Ascent of South Early Winter Spire on 2019-06-29

Climber: Owen Gabrielson

Date:Saturday, June 29, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:South Early Winter Spire
    Elevation:7807 ft / 2379 m

Ascent Trip Report

Three of us took three teenagers of varying experience up the South Arete of SEWS. No snow encountered on the trail.

First pitch, standard and as described in the route book. The toughest pitch of them all, especially the first 30 feet. Nice bolts at the top of this pitch to build an anchor, or just up another ten feet there's a couple trees to strap.

Second pitch, the chimney, no pro-needed, except perhaps something to protect the climber when exiting the chimney (to a tree and rock w/ an attached rappel anchor).

Third pitch is scramble up more chimney/gulley if you're comfortable. Lesser experienced folks should do this roped. One could perhaps avoid the gulley by going right, but it looks pretty exposed.

Once above that go left to the sandy ledges. There's two ways to do this. You can go out on to the ledge (wide, tons of room) a ways (40 or 50 feet) then climb right and up. Or almost immediately on to the ledge climb right on to slabby rough granite up and onto more slabby granite. Either way, continue up from there. You'll soon encounter the fin.

Fourth pitch. The fin. This looks more intimidating than it is. Stay to its right. there's a bolt to protect it if you need, but an unprotected fall to climber's right is not so exposed and less likely to be catastrophic than a fall to climber's left.

After the fin, everything else is really scramble-able, even for noobs. We ran a handline on to the very last traverse to the summit to make some folks more comfortable, but it really isn't necessary so long as climbers stay in the gulley and aren't venturing to the other side (east; significant exposure).

The group handlined back across the top of the gulley and scrambled down to the top of the third pitch (where the sandy ledges begin). There wasn't a rap anchor from there. I scrambled down it and found it slightly sketch in one place (narrow chimney), so had the folks who didn't come down yet build a rap anchor and rap it.

While they did that, I slung the existing rap anchor at the top of the chimney with the rope I had. And then sent someone down w/ a third rope to sling the bolts at the top of the first pitch. People rapped 1-2-3. Easy sneezy.

I used all cams. Mainly .5 to 2. Used a .3 once. Never used more than four draws. First pitch uses most pro.

Lots of goats. Hung our packs at the based.

I took some photos of some folks climbing on the rib. If you're one of those folks, email me for a link:
Summary Total Data
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble, Rock Climb
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Route:South Arete
Descent Statistics

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