Overexposure is the quickest way to the summit of Liberty Bell. Offering two pitches of high quality 5.8 finger crack and liebacking up super clean granite, this route is often climbed as an added bonus after finishing up one of the other routes in the area.
The climb itself is most commonly used as the rappel route for all of the climbs on Liberty Bell. Because of this, it can get very busy later in the day with climbers rappelling off of the spire. Early in the day, however, this little gem is free of crowds and offers a great alternative to its much more popular neighbor, the Beckey Route.
While actually a worthy climb on its own, Overexposure makes a great link up with one or two of the other routes on Liberty Bell or Concord tower if you are making good time.
When linking Overexposure with another Liberty Bell climb, we will often only climb the first two pitches and begin rappelling from there, rather than repeating the fourth class scrambling to the summit. this allows us to get a couple of bonus pitches of high quality climbing in!
Depending on the conditions and fitness, the approach will take between an hour and a half to two and a half hours. The first half of this is on a comfortable and popular hiking trail that goes to Blue Lake. Close to the lake we veer off and head up a steep climbers trail. Climbers tend not to worry about switchbacks and trail aesthetics and prefer to head straight up toward their objective. This section of trail is steep in places and has a few short sections of scrambling on 3rd class rock. Trekking poles are highly recommended for this approach! Early in the season, the approach will require an ice axe and crampons to ascend the steep approach gully.
The climb starts out with some tricky moves right off of the ground at the top of the notch between Liberty Bell and Concord Towers. Since we will be rappelling back to this spot, we usually cache most or all of our gear right here. The climbing is fairly sustained in the 5.7 – 5.8 range and consists of finger cracks and liebacking on the clean granite. The second pitch tops out at the start of the Liberty Bell rappels and your guide will often have these pre-rigged and ready to go when you arrive. If you are continuing to the summit, it's a few hundred feet of fourth and low fifth class scrambling to the top.
The descent is completed by downclimbing the upper sections and then making several rappels down the route back into the approach couloir where we have cached our gear.
Climbers should know how to belay and be comfortable following mid-fifth class rock. We generally leave packs at the base of the climb.
The Obvious combination here is with the Beckey route, though Rapple Grapple is also a guides favorite with 3 pitches of 5.7 finger and hand cracks. More ambitious parties might want to try one of the routes on the North face of Concord Tower. Just across the gully, there are several worthy routes in the 5.7 range.
Recommended reading: Washington Pass Supertopo