West McMillan Spire - West Ridge Date:
I climbed West McMillan Spire in 11 hours, 15 minutes roundtrip. Colin A. and I wanted to take full advantage of the rare good weather forecast, so we decided on two day climbs - West McMillan on Tuesday and Sloan Peak on Wednesday. Here are some photos and stats from West McMillan: Location (Elevation): Time Elapsed / Split / Real Time
Goodell Creek Trailhead (600 ft) : 0
Climbers Path Turnoff (1,600 ft) : 1:05.27
Heather Bench [top of hill climb] (5,200 ft) : 2:31.23
Arrive West McMillan Summit (8,000 ft) : 5:52.44
Depart West McMillan Summit (8,000 ft) : 6:44.45
Heather Bench [top of hill climb] (5,200 ft) : 9:00.50
Climbers Path Turnoff (1,600 ft) : 10:33.57
Goodell Creek Trailhead (600 ft) : 11:15.46
We drove out to Newhalem on Monday night and slept for a few hours. At 5:17 am we were off down Goodell Creek Trail, arriving at the climbers path turnoff at 6:22 am. The steep climbers path up the wooded ridge was a really sweet hill climb (one of my favorites) allowing for super fast elevation gain. We topped off at the 5,200 ft heather bench and sweeping views of Terror Basin at 7:48 am.
The traverse to the base of West McMillan Spire was longer and more tedious than it looked, but the spectacular views more than compensated and we stopped numerous times to take photos.
Inspiration Peak looms above "like a skyscraper!"
After ascending glacial slabs, we put crampons over our trail shoes for the snow section, which was still hard, especially near the top. Once on the west ridge, it was a fun scramble to the summit, where I arrived at 11:09 am, 5:52 after starting. I spent 52 minutes on top enjoying the gorgeous views and clear weather.
Classic West McMillan Spire view.
Summit shot - I blend in well with the scene...
Baker, Terror, Shuksan.
Redoubt, Luna, Spickard.
View south from McMillan Spire.
Azure Lake and Jack Mountain in upper left.
Just after noon, we finally began the descent, which featured a nice glissade down the snow slopes and a great return traverse along the slabs and heather gardens.
After a 20 minute break at the last heather bench viewpoint, there wasn't much to look at, so I picked up the pace down the steep climbers path and jogged parts of the Goodell Creek trail, arriving at the truck at 4:32 pm. Gear Notes:
axe, crampons Approach Notes:
In good shape. The climbers path is sweet!