Hells Bells’ Northwest Face II WI3, M3+ by Dean Lords

Dean Lords and Brian Wood, June 2002

The Northwest Face of Bell Mountain is cut by two large gully systems, separated by a large steep fin or rib. Hells Bells ascends the left gully and the upper section of the center ridge to where it connects with the North Ridge. This route is very temporary and requires specific Spring conditions to form. On our ascent, we found ice between 1 and 2½ inches in thickness. Approach via Bell Mountain Creek (Basinger Canyon) or Black Creek Canyon to a point directly below the Northwest Face. Ascend steep snow to the bottom of the left hand gully, which is at this point a very narrow couloir.

Climb a few hundred feet up this lower portion on moderate steps of thin ice mixed with some rock scrambling. A small ledge system is reached at the base of the crux pitch. Ascend a thin flow of water ice and some tricky mixed climbing (WI 3, M3+) and back into the couloir. Climb this winding section of couloir for one and a half rope lengths on thin water ice to where the couloir opens up into a wide bowl. Climb up and right to the crest of the central ridge. The rest of the climb ascends this ridge and includes some fun exposed rock climbing to where it connects with the North Ridge. Follow the North Ridge a few hundred feet to the summit. Descend the Southwest Gully.