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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - South Early Winter Spire/South Arête

Great, overcast day on SEWS South Arête. Relatively quick climb on a surprisingly quiet route

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • There was some snow on the ground at the beginning of the trail, nothing requiring any traction.  Most of the route is snow free, until the final approach to the climb.  We didn't need crampons/ice axes, but in colder weather I could see a need for an ice axe on the way down.  Climbing route was in great shape.

    There were a couple big boulders in fairly precarious positions in the scramble section after the second pitch.  Make sure to watch your footing - it would be potentially disastrous to dislodge them in that spot.

We left the parking lot at around 6am to try to stay ahead of any other groups coming up.  Made good progress towards the climb and reached the bottom of the climb in just under two hours.  The approach was mostly in good shape, though it helped that the night before was pretty warm so the snow was soft enough to easily kick steps in.

Our group of eight made good progress climbing up the route, mostly scrambling past the second pitch.  We set up a handline on the whale-back section and scrambled up to the top of the spire.

 We didn't encounter anyone on the route until we reached the whale's back.  On the way back we passed a couple small parties making their way up, but overall the route was a lot less busy than I anticipated.  We did three single rope rappels after scrambling down part of the route (note that a 60m rope does not quite reach from the chimney to the bolts on the last rappel, make sure to not forget the knots at the end of the rope!!!).

All in all a great day on SEWS, with about a 10 hour car to car trip.