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first ascent [TR] Pernod Spire - Direct West Face, III-IV 5.10+

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Climb: Pernod Spire -Direct West Face, III-IV 5.10+


Date of Climb: 7/15/2006


Trip Report:

Tony and I climbed a new route on Pernod Spire, the tallest of the Wine Spires near Washington Pass. We climbed the Direct West Face. III-IV 5.10+





We left the car at about 6am and quickly made our way up to the bench below the spires. We traversed right below the spires and started up the gully below Pernod Spire




we scrambled up the gully which was mostly shittly kitty litter and big loose blocks...fun fun

as we approached the face we were wondering if the rock would improve at all

When we got to the base of the face we wandered around looking for a line with climbable rock.

The face has a large wave like roof about a pitch up and we had thought that the line would go to the left of the roof.

We finally found a crack and corner sysem with solid granite and started up.

The first pitch was nice hand cracks and a corner that led up to slabs below the roof

Tony led the second pitch which climbed a thin crack and a slab up and right, right up to below the roof.


The third pitch was the crux. I traversed on slabs left around the roof and launched up an incredible corner with an off-fingers crack...steep, with a nice bulge, this led to some wild stemming moves and finished with a leftward move into a seam and grooves, a full 60m pitch at 5.10+

The 4th pitch started with an interesting leftward step across a slab into more cracks. Intermittent finger cracks led up for a full pitch between a corner and a huge freestanding horn.

The fifth pitch started with another interesting move right off the belay, and then up an arching corner with a thin finger crack under the lip and finished with a really cool move up and over the lip and up ~30' of face/slab.

Tony led the 6th pitch up a broken face and through a little notch and then left on nice cracks.


the 7th pitch was another nice crack that seamed out for a few moves and brought us up to the ridge crest, where I traversed the airy narrow ridge, until...OH CRAP! We can't get to the summit from here!


what to do?

We ended up rapping a full 60m down to sandy benches and finished the climb on the 5.10 corner of the Nelson/Bale route, which is a very fine pitch.

The summit block has 2 old aid bolts, the first with no hanger and the second about 1/2 way out of the hole with a rattly hanger, made for a couple exciting moves.

The summit is spectacular, the highest of the wine spires...but no time to waste, the sun was low on the horizon and we still had to get down.


A long rap brought us to the Pernod/Chablis spire. Major rope issues, ended up with me with shorter ropes, but enough for 2 more raps to get off.

The snow on the east side of the spires was just soft enough for us in our tennies, and once below Chianti Spire there was a nice boot pack up to Burgundy Col. A long jaunt down from the col led to a much needed frosty brew!

We both feel that this is a great route. Varied, and sustained climbing, fun moves on high quality rock.











Gear Notes:

2 60m ropes

full rack incl. 4" (could use one larger maybe)

left a fixed rap station of equalized nuts on the ridge crest below a blank face to rap to benches below


Approach Notes:

Easy approach up trail to bench below spires.

Traverse right until gully below Pernod Spire

Up gully to toe of west face

1st pitch starts just around the left of the toe in an obvious corner with nice hand cracks on nice dark, solid rock

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Nice works guys! Looks like a sweet new route...great pictures.

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Nice TR! How was the rap off of the summit? Eight years ago it was off of a single manky pin that flexed when weighted.

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Hey Ross:


Nice job on what looks like a great route! Certainly has more the look of a classic than the route we did with PMS on the NW face of Dragontail this spring?!?!


By the way; did you get a look at Gato Negro on the W face of Silver Star while walking from the bench over to Pernod? It is similar in character to what your route sounds like. I'm not sure it has been climbed more than once in the last year since I put in the new, improved, second pitch variation but uit is a pretty nice climb if you like that sort of stuff.


I was just up there last Saturday climbing Paisano amdist terrible mosquitoes. Sure is a lot of good looking rock around there.


Anyway: Great job!



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Yeah Scott, we got a good look at that formation on Silverstar where Gato Negro and Stellar Eclipse are.

Rock over there looks great, lots of good looking cracks too.

I think I'd definitely like to get over there and get on both of those routes sometime.



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