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Trip Report    

South Early Winter Spire/West Face & Southwest Rib

Trip on Aug 2. Team of 4, left TH around 6:45. No problem finding the route, as it is quite visible from below. The "large ponderosa" mentioned in WA Pass Climbing book is actually a larch, so don't let that fool you.
Our team was first on the route. Large family of goats hanging out at the start, definitely hang your packs from the large tree.
We generally followed the pitches exactly as described in WA Pass Climbing. You could probably link pitch 3 and 4 if you mind rope drag, they are both very short. I wouldn't want to link 4 and 5 as it wouldn't be fun to deal with rope drag during the Nervous Nellie.
Nervous Nellie pitch has several places for pro on the first half of the pitch. Small cams were useful.
We brought a 4, 5, and 6 for the Bear Hug, but one of our climbers said he could have used the 5 for the whole thing and the 6 wasn't necessary.
We chose to down-climb into the gully rather than rappel, which saves a little time.
There are two possible off-widths on the final short pitch. We checked out the right slanting crack which looked awkward and you'd need a #6 at least to protect it. The wide crack on the left is easy and takes a #5.
Lots of folks coming down the South Arete, but everyone was courteous and made room for each other. We down-climbed as far as we could and then took 3 single rappels.
The walk from the bottom of the South Arete to the start of the SW Rib was short and not too bad in rock shoes. I would not bother carrying approach shoes up and over the climb.
Fun climb with lots of varied techniques and great rock quality!

 

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