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South Early Winter Spire/South Arête

06/14/2015 We left the Blue Lake trail head at about 5:30. The trail was clear of snow until the last 500 feet below the ridge. The snow was hard and we used crampons to ascend. It was still hard in the afternoon so on descent half of the group elected to use crampons. We saw goats on the approach and then more of them at the base of the climb. We had a rope team of two and another one of three which slowed us down a bit. After three pitches we unroped and scrambled up to the whale's back which we used a fixed line to protect. We then scrambled to the summit. We were the first group on the route, but many more climbers showed up as the day went on. It soon became a traffic jam of climbers ascending and descending. We scrambled down to the top of the third pitch and did three single rope rappels. We shared rappel ropes with another team to speed things up.

 

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