Placeholder Routes & Places

Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Le Petit Cheval/Spontaneity Arête

4 star climb with a 0 star descent!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • AJ and I attempted Le Petit a few weeks ago and it was too early season. The approach was awful with snow cover and wet rock over the scramble/cliffs to the base of P1, all handlines were buried in snow and route finding was challenging. We only got to P3 and had to turn around due to timing.  Our second attempt on 6/1 was successful and the approach was snow free starting at the first hand line. A few wet scramble spots but otherwise dry and all handline anchors were in great shape!


6 AM - started hike in from cars. Party of 4 (Me, AJ, Gabe, Alissa).

Intermittent snow in the forest. Short steep section of snow to get to the start of the scramble/first handline. All anchors looked solid and the handlines were helpful in a couple of sections with wet rock.

7:40 AM - got to the base of P1

8 AM - started P1.

I found this to be the crux of the route even though the guide book says it is on P4. This has a really awkward left-leaning crack that is difficult to get into and slabby feet off to the right. Good protection the whole way though. I'd call this a 5.7+.

8:30 AM - started P2.

One of my favorite pitches! Good lie back & bear hug moves through the Pac Man feature. Great protection. Belayed from tree/rappel station.

9 AM - top of P2 and took in kiwi coils to scramble together for  ~10-15 min. to P3 over the 3rd/4th class terrain. We waited for Gabe & Alissa and we all scrambled together.

We had some route finding issues to find the start of P4. You start scrambling up and then to climber's right of the arete towards the gully on an obvious boot path. The booth path ends in a flat, wide area to the right of the arete near several trees. It's very obvious that many people have stood there but we couldn't figure out how you are supposed to scramble up to the base of P4. We saw a trail to scramble up down a little lower and made a mistake following it to get onto the face of the arete too soon. We ended up adding a pitch to get up the arete to the actual base of P4 which had a tree slung/rappel station. You don't want to start climbing this pitch early because it's long and uses the entire rope.

1140 AM - after route finding issues we finally made it to what we thought was the top of P4, but we had accidentally strung together P4 and P5 (P5 is SUPER short) without realizing it until later in the day. P4 was my other favorite pitch. The first couple moves off the ground are supposedly the crux but I disagree. Super fun moves and long pitch, felt more like a 5.6 than a 5.7.

The true top of P4 is the first slung tree, but we went up to  the slung tree to the right of the 5.6 off width crack and got our pitches confused until the summit.

Noon - We got to the top of P6 (we still were thinking it was the top of P5 though). Belayed at rap anchor on tree. We then moved the belay up to a very large tree with a large flat area.

We deliberated here a bit again thinking we were looking for the 5.6 off-width crack that we had actually already climbed. There were three lines up the next pitch and none of them were very off-widthy. Luckily we went up the correct line which was the 5.5 blocky pitch. For reference, you will see 3 cracks going up, it is the one on the right that looks like a 5.5, the other two are very obviously stiffer.

12:45 PM- Started climbing P7 (we still thought this was P6).

Here we made our biggest/saddest mistake and completely missed Goldie's crack because we were confused what pitch we were on. To the right of Goldie's crack is a blocky section that looks like the route description for P6 but is actually a 5.2 blocky variation you can take instead of Goldie's crack. We climbed up this and then realized we were at the end of the climbing and start of the final scramble to the summit. We looked down and saw Goldie's crack and were able to tell Gabe & Alissa before they started climbing so they didn't miss out on the fun! We debated rappelling down and climbing it but decided we will just have to come back again.

1 PM - Unroped at the rappel station and waited for Gabe & Alissa and we scrambled together to the summit. It's ~10 minutes of 3rd class with one slabby & exposed move to get on the true summit block that we felt comfortable doing unroped.

1:30 PM on the summit!

2:15 PM after hanging out on the summit and scrambling back down to the top P7 we set-up our first rappel.

If you have a 70M you can link together the 2nd & 3rd rappel. We only had 60s. You can also come off the 2nd rappel and down climb ~20 ft. to skip the 3rd rappel. For reference, the 3rd rappel is two slings around a large boulder shortly after the 2nd rappel.

Do saddle bag rappels for the last 2 rappels because they are blocky and the rope can easily get stuck on trees and in cracks.

Both times on Le Petit I've gotten the rope stuck while pulling the rope down at the base of P1. Lots of cracks for it to jam itself into. We also got the rope stuck on an earlier rappel but were able to get it down by tying a prusik on it and jumping. Def wouldn't do any double rope raps on this route.

5:45 PM All done with rappelling & back to the base of P1.

FYI there is really no shade on this route so be warned if you are doing it on a hot day! We should've brought more water with us and were super toasty all day!

Started our scramble down and prusiked down the first two handlines. We went 2 at a time to avoid rock fall and get through the handlines more efficiently this way. 

7:15 PM Made it to the base of the 1st handline & started the final hike out in snow

8 PM Back to cars!

I wasn't sure what to expect on this climb as I had heard mixed reviews. I absolutely loved it and thought the climbing was super fun! The only downside was the long scramble sections between some of the pitches that make it not a very sustained 5.7 climb & also the descent takes forever because you have to do ~8 rappels + downclimb a ways and use the handlines. I definitely see how route finding can be an issue, we experienced some of that, and the route meanders a bit.

In hindsight, I wish we wore approach shoes instead of boots & carried the approach shoes with us on the climb so we could wear them on the descent for the rappels and downclimbing the scramble sections between pitches. Our rock shoes were killing all our feet at the end.

This route also has quite a bit of exposed, low 5th class boulder moves on the approach so definitely go with a group that is comfortable with that kind of terrain.


Log crossing


Using handlines


Enjoying summit views




Photos (1).zip

Looking back on the route