South Early Winter Spire/S Arete
Tord Kurthy (Qualified Youth Leader)
Blue Lake Trail Head
**REMINDER** This climb is subject to the PRIORITY CLIMBS LIST. Please verify that your branch has priority for this climb.
The first pitch goes up a short steep crack. At this point, either go right and up (5.5, stretch across slab) to a small tree or go left across a short friction slab (5.5 finger traverse). Then easy climbing up to belay beneath the whitish S corner that splits the arete. The second pitch climbs a gully becoming a chockstone chimney for 100' with a 5.4 move in the chimney. Belay at tree above chimney. Scramble up blocky section (some may want belay) and exit left and walk in coils up a long meandering sandy bench. Cross an exposed sharp ridgeline (belay or fixed-rope) and blocky terrain leading to top of SW couloir. Beware of rockfall from above. Traverse into the top of the SW couloir and ascend it to the top. Exit left and scramble to the summit. Do not ascend or descend the SW couloir instead of the S Arete: This couloir goes just fine, but it has some loose rock in it, it is narrow, and very exposed to party-inflicted rockfall or to any rockfall from parties above, on the normal route. Basic students may lead some after the chockstone chimney if desired. Many parties car camp at the trailhead the night before the climb. There is also good camping in Ross Lake National Recreation Area, an hour or so from the trailhead, as well as beyond Washington Pass in Okanogan National Forest. Packs and items left at the base of the climb should be hung, away from the base, to keep them protected from goats and from rockfall. A popular climb. Start early to beat the rush.
Wearing rock shoes on the climbing route is permissible.