Rapple Grapple, Liberty Bell II 5.8+
Washington Pass, Washington, USA
Avg time to climb route: 1-4 hours
Approach time: 1.5-3 hours
Descent time: 1.5-3 hours
Number of pitches: 4
Height of route: 400'
OverviewRapple Grapple is a good and slightly harder variation of the Beckey Route. With the quality of the climbing and its position, this would be a popular moderate must-climb anywhere else. Unfortunately, it shares two pitches with the mega-classic Beckey Route, which detracts some from its notoriety. Still, it is a great alternative to the Beckey Route as well as a route worth doing in its own right. If the Beckey Route is packed, consider climbing the direct start (5.8) up the right side of the ledge. It isnít even close to as good as the Beckey Route start but it wonít have a lineup.
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Route HistoryBy 1989 Bryan Burdo had the Beckey Route completely wired from soloing it so many times. One day he decided to wonder off route. Burdo was inspired by a lot of the climbing going on in Yosemite at the time; especially John Bachar who had been doing a handful of onsite, ground-up solo first ascents. Bachar would just start up a granite dome on an unclimbed route with his chalk bag and a brush, figuring it out as he went. Burdo was inspired and in September of 1990 decided to try a first ascent in this style, onsite, ground-up, solo. On the first ascent, Burdo recalled in his original North Cascades Rock, ďa clean white dihedral with some nice jamming on clean white rock with maybe a bit of sandiness on the easier part at the top.Ē The climb went off with out a hitch, Burdo later took this onsite solo first ascent style to bigger routes with his solo first ascent of the Fly Catcher Buttress that same summer.
StrategyPitch 1 is part of the Beckey Route and you usually have to share it with another party. But once you get past Pitch
1, this route is rarely crowded and deserves more action. If you ask politely and let the other parties know you plan to climb Rapple Grapple, often you are allowed to cut in. If it is crowded, consider a steep 5.8 that brings you to the ledge one pitch up but this pitch is a little loose and not nearly as good as the Beckey Route start. Off the ledge on the second of Rapple Grapple, the crux is the first ten feet, which consists of a series of semi-reachy finger locks and little feet. It is well-protected and looks harder than it is. Just past the crux, the corner opens up on spectacular white rock with great jams and fun face features. The upper pitch is a little more sandy and not quite as clean, and but is still good. If Rapple Grapple and the Beckey Route are too crowded, consider climbing the Girl Next Door (II 5.9-) that starts just down hill and around the corner and is about the same difficulty. Because you rappel down close to the base of the route, it is not necessary to carry your approach shoes/boots up and over this route. You can pull through the crux on gear, and this is a good place to push your limits. This route dries out quickly after a storm and is also one of the first climbable routes in spring.
Retreat StormRap Pitch 1 (Beckey Route), with one 60m rope from slung trees. After Pitch 2, rappel from a slung boulder. After Pitch 3, take the descent route. From the top, you reverse the climbing route until you can go down the gully at the top of Pitch 3 to the rappels.
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