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Trip Report    

Le Petit Cheval/Spontaneity Arête

Party of 4 left trailhead around 5:50am. There is a downed log for crossing Early Winters Creek near the trail, also a fairly low calm spot to wade across. The climbers trail is fairly easy to follow. There are 3 fixed lines to help assist you up some steep class 4, low class 5 sections. Not sure how old they are, and trusting them was a little nerve-wracking, but they got the job done. The fixed lines also have locking biners attached, which we used for rappelling on the descent.

We were unable to find the large tree with slings which supposedly marks the start of the route, but we found a nice ledge with a good belay tree, which seemed like it was in the right area, and found a line that took us to the arete proper.
Route finding was mostly straight forward. After the 2nd pitch, you need to scramble unroped for about 300 feet. We roped up again too soon and consequently added a couple of short pitches that we didn't need to. Go down into the gully rather than staying on the arete.
Keep going up climbers left in the gully until you start feeling like it's about time to get back on the ridge. It will be fairly obvious when you need to go up because the arete suddenly gets very steep. A 30 foot climb of about 5.4 will get you up to the start of the crux pitch. The 5.7 crux pitch is fun and challenging. It has some great cracks and the bear hug is pretty cool too, though it's possible to just climb one crack instead of bear-hugging it.
We found the 5.6 pitch after the crux to be suprisingly difficult and awkward.
The 5.5 "broken, solid rock" pitch is easy and fun.
We took the 5.7 Goldie Crack variation at the end, which was fun and has some good jams. You can lieback the last few feet up near the top.
We made it to the summit around 2pm. A lot of time could be saved without our route finding mistake at the 3rd pitch.
Descent - we rappelled the climbing route. There are rap stations established throughout the route. Single rope rappels only - double ropes would get you into a mess of trouble. Around the bottom of the 4th pitch, a steep rappel off of the arete takes you down to the gully. Scramble down the gully for a while, and then get back on the arete at the end of the 2nd pitch.
It is also possible to scramble the gully for most of the descent. The gully is about half snow-filled currently. We thought this looked unpleasant, and didn't want to bring axes up over the route, so we elected to rappel. Probably around 10 rappels in all.
We reached the cars around 7pm. Wading back across the creek was quite refreshing after a long day.

Overall, this was a fun climb with mostly good rock and lots of pro. There were a lot of cracks that flared out in the back, so I found small cams useful. There are ample trees along the route, so bring a cordelette for slinging trees, but we didn't have to build any anchors off of pro.

 

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