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Trip Report    

South Early Winter Spire/South Arête

Mid-week is good. Very, very good. Tuesday night at 10PM there were plenty of sites open at Lone Fir. Departed TH at 6:11AM on Wednesday morning and were the first ones on the route. We encountered two other parties as we were descending. There were 3 parties on the SW Buttress. It took us 1.5 hrs from TH to base of climb, all members reached the summit at 4.5 hrs from TH; we finished rapping at 6 hrs and back to cars at 7.25 hrs elapsed time. Although we had a party of 5, we made good time by scrambling from the top of the chimney to the summit, except for a belay across the whale-back. On the descent, all party members scrambled the whale-back and we made 3 consecutive, single-rope rappels back to the base of the climb.

Saw Mountain goats (mom and baby) at base of climb.

On the drive back, unbeknownst to us, hwy 20 became blocked a wildfire just before Nehalem heading West. We had to turn around and drive back through Winthrop, Twisp, Chelan, and Leavenworth: a 3 hr drive turned into 7 hrs. Also, after we passed through Winthrop and Twisp, we discovered that both towns were being evacuated due to wildfires. It was a smokey drive but we made it back to civilization!!!?