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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - South Early Winter Spire/South Arête

Route in good shape and was spared the recent Junuary snow storms. Great climb on a mostly cloudy day, only one other party (guided) on route.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Many large blowdowns on the approach trail around 5800 feet.  When you reach these, take a right turn and head straight uphill and you'll gain the higher switchback - this will save you a lot of time trying to navigate the blowdowns.  (We weren't so lucky, in part because we were following the trail noted on the USGS map, which is not the current trail.)

    The storms that dropped a lot of snow in the Cascades over the last week seemed to have almost entirely spared the Liberty Bell group - route on SEWS was virtually snow free and other routes looked the same.

Blue lake parking lot is snow free.  But for extra backcountry ambiance, we camped the night before on snow above the granite slabs on the approach at around 7200 feet.  Got started out of camp ~9:30, started climb ~10:15, back at base of climb ~2:30, back at cars a couple hours later (after packing up camp).  Rain threatened all day, but didn't come down in earnest until we were at the car!