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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - South Early Winter Spire/Southwest Couloir

SEWS Gully climb

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • We climbed it two days after the pass opened.  It appeared we were the first in the gully route for the year.   Overall the conditions were great IN the gully.  There was a number of recent climax avalanches in the basin in general and some shallow wet snow slides that afternoon, which motivated us to get off quickly after we summited and back down to the trees.  

    Due to the snow cover we were able to snowshoe straight up the basin and cut miles off what the trail would have required.  

Once we approached SEWS it was quickly apparent the gully was full of snow and in great shape.  The boulder at the base of the gully was completely covered in snow and about 45 degrees. We roped at the base of the gully and only did running belays on the middle/upper gully where it became steep.  The dog leg bend, often melted out on past trips, was snow covered with about 2' of firm snow.

The summit block was mostly snow free on the class 2 rock for the final 50-75' to the top.  

We did two double rappels to get down past the steeper sections of the gully and down climbed the rest.