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[TR] Le Petit Cheval near WA pass- Spontaneity Arete 7/20/2004


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Climb: Le Petit Cheval near WA pass-Spontaneity Arete


Date of Climb: 6/2004


Trip Report:

With summer season in full swing at WApa the routes can get awfully crowded and in some cases downright dangerous. This can be especially true on the easy to moderate routes where folks looking to learn about mulitpitch rock climbes can create real jambs for both themselves and other parties. While I don't want to deter folks from choosing some of the fine classic lines among the spires I would like to suggest that there are a number of other great climbs in the area that can provide a fun climbing experience without the clusterf**k that we have all seen when too many folks try to climb one route.


Here is some beta for a new route that has already seen about 10 ascents and has gotten good reviews. It has an easy approach: ~1 hour for a strong party, Simple and safe descent, goes to its own summit and offers great views of all the big peaks in the WApa area.


A few weeks ago while Larry and I were headed up to climb the E Butt on SEW spire we commented on the nice looking line on one of the three prominent buttresses at the north end of Kangaroo ridge opposite Mile Post 165. Turns out we had both been scoping this thing for a couple of years, so totally SPONTANEOUSLY (get the connection) we changed plans and went exploring.


What we ended up finding was a line that is; fun, moderate, safe, good to very good rock (for the N Cascades) and good views. The sense of commitment is limited since one can bail out to the descent gully in several places. The attached topo should give a pretty good sense of where to go but basically this is an arete climb and one should stick pretty much to the ridge except where you want to obviously follow better rock slightly right or left of the crest.


This climb will give novice leaders a fun time out with great pro and solid rock. There are comfy belay ledges, conveniently spaced. The cruxy sections are never desperate and fairly short. Much more of a rock climb than the S Arete on SEW spire. So if you want to avoid the crowds check it out.


The climb follows the WSW buttress of the Eastern most of the 3 prominent rock out croppings that grace the N end of northward extension of Kangaroo ridge. Do not confuse with what Bryan Burdo calls Black Horse which faces E, more into Willow creek, and contains two decidedly unworhty climbs. These rocks are around the end of the ridge to the W and face Hwy 20 head on. Beckey refers to Black Horse as White Horse on p292 of the Red Book. In keeping with the horsey theme but adding a bit of an international flavor we chose Petit Cheval for the name of the crag. We found no sign of previous ascent.



Gear Notes:

Standard rack to 3.5 inches. Single 60m rope


Approach Notes:

Park at MP 165 on Hwy 20 where there is a big pullout. Park at the W (uphill) end of this large pullout. Find the trail dropping steeply down the bank and into the highest stand of big timber. Follow the trail across EW creek at a log jamb and up to brushy cliffs below the crag. The trail is well defined. There are two sections of fixed rope to help for short tough spots.


Descent can by either rappelling the route which is equipped with sling anchors or doing one 80' rap into the gully to the S and scrambling down this. Either way will you bring back to the base of the route. Untill early July the gully will have snow and may require an axe and/or boots.


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fine job on the route. however, what is the justification for the fixed ropes? that is just dumbed-down trash. i just don't understand it---hand rails for climbers in a mountain environment?

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