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Rodchester

East Williams Spire

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Thinking of taking wife and a newbie friend up this thing. Never been in the area. Any general route beta would be appreciated as well as any beta on approach and access. Can you camp in or around the ghost town?

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lotsa camp sites in the basin, i believe you dont need any type of permit for this area anymore.

 

though if i remember right, i thought i heard something had fallen off of this choss heap!! maybe bring some new stuff fer da rap anchors too...

 

bring two helmets a piece for each person in your party!!

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quote:

Originally posted by erik:

though if i remember right, i thought i heard something had fallen off of this choss heap!!


I think what fell last year was the huge chunk of ice/snow that filled the gully approaching the notch. [Eek!]

 

Erik is right about the basin being a good place to camp, but I'll bet it's one helluva hump to get up there with full packs. I did EWS last year as a very reasonable day trip using bikes for the 4 mile road to Monte Cristo. The gully to the notch will be interesting for a newbie. [Cool]

 

Oh, yeah - I think it's Wilmon's Spire not Williams. [Moon]

 

[ 05-20-2002, 10:09 AM: Message edited by: vegetablebelay ]

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Bikes shorten the approach and especially the time out considerably. It is a very easy grade for bikes (not bad going in/up, total cruise going out).

 

I think it is more than a "ghost" town. There are people living up there.

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By the way, nobody seems to have pointed out that we are actually talking about East Wilmans Spire.

 

Bring bikes even if you have to walk them on the way in. The glide out goes very fast.

 

The possibility of camping at the townsite isn't particularly aesthetic, though you might be able to find something near the river. Plus, the private property holders are likely still hanging out at the townsite. If so, they might have a recommendation. Glacier Basin is nice, though you will be bringing all your overnight stuff up more elevation to get there. It is sort of a scramble, so newbies with full packs might push their comfort level a little.

 

I had heard that rumor a few years back that a ledge or something fell off of the route so it might technically be a little harder than what is written in the Beckey Guide. I'm pretty sure the rumor was that it affected the route itself, not the approach (though if it was the ledge that traversed from the notch, that could be believable). How much harder, hopefully someone will report, but prepare yourself if you are taking a newbie.

 

Oh, yes, and one other thing, the ascent from the basin to the notch to gain access to the spire has relatively steep hardpan that is hard to kick steps into. The approach is much easier if you have snow on that slope for footsteps. You probably want to do it by perhaps mid-to late June if you want to ensure that you get snow for that slope. That of course means ice axes too.

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You might wait a while as there is a high possiblility that the Mountain bike portion is still covered with quite a bit of snow, which makes for "interesting" riding, especially with packs on. [Roll Eyes]

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We made an attempt on EAST WILMAN SPIRE in October last year to avoid snow on the approach. My advice? Do it while there is snow there or you'll be trudging up loose talus the whole way from the gully.

 

Other advice: follow the trail east from the middle of the town site into the gully. As others have mentioned, bring bikes. We slept in my truck and were on the road by 6. This is a day trip if you take bikes.

 

I'd heard rumors (afterwards) that part of the route had peeled off. I believe that it was the bottom ledge that had come off but I wasnt looking for any changes. To be honest, I couldn't tell whilst there but that might be because it was snowing at the time.

 

Its a beautiful area. I plan on going back sometime soon.

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Bronco is right about the road to Monte Cristo. The entire road is snow covered except for a few patches here and there, and there is a pile of avalanche debris to cross right near the start. Its about 3' deep but patchy at Barlow Pass, and at Monte Crosto townsite there is a solid 4' of snow.

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mtnnut: did you summit on the spire? I was turned back where the ledge had fallen off, the only way we could figure out to do it involved 5.7? down climbing that was poorly protected for the second. we bailed for this reason and all the sharp edges. with double ropes this would not have been a problem. anybody else summit on the spire in the last few years?

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Hmmm...since the road is still snow covered I think I'll pass with this group. Maybe in a few more weeks.

 

I am open to any suggestions for a easy climb (low fifth class with some snow or even a good fourth class scramble with some snow) that allows an easy approach when camping. You know the kind of one day climb if your in shape and have your shit together but with a group and newbies You know...two days is a nice pace and within a few hours from Seattle.

 

Any help is appreciated.

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"I think what fell last year was the huge chunk of ice/snow that filled the gully approaching the notch."

 

I don't know about a rock ledge on the route - that probably happened as well, but I witnessed the collapse of the approach gully ice. I have several slides of bus-sized chunks ripping down the gully. That was one of the closest calls I've ever had, but we luckily had a safe ledge on the side of the gully.

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I did this route about 3? years ago in a long day without Mtn bikes. They would have been nice, although we got a ride out, most of the way, on the back of some kids Trans Am, apparantly his Uncle still has a Mine Share, and they got a copy of the key. The route was cool, although short. Nice tiny summit. The only piece of grear I really wanted was a #2 camalot. Didn't have it. Fun uncrowded route, although that was before Select 2. Its like the Tooth with a way more interesting approach\views.

[big Drink]

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Rodchester, There is one other camping option that saves having to lug full packs all the way into Glacier Basin. Just before reaching the collapsed bridge north of the old townsite there is a public campground up a spur road on the left. I've enjoyed camping in the basin many times but have also used the campground and just taken day packs for climbing in the basin.

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when did the ledge fall off?? I climbed it two years ago and everything was pretty cruisey. A little bit of loose rock but not too bad. I agree with everyvbody- brimg bikes and do it as a day trip.

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I camped just West of the Monte Cristo townsite in early May 1998-- as I recall the snowpack was much lower that year. We really had no idea where we were going to camp before we got there. While we were exploring the townsite and checking out the old railroad turntable, one of the old timer residents came out to say howdy. He was very friendly, and once he found out we were decent sorts, he advised us to camp in a cleared spot in the trees just SW of town. There was even a fire ring. I imagine all this is under snow at this time. But if you're respectful to the natives and not too big a group, you can probably camp anywhere reasonable.

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How come every Tom, Dick, and Harry seems to have a key to this gate except me or any of my friends?

 

*I would say the route is more fun when snow covers to talus on the approach up from the basin.

 

*Speaking of the route, I went in last and year and climbed the route by myself and seemed to have left my 5.10 tennis shoes up there. Did anybody pick them up?

 

*the summit register needs a pencil. theri was pleanty of paper but no enteries for a while (due to lack of pencil). I guess this is one that the rangers haven't got to yet.

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quote:

Originally posted by Jens:

*Speaking of the route, I went in last and year and climbed the route by myself and seemed to have left my 5.10 tennis shoes up there. Did anybody pick them up?

 


We saw your shoes at the entrance to the gully. They were too big as I recall so we left them. [Cool]

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