Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Le Petit Cheval/Spontaneity Arête

One day trip up the Spontaneity Arete route on Le Petit Cheval.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The climbers trail is easy to follow with lots of cairns in the avalanche clearing and the fall colors of the undergrowth are incredible at the moment.  There are three fixed lines with knots strategically tied at the rock steps to help get you through the cliff bands to the base of the arête feature. 

    This is a photo looking down the ascent/descent climbers path with the avy clearing, forest around Early Winters Creek, and the SR20 road cut at the top of the image.


Our party of 3 set out from the parking to descend down to Early Winters Creek at 9:00 a.m. after driving to WA Pass that morning. 

The first pitch of Spontaneity Arête is pretty obvious (as the guide book says, if you go into the descent gully you’ve gone too far) although the webbing marking the start of the route referred to in the Super Topo guidebook was not there (we could see blue webbing well off to the left on First Amendment).  We climbed through the first pitches easily and quickly.  We took the beta to trend 20’ right on the 3rd pitch earlier than we should have and ended up in more crumbly rock than we would have preferred but climbed back up to the ridge and quickly moved up to the base of p4.  Note, the route is essentially broken into two “halves” so stick to the ridge (or just right of the ridge in the case of p2) through the first three pitches, then untie and hike uphill on the left side of the gully to regain the ridge and at the start of p4.

We sought out the 5.7 “steep hands bulge” at the beginning of p4 which is supposed to be the crux of the route and is accessed from the right side of the ridge from within the gully.  We believe we found it and climbed halfway into it before retreating due to running water in the crack.  We traversed a couple of feet left to easily (and dry) terrain and regained the ridge.  With two parties in front of us, we pitched it out and had nice conversation along the rest of the climb with the cool people on the route that day.  Due to time constraints we unfortunately had to bypass the Goldie Crack at the end of the last roped pitch.  

IMG_6143 rotated.JPG

We chose to rap the rap down to the top of p4 and then double rope rappelled into the gully.  The gully is very unattractive due to downward sloping rope covered in sand, gravel, and loose rock.  However we watched another party cruise past us in the gully while we were rappelling and decided to follow suit for the bottom half the route.  It was definitely faster but also precarious.  Both descent options have definite pros/cons.  Cool shot of Nick with Liberty Bell and the afternoon sun through the residual smoke that afternoon.

IMG_6155 (2).JPG

Gear-wise, we followed the guidebook’s advice of a standard rack of nuts and cams to blue BD and to carry doubles of .5-1”.  The 3” was unnecessary and a half rack of nuts would have been fine. 

Fun day in great weather on a straight forward route.