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The Real Nick Sweeney

[TR] North Early Winters Spire - Early Winter Couloir (III AI3 M4+) 04/20/2019

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Trip: North Early Winters Spire - Early Winter Couloir (III AI3 M4+)

Trip Date: 04/20/2019

Trip Report:

I've been dreaming about this route for years, ever since I saw it in the Supertopo guidebook for Washington Pass.  It seemed so rad, but also hard, so I kind of wrote it off.  With a last minute partner and plan, we got the thing done.  Thanks Dane! This was a really good route, one of the best couloirs I've done.  Go get it!


You can view the full TR and photos on my site: Spokalpine


Strategy Notes

Start early to maximize your time on firm snow, but not too early because sleep is important.  Be prepared to aid climb the cornice pitch, but hopefully you’ll be able to bypass it with moderate mixed or AI3 ice. The descent follows the standard summer descent on bolted anchors until you reach the chockstone in the West Couloir.  There is a piton and nut anchor in the skier’s right hand wall that gets you down past the chockstone with a single rope.

Gear Notes:
One 60m rope is sufficient.  There are no fixed anchors on route, but it seems that a descent could easily be done with a single 60m rope by leaving rock gear if bailing. We brought cams .2-3 (small sizes most useful), nuts (small sizes most useful), 5 ice screws (useless), two pickets (one would be ideal), and 5 pitons (angles and lost arrows).

Approach Notes:
Walk straight toward it
  • Rawk on! 2

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That has happened to just about everybody who's tried that route in good weather, myself included!

  • That's funny! 1

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Posted (edited)

I think, after speaking with Dan Cauthorn and Jim Nelson, that @Nick andI made perhaps the second ascent (who knows) of this route in '97.  It was excellent fun.

The cornice was a monster when we did it.  I aided the left hand wall, off a cam, then nailed a flake with a KB, which broke and fell in my lap.  I nailed the stump and watched the KB rotate from 90 degrees to straight down.  This got me high enough to bypass the super overhanding cornice to where it over hung only by 10 degrees.  I made four aid moves off of pickets and flopped down the back side. 

Edited by DPS

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