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Trip Report    

South Early Winter Spire/South Arête

On a holiday Friday 7/3, six of us left the TH at 6:30. There were three pairs ahead of us, so we didn't start climbing until 9 AM. We summited about 1:30 and returned to TH near 6 p.m. Two teams passed us by swinging wide. Other teams came over the top from other routes and came down while we went up. It was a busy day and we should have started earlier. There isn't any more snow to cross, but plenty of goats. We did three pitches and a scramble up to the whaleback. For P1, we went past bolts and chains to a tree. For P2, we went to the top of the chimney to another tree. For P3, we went up some steep scrambly blocks to a large sandy ledge. Then we coiled and scrambled rightward over a hump to the whaleback. We ran a handline on the whaleback. The bolt is still in the middle of it. We took one other rope to the other side and ran another handline that dropped onto a narrow ledge into the couloir gully, up the gully a short distance, and up to a tree just below the top. That kept us from pitching out or merely scrambling the section beyond the whaleback. We left both handlines in place, since we were nearly the last group on the route.

On descent, students were able to prusik back down to the whaleback without worrying about slipping and rolling all the way down the couloir. Then they used their P.A. across the whaleback handline.

About half the group scrambled and downclimbed all the way to the top of the chimney. There was only one set of rappel slings before this, hidden under a tree about 45 meters above the chimney. But the scramble wasn't too bad if taken very carefully. At the chimney, we did one rappel on 60m rope, and scrambled a little down and left to a tree that took us down one more rappel to the bottom. Alternatively for the last rappel, you could go right to the bolts and chains, but one more pair of climbers were coming up the route and using the chains.

It was a very hot day, and a couple folks ran out of water. We filled a couple bottles at the junction with Blue Lake Trail and used a steripen to sterilize. Three of us stopped at the Buffalo Run in Marblemount. They make good food, but the price is a little high. We'll try Mando Restaurant next time.

DO carry boots to the top. It's uncomfortable to scramble down in rock shoes. It was still very fun, despite the extra traffic.