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South Early Winter Spire/South Arête

Great rock climb on a clear day

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The hike to the base of the climb was short with many variations in the trail (although the destination is pretty clear). Rock was solid and dry. Lots of loose rocks in the gulley  up top. Bring enough water for the day.

We got to the trailhead at around midnight the night before and camped in the parking lot (although you're not supposed to?). Woke up at 0700, rolled out of the parking lot at 0745, got to the base at 0930, wrapped an anchor sling around a living tree and started climbing at 1000. Topped out at 1400, got down at 1620, and parking lot by 1730. 

Pitch 1: There is the slabby section at the very beginning that can be protected by small cams. You kind of have to pull yourself up to get to the top of the slab. After that it's easy climbing until the bolted anchor about 75 ft up.

Pitch 2: Kind of a scramble 100 ft up a gulley until the chimney, another 15 ft. Good footholds on the left side. A live anchor tree is right about the chimney and had a fresh sling with rappel ring when we got there. You can keep climbing to the next tree 40 feet up, but I stopped here.

Pitch 3: Straightforward scramble to another live tree with anchor and ring. Right before the tree is a large crevice in the rock you kind of have to wedge yourself in. We kept climbing for another 50 ft until we got to a flat spot with a large boulder you could tie a sling around.

Afterwards we scrambled some steep rock (class 4 or so) another 80 ft up until we got to the whale fin. Dustin protected it with a handline but it wasn't really necessary. Hit a bottleneck with a bunch of other climbers descending. After the fin we crossed the gulley, scrambled up another 20 ft to the summit.

Going down we downclimbed to the upper tree. We used three rappels: Upper tree to lower tree, lower tree to bolted chains, and bolted chains to the base. Big thanks to Frosty and Mason from Salem for rigging a rappel so we could all get down quicker.


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Sherrie Trecker
Sherrie Trecker says:
Sep 05, 2018 07:39 AM

Great to see you out there. You are significantly kinder in your description of the people holding up the rappels than I would have been. They created a huge mess and delayed all of us getting down by at least an hour. I am happy to hear that Frosty and Mason stayed back and helped make things more efficient!!!