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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - McMillan Spire/West Ridge

Successful summit.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Snow free for the most part, some snow fingers, crampons/ice axe useful.

Party of 4 over Labor Day weekend.  3 day trip.
Got a permit for Terror Basin at 7am in Marblemount and were hiking in by 8am.  With the heat we took a slower pace and got to camp in 8 hours.  Time to relax for a few hours and hop in a small tarn we camped next to.

FYI - don't trust all climbers out there.  We had a permit for Terror Basin campsite and when we showed up were standing near a tent with 2 climbers talking about where we were going to camp.  We had no plans to camp near anyone else but these two apparently thought we were planning on setting up next to them.  They told us the Terror Basin campsite was another hour hike away (there were no other campsites in the basin).  We wound up finding a great spot well away from the established camp area with our own tarn and running water.

Pretty dry, especially from the last big stream about 3 miles in from the trailhead (the one right before you head up the relentless uphill section).  There was a little water a couple thousand feet up, but don't expect to find much till you hit the basin late season.  We chugged a liter here and filled up a couple more.

The climb was pretty straightforward and navigation to the climb was pretty obvious.  Again, took a relaxed pace for the day and did it in 10 hours, but stopped a lot with long breaks and a long summit break.  Started at 7am, back at camp at 5pm.   

Left camp 7am 3rd day and took 6 hours to get out, which is a more normal pace, but still hot.  95 degrees at the trailhead.

For experienced climbers its a straight up scramble.  For new climbers/basic students the areas to watch for would be the steep root climbing section on the approach, the steep loose rock downclimb into the basin and some steep downclimbing on the route.