Trip Report    

Basic Rock Climb - South Early Winter Spire/South Arête

Perfect day with wonderful team

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Patches of snow to the climbers’ trail turn-off, then almost continuous snow coverage up to the base of the climb. Route is snow-free, except for one patch of snow on the sandy ledge.

Our team of four  camped at the excellent and much too empty Lone Fir campground on Friday and Saturday night. We started on the Blue Lake trailhead at 5:15 am to try to beat the crowds on what looked like a gorgeous early summer day with perfect conditions. Although the route is typically crowded on sunny summer Saturdays, the only other people we saw on the rock was a party of two on the South Arete, and our Mountaineer friends on the South-West Rib route.

We enjoyed the classic slab beginning, the chimney and later the white camel / whaleback. There was one patch of snow remaining on the route, just above the third pitch, so we opted to pitch out most of the remainder of the route. Both teams on top by 11am.


Descent: a combination of rappels and downclimbing, with a fixed rope across the whaleback. The other team caught up with us on the way down, so we shared rappels - they used our ropes to rappel pitches 3 and 2, and then set up their rope for a pitch 1 rappel that we all shared - making for an efficient descent and good public relations. On the way down we waved at our friends who were still making their way up the SW rib - looked like gorgeous climbing.


Back at the parking lot by 4pm, with some naturalist sample collecting along the way. Burgers and beer in Mazama capped this beautiful day, as we ran into another group of Mountaineer friends. We were fast asleep by 8pm. 

Photo credit: Julia S. and Emma A.