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[TR] WA Pass: South Early Winter Spire- F.A. Mojo Rising III 5.11 A1 10/14/2006


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Climb: WA Pass: South Early Winter Spire-F.A. Mojo Rising III 5.11 A1


Date of Climb: 10/14/2006


Trip Report:


South Early Winter Spire (S.E.W.S)

F.A. Northwest Face Direct “Mojo Rising” III 5.11 A1

Mark Allen, Joel Kauffman, Tom Smith Oct 13-14th 2006

Trip Report By Mark Allen



I am reminded that the warm Indian summer is slipping. “Line is fixed!” My hands are nipped by the cold as I turn up the ibox. Not accustomed to classic wall style I impatiently wait at the belay but the Doors bootleg is helping me pass the time. The wall being technical it’s faster for both seconds to jug the line. We have been in this style for three pitches on a new line that the group had been cleaning from fixed lines days prier. I look down mouthing the words to Break on Through to Tom Smith as he jugs past the first three pitches covered on Friday Oct 13th. He gives me the thumbs up. Joel and I are re-racking getting him ready to cast off into the unknown pitches. Our excitement is highlighted by the strange tunes of Jim Morrison.





Joel Kauffman Jugs fixed line on pitch 2 during the First Ascent of Mojo Rising. Photo By Mark Allen




The Northwest Face of SEWS dominates the Western side of the Liberty Bell group in Liberty bowl. For years I have admired the aesthetics of this face. Its solid golden granite holds the afternoon light bringing out the contrasting black water streaks. The moonlight on this face is even more impressive. I never thought of climbing it until this year. During many trips to other spires I kept drawing lines on the face and then referencing the Red Fred. It seamed that several proud crack lines had been explored in the 70’s and 80’s.







C. Northwest Face: FA Boving and Pollack 76’ FFA Boving & Kerns 77’ route III 5.11a begins low on the NW face and traverses to the West face into the famous Boving Roofs pitch finishing on the SW Rib.


E. Northwest Face Var: Riders on the Storm FA Jim Yoder & Lee Cunningham August 15, 1989 A route that Becky recorded little about (but strangely knows exactly when it was climbed). From what I can piece together from studying the face, Becky’s description, and several topos of the Boving & Pollack 76’ route I can only see one available option. It appears that the party deviated from the Boving route during the third pitch into a vertical flake forming a flaring chimney or OW (This feature looks like a hand crack from the ground). At mid-pitch the crack doglegs left up an undercling ramp to a large ledge located directly plum under Dolphin Chimney. Then the most obvious thing to do was to get on the direct splitter 5.9ish corner hand crack to the Dolphin Chimney. I stood under this hand crack pitch several times and every time was disappointed it was not a part of our line.


A. North Face: FA Doug Ingersoll & Andy Selters August 88’ III 5.10 A2 (5.12?)

A steep face starting just below the chock stone raps takes a nearly straight line in cracks then traverses left on an arching crack. This leads directly to the false summit and avoids the SW ridge climb. Others seem to have attempted this line by the looks of the bail-tat that I always spy on the first pitch when coming of the N.E.W.S.


After comparing the references to the rock it seemed the main breadth of the Northwest face appeared to remain undescribed and more importantly unclimbed, and for good reason. The most fantastic feature was a massive golden right facing dihedral that magically continues arcing across the top of the face intersecting high on the SW ridge just above the infamous Dolphin Chimney. Below the golden dihedral ramps and cracks incipiently completed a line except one area, the first pitch. This blank section guarded the upper pitches. During a climb of the NW corner of NEWS with Paul Butler earlier this summer I got a closer look at this crackless first pitch. Our imaginations were intrigued by the fun sporty face as our eyes moved from feature to jug to seam to finally crack. My hopes were now rekindled that this could and just might go. “Wow, that looks sweet!” I exclaimed then and the next three times I stood under the face this summer. But it would have to protect with bolts. The thought of bolting from the ground looked sketchy due to the nature of the face. I spoke with several route setters and first ascentionists that are historically prolific in the Methow valley to get their thoughts from a separate generation on the best approach. All thought that the classic nature of the pitch deserved to be properly (perfectly) bolted. So the approach was top-down for the first pitch. The rest of the climb would be discovered on the first attempt.




Joel Kauffman on the first ascent of Mojo Rising Pitch 1 going at 5.11 sport. Photo by Mark Allen


The second week of Oct I rap-reconed the face to confirm the lines continuity before one hole was drilled. It looked good. The belay stances rocked but not the gear. I established bolt anchors at three belays and we all cleaned/gardened the cracks that needed it the most, Pitch 3 and down (the steepest section). The first pitch required seven pre-placed bolts over 90ft and a short A0 bolt ladder to the belay. We pulled the lines and took a rest day.


Mark Allen on pitch 2’s A1 seam. It is thought that this will one day go free. Photo by Tom Smith


We left the car at 8:45am. Alpine starts were not an option during the fall cold temps and the dark morning of October 13th. The face does not get sun until afternoon. This made the first pitch a little sand bagged until the morning air warmed the rock.

Pitch 1: Joel started climbing Pitch 1 at 10:30am. Joel just coming off his RMI guiding season was feeling floored by the sustained pitch but climbed excellent. We jugged the fixed line and congratulated Joel. Everyone raved about this classic pitch and can’t wait to get on it separately.

Pitch 2: I left the anchor in full aid-mode and scrambled up the first ten feet plugged in my second cam and weighted it. It has been a while since my trip with Tom to the Valley but my aid skills were resurrected and then somehow peaked during this pitch. While top stepping fully extended off my fi fi I somehow slotted a stopper with the tip of my middle finger. The gear was good but small and sometimes tricky. We originally hoped that this pitch would go free. After the gardening recon it was not the 5.10 hand crack we had hoped but a steep aid seam. It appears to look freeable for some unearthly climber. With this futuristic vision in mind, I wanted to cater to a free ascent but thought it should go as clean as possible. We did not use pins. At mid-pitch the crack fades to a closed seam where a pin or gear could not be placed for two moves. I fixed a 3/4 inch bolt here for the aid and free ascent to come…

Pitch 3: Tom Smith is off up a wide crack and moves over to a small ledge were he stares up at a short overhanging dihedral with a limited fingertip layback crack. His gear is just as cruxy as the climbing he reckoned at 5.11PG. Not able to trust his stances for placements he submitted to aid for three moves then pulled the roof of the dihedral on stellar finger locks at 5.10. He continued up for 30ft on ring locks and traversed left on a rail to the third stance.


It was getting late in the afternoon, and we knew darkness fell at 6:30pm. At 4:15pm we fixed the lines to the ground. We knew we didn’t have enough time to explore and clean the last three pitches.






Joel Kaufman on the “skywalker pitch” headed for he Golden Dihedral.

Photo by Tom Smith


On Oct 14th at 11:45pm Joel left the belay to the sound of the Doors on the ibox.

Pitch 4: This is the traverse pitch to the Golden Dihedral. This is a fun exposed 5.7 ramp we called the “Sidewalk in the sky” shortened to the “Skywalker pitch”. Joel lowered 15ft from the anchor and pendulumed over to the ramp. Along the way he gardened for placements and established a belay. Tom and I separately rapped of the bolt anchor and pendulumed over.




Mark Allen working Pitch 5 just below the 1 Ton belayer slayer.

Photo by Tom Smith


Pitch 5: I’m up. Originally I had planned to work the line up the laser corner crack formed by the dihedral. This did not directly connect with our summit cracks. On the other hand, just to the left was a much simpler 5.9 crack that did connect. The choice was simple. I got into an insecure layback with dirty flaring ring locks. This led to a dihedral with a cool stem box on edges while lay backing the wide crack. I climbed to the top of the dihedral and examined the status of a wedge shaped 1-ton block precariously perched in the corner. Touching on two points it seemed to levitate. There was no way not to climb on it. Planning my moves I committed to the hand jams with the same deliberate way I used to sneak back into my house in high school. Uneventfully I did not kill everybody. Good. I now entered the money section. A 100ft 5.8 finger crack dihedral. “This is the End my only Friend the End” Jim sang confidently with each brain-off finger lock. After 160ft, I clipped my old recon anchor. I brought Tom and Joel up hooting and hollering the whole way.



Tom Smith enjoying 100ft of finger crack bliss on upper pitch 5.

Photo by Joel Kaufman



Pitch 6: The last new pitch took us to the simul-climbing ridge of the SW Rib. I was most familiar with the terrain so I cast off to seal the deal. We stashed one rope on Tom’s back and tied in like glacier climbers to the other. I pitched out the last 100ft on classic dirty alpine 5.6 and brought every one up to the ridge.









Pitch 7: I re-racked with Tom. We were now staged for Simul. The three of us finished to the summit at 4:00pm.



This was a fantastically fun line. Tom likes to refer to it as our Mini-big wall commenting on the classic wall style, the technicality, and the steepness. The rock is some of the best in the area. This was a worthy project that we are glad to have completed on the last day of Indian summer.




Mark Allen on the summit after completing Mojo Rising.

Photo by Tom Smith





Storm front over Cutthroat Peak marking the end of Indian summer. The last clear day in our two-week streak. Photo by Tom Smith


My approach to the Mojo Rising project was with the vision that in the future the route will go entirely free. So I made the effort to create a user-friendly line. I left cracks that were just protectable bolt free and bolted the faces to preserve an honest free ascent. The first three belays are bolted and rigged to rap with one 60M so it can be easily worked. I am guessing the 20M A1 pitch 2 will free at hard 5.12 or in the 13’s yet classic.




Mojo Rising III 5.11 A1

Pitches: 7 (6 new)

Pitch style: 1-4 climbed classic wall style. Pitches 5-7 the seconds freed

Date/Time: 1-3 climbed on Oct 13th in 5 1/2 hrs. Pitches 4-7 Oct 14th in 4 hrs: 9 _ total

(Due to party size and the fact that we are Gumby wallers, plus dirty cracks, and cold temps this is a recommended max time)

Belays: Bolted at 1-3. Rigged for rap with one 60M. Trad anchors 4-7

(It is easy to bail during pitches 1-3. I suppose a party could bail into the NEWS gully from the 4th belay with one 60M rap or two 30M raps requiring a hanging stance and left gear)



Gear Notes:

Rack: Cams: 00”-4”

Doubles sizes: 0.0, 0.4-3” TCUs helpful.

Nuts: Single set with doubles in smaller sizes to 4 (Pitch 2)

RPs a good range of smaller size

11 draws a few with slings

1X 60M Rope

Edited by MarkAllen
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Excellent route and excellent topo!


A couple questions:


1. Can p1 be aided? or knocked down a grade using the technique a la France?


2. You don't list pins or hammered gear (except bolts). Should this be listed as C1 instead, to discourage folks from bringing the hammer?

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Q1- did you get to talk to Jim or Lee?

Q2- when are moving?

S1- I think the seam we did years ago may not be the Jim/Lee route. I am remembering ending more to the south of the Dolphin....maybe dan remembers better. Need big picture with lines drawn on for refrence to your topo.


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On pitch 1, only the cruxy moves have been protected. This means that the first bolt is 25 feet off the deck after 5.7 climbing. The climbing is fairly sustained 5.10 to a foot ledge and rest. A bolt protects a short traverse and a bolt shortly following the routes crux, a mid 11 mantel. This move the bolt was placed slightly higher for well protected crux move and for somebody to french free. Following this move the bolt spacing requires several moves of 5.10 between bolts. After the seventh bolt a small foot ledge allows you to engage the A0 bolt ladder for 4 bolts. Yet, this still leaves you ten feet below the anchor forcing you to free the last few moves of hard 10/11 before the chains. Joel had a hard time with this transition and suggested that other ascents might like a pin at the top of the bolt ladder to avoid any bullshit getting to the chains. I agreed. But, am not rushing to the pass right now to place it. A blue alien works just fine for the time being or simply freeing the move and not placing gear.


People should not need a hammer or pins and can do the route C1.


bigdrink.gif cool, thats it. cheers.

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Thanks Tyree, and kudos to you on your stylie ascent of the Passanger with Sol. You guys get er done. Pulling out your J-tree tricks. Always wanted to do that one...too many lines so little time. McCabe says that it's in the top 5. Looks like Brian B. has more surprises for us on that wall soon...I would like to get on the Passanger when I learn how to climb. cheers

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  • 2 weeks later...

i have a question about Marlboro Man...Several years back, bob rogoz (cpb aka asscowkiss) and i tried to do the passenger but got on sumpin' else that was a fingery liebacky crack system with several fixed copperheads...i hadn't been climbing much that season and it felt hard when i led it...my guess at the time was mid 5.12...is this the marlboro man? there was more climbing above on gold rock in a dihedral, but it looked hard and that pitch worked me...came close to taking a huge whip on the last copperhead and was scared and wanted down...


This is the first time i've actually looked at a topo for this wall closely (yeah, big mistake)....I just let bob lead the way to the route and we sandbagged ourselves,

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looking at the topo og the face i think we did get on Malboro man. in bourdo's description for passanger he said it's only w few hundred feet from the notch. as far as i remember the climbing was ok, but the main problem was crappy film of crust , causing your feet to skid every move.

good job on a new route

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Isn't The Passenger on the opposite side of the peak from Marlboro Man? MM looks to face due west. cantfocus.gif

the passenger and marlboro man (NW Face) are hundreds of feet apart on completely different aspects of SEWS. compared to mojo rising and NW face, the passeneger is on the other side of the south arete, the sunny side of SEWS. Maybe your thinking about Midnight Ride, its an aid line to the left of the passenger. i've always wondered, does midnight ride climb the golden dihedrals on the south face? from looking at the tat on the face it seems like it follows a line a bit to the left of the dihedrals.

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R&B, you guys were almost certainly on Midnight Ride (gets morning sun, unlike W Face), or maybe somebody's exploratory line nearby. Did you see tat hanging off the bolted stations above?


Mike Schwitter placed a few bolts/pins on MM, but I seriously doubt any mashy/bashy stuff. I've never heard of a second ascent of that one, it's pretty runout, according to MS.

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