the likely 3rd free ascent of the Thin Red Line on the intimidating and sheer east face of Liberty Bell.




This neo-classic hard free climb was established in Fall of 2008 by Mikey Schaefer and Kate Rutherford and repeated by Jens Holsten and Drew Schick in Fall of 2009. Mikey did a great job maintaining the character of the route as an aid climb while establishing the free version. A variation to pitch 4 was established (P5 on the free version), one bolt was replaced past the pendulum on pitch 5, and a new pin was placed (which later pulled so is no longer there) on the A2+ double roof 5th pitch.


The route is very technical with mostly short crux's on small holds. There is plenty of manky fixed gear and very few straight forward cracks.


We spent one day the previous week checking out the first 6 pitches in pretty warm conditions. Funny enough our good friends Jens and Jessica were at times a high five away climbing the Freedom or Death variation to Liberty Crack. We chatted and monkey-called back and forth as if it were another day in the icicle.


The plan was to return on Tues of this week for the climb but our morning arrival was met by intermmitent sprinkling, a strong wind and frigid temperatures, too cold to free climb, so we spent a day idling around mazama, forcing ourselves not to climb, and resting up for the next day. Conditions the next day were much improved with warmer though ideal temps and a light sending breeze, the psych was high. Max was on a straight crushing spree and had a very impressive no-falls ascent, I on the other hand had to dig very deep to send this one, having to pull the rope once leading the crux fifth pitch, it took me four tries to send the sixth pitch clean, and three to send the final difficult 8th pitch. I couldn't stop thinking about what Mikey Schaefer said in his recent Town Crier Free TR: "In reckless desperation I let out a scream and dug deeper into the core of why I climb and found the remaining strength I needed to keep climbing," if he tapped in to that shit, I had to straight Keg Stand it.


Free Version Beta is as follows:


P1: 5.10- As recommended we began on P1 of Freedom or Death, a mixed bolted and gear protected face. Clip the anchor to FOD and then traverse right to the P1 anchor of TRL.


P2: 5.11+ Move right off the anchor and surmount the first of two bulges with funky moves and mostly fixed protection, some of it manky. It is a short pitch which ends with a gear belay on a ledge to the left of a smooth arching corner.


P3: 5.11+ Move up into the slick corner via stemming and palming with intermittent gear. The crux comes as you transition into the left arching section with a key moss jug and notoriously wet holds. Ends at a bolted anchor with a very poor stance.


P4: 5.11- Move up into the roof via a straight-forward corner, move left out the roof with funky fixed pro. From the left exit of the roof follow small holds onto FOD, clip two bolts with long slings before moving right back onto TRL and a bolted anchor.


P5: 5.12 The crux. Move right off the belay leaving the original aid line. Airy 5.10 slab climbing past 3 bolts leads into a corner with a fixed pin and some gear. Difficulties heighten as you continue to an awkward stemming and arete pinching crux past 3 more bolts with a final reachy crux thrown in before you arrive at two bolts (very poor stance) or continue past 3 fixed heads to a decent stance and a gear belay.


P6: 5.12- Continue into the corner past a first easier roof into a second roof with a powerful crux sequence. Originally Mikey placed a fixed pin that later pulled on a free attempt. Currently the crux is "protected" by a questionable fixed bird beak. As recommended we first aided the roof placed a high yellow alien with a long sling. Pulled the rope and sent using the pre-placed piece. Bolder climbers will simply clip the beak and crush... The pitch ends at a fixed pin belay with a poor stance, but a gear belay with a slightly better stance can be set a bit lower.


P7: 5.10 Climb past fixed geat straight above the belay before moving right on a slick ramp and into a loose though moderate corner with leads to a big ledge, traverse right to a bolted belay.


P8: 5.12-/11+ This pitch begins with funky technical moves past manky fixed heads before finally reaching a bomber pin and a hard final series of moves to a small ledge, move left onto an easy ramp into the moderate and long final corner. Max linked both P8 and P9 into a mega 60m finale. His onsight was very impressive with mucho rope drag and a sting in the tail 59m from the belay, best to seperate these with a hanging belay from a manky old bolt and some gear.


P9: 5.10+ Continue up the corner with moderate crack climbing before a final sting in the tail reaching a good ledge with a fixed pin.


The standard though in-obvious final pitches lead to the summit.


More pics to come when I get ahold of Max's photos. For now here are a few.



Max following P1 of Freedom or Death




Jens following the crux 5.12 slab on P3 of Freedom or Death





Nearing the slick crux on P3





Starting the airy 5.10 slab on P5





Moving into the business






Gear Notes:

Doubles from blue alien to BD .75, single #1-#3, draws and slings. Couple of small nuts. We brought a tag line and hand hauled a bag for the first 9 pitches.

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nice work Sol! I still just want to get around to aiding that rig some day.


i'll be over there Wed. let's have a beer or climb or float or something.




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Way to go guys!!! So stoked to see that thing getting some traffic.


Is TRL possibly the best long hard granite free climb in the state?


Interesting to see your ratings for the pitches. I always have a hard time rating things especially while on the first free.


Here's how I'd break it down.


p1 5.10-

p2 5.12- (kate thought closer to 5.11 than me. maybe its reachy?? )

p3 5.11- (kate thought 11+)

p4 5.10+, maybe 11-

p5 5.12c AWESOME pitch!

p6 5.12/+ For me this was just as hard to send as the last pitch. Same goes for Kate, in fact she didn't send this pitch but did the one below, if i remember correctly. Maybe this shows our lack of steep sport climbing ability.

p7 5.10

p8 5.11+ Again Kate thought this pitch was harder. Nice onsight by Max. I tried to onsight this pitch on our send day and got a little pushed around by dirt and funky pro. Had to pull the rope.




Oh bro not sure I just "tapped the Keg!" on TC... Believe me looking at a 50+ ft fall at the end of the day on 12+, with temps in the 90's, and climbing essentially by brail was more like "shot gunning" the keg of stoke. That was hands down the scariest and hardest thing I've done in years.



Who's up next on TRL? I know their are plenty of 5.12 climbers in this state, right??





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Sol following P2





following P4



Sol leading P5





All photos except for the summit shot in the dark are from our recon trip. Hauled the camera up last week but was a little too focused on the climbing. Sol's 'keg stand' of inspiration ranks high among the raddest feats of climbing I've witnessed. After three heart wrenching goes following the sixth pitch he somehow found the energy to pull it off and I almost cried. Interesting to see your grading breakdown Mikey, I hear you on the difficulty of rating stuff, definitely some reachy moves on that route, at least the way I did it. Double toe hooks on the roof pitch sound familiar? Excellent work on the Upper Wall by the way, hit me up if you're in the neighbourhood, we should go to the Drip Wall. Linking the last two pitches to M&M is definitely not the way but is a great challenge, the last couple feet to the ledge were intense to say the least. WA Pass is an amazing place.



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Way to go Max!


Ya linking the pitches to M&M would be kinda miserable. I had massive amounts of a rope drag that forced me to stop before M&M on a small perch/ledge out to the left before the final steep bit. I think thats the way to go.





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My friend Scott and I did this a few weeks ago and concur with Mikey, Max, Sol, et al - this one gets my vote for best rock climb in Washington. You can also rap the first 6 pitches with a 70m rope for a great half-day climb with short approach. All the harder pitches are just short enough to allow the leader to untie and throw down their end of the 70m rope and haul up a pack - no need for a tag line.


Scott made a freeclimbing topo - Scott's writeup




Crux pitch: good 'til the end



Double roofs on pitch 6





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