Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - McMillan Spire/West Ridge

3-day climb of W McMillan Spire and The Roost

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

Party size 5

Perfectly dry and sunny weather all 3 days; breezy afternoon/evening conditions at camp kept most of the bugs away.

Day 1 (Sat July 24)
5 AM Ash Way P&R
6:50 Arrive at Marblemount RS, in time for advance briefing on wilderness ethics, utilized separate line for those with advance reservations (leader had lottery reservation)
8:30 AM started hiking from Goodell Creek TH
Lots of blueberries to munch on during the hike uphill
Stopped to get water at 5100’ stream
Descended from 6300’ notch in 2 groups to manage rockfall.
5 PM arrived at Terror Basin camp (5800’)

Day 2 (Sun July 25)
6 AM depart camp
Crossed outlet of glacial lake on snow bridge at ~5450’. This location was marked with cairns. Above, scrambling the clean glacier polished slabs above was very enjoyable. At top of the upper most rock island we put on crampons and took out ice axes. Ascended snow finger using crampons, moving slowly and carefully, managing runout to the extent possible; snow was too hard for true self-belay. Exited snow on right and into a moat, adjacent to some slabs. Rock immediately above and right was loose (likely since it was normally covered in snow) but quickly improved. Class 3 scrambling to summit was enjoyable, not that exposed, and rockfall was not difficult to manage (we all followed same route, no need for separate groups).
11 AM summit
12:30 PM depart summit
1:15 back at snow finger
Set 30m protected down climb at two locations for whomever wished to use. Descended each 30m section one at a time to keep out of each others’ fall lines while utilizing the best line to avoid objective hazards below to the extent possible. Took a long break at rock island where we took off crampons, got water, and enjoyed the amazing scenery.
3:45 PM resumed descent and returned to camp
5:45 PM arrived back at camp

Day 3 (Mon July 26)
7:40 AM departed camp, ascended to 6300’ notch in 2 groups to manage rockfall
Dropped packs near trail at upper portion of stream
10 AM started ascending stream bed to ridge, enjoyed amazing scenery along ridge to summit of The Roost (class 2)
11:20-11:50 AM summit lounging on The Roost
1 PM back at packs on trail at stream
Dinner at Mondo’s
9:30 PM Ash Way P&R

Gear Used:
Ice axe, crampons, helmets, 30m rope, 1 picket