The Girl Next Door, Liberty Bell II 5.9-
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'
OverviewThe Girl Next Door is a great option if the Beckey Route or Rapple Grapple is too crowded. The climbing isn’t nearly as classic or sustained, but the lack of crowds as well as its fairly sound rock and fun exposure near the top make The Girl Next Door a worthwhile outing. Though it is a newer route, first climbed in 2011, the rock is solid, surprising clean, and will get even better with time. The Girl Next Door is mostly 5.7 climbing with only a short section of 5.9- that protects well and sports a clean fall.
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Route HistoryLarry Goldie and Paul Butler first climbed The Girl Next Door in September of 2011. Goldie described it this way: “Spending so much time guiding at Washington Pass, I am always looking for new moderate routes up there. One day, while climbing on Concord Tower, I began looking across at Liberty Bell at what appeared to be a pretty obvious crack system. I couldn’t see all of it, but it sure looked to have some potential. I especially liked the idea of not having to ascend the full length of the Beckey gully, which has turned into a dreadful rubble heap.
“I returned the next day with Paul Butler, intent on climbing the five spires in a day. As we were approaching Liberty Bell, I pointed out the line to Paul. He was keen to give it a try, so we began working our way up it. In what I can only guess was the first time of many that this will happen, another party ascending the gully warned us that we weren’t on the Beckey Route. We thanked them and continued up. Paul led the crux, and I kept us out of the crowds up higher by staying off to the left of the Beckey Route where the two climbs come together. “We continued our traverse with each summit providing some unique spin. On Concord we helped some climbers whose ropes were stuck while linking the two raps down the south side. We completely rebuilt the rap anchor mess on top of Lexington Tower, and then quickly rapped off and headed to NEWS for the highlight of the day. Once at the base of NEWS, I realized that I had left all of the runners on the summit of Lex in a moment of inattention. We decided to go back to retrieve them and in the process, established another new route on the West ridge of Lexington. This route could use a fair bit of cleaning and a bolt or two, but was a fun adventure and a great finish to a day that was far from the typical day at the Pass.”
StrategyThe Girl Next Door starts just downhill and around the corner from its popular neighbor, the Beckey Route. This is a new route, first climbed in 2011, and still has some loose rock but not much. Its moderate rating and close proximity to the Beckey Route mean it is cleaning up fast. Pitch 1 is mostly low angle easy 5th class, but it is runout at times. Pitch 2 has by far the most challenging moves of the route, but the crux is short, has excellent protection and good stemming rest, all of which make it a good option for those breaking into the grade. On Pitch 3, rejoin the Beckey Route or climb up one of the best pitches of The Girl Next Door on a fun and exposed arête. Most pitches on The Girl Next Door are long, and some parties might want to break them up, or determine ahead of time forms of communication other than shouting. Like other routes on the west side of Liberty Bell, you can leave your approach shoes at the bottom, if you can put up with a three minute walk downhill after finishing the rappels at the end.
Retreat StormThe Girl Next Door dries out quickly after a storm and is a great route to climb early in season. There are fixed anchors atop Pitch 1 and trees at the top of Pitches 2 and 3. From the top of Pitch 3 you could skip the summit and descend the Overexposure Route.
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