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[TR] South Early Winter - The Passenger


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Trip: South Early Winter Washington pass - The Passenger


Date: 7/3/2009


Trip Report:

Climbed this route last week in rather warm and buggy conditions. Really an amazing bit of rock, perhaps the best route up there. I was a bit surprised, the route was a tougher than I expected and I'm going to stick with original 5.12 grade. (Eds note, granite always feels a bit tough for me)


We had great beta from Sol using this TR


To expand on this beta, this is what I found. There are some bolted belays, but don't plan on it. Bring anchor gear for every pitch. Also note that some of the fixed gear is no good, one of the fixed pins fell out and hit my partner in the head!


P1. 5.10D (160 feet)

Double Cracks right from the ground. Climb toward a massive roof and go left under roof clipping one bolt. The moves under the roof are thin fingers and a bit runout if you chose not to place any gear ( rope drag) Roof is amazing!


P2. 5.11bish.(70 feet)

Climb mellow cracks to a roof. Roof has bolt on it. Do NOT go left over roof, looks doable but screws you. (took my first fall here) Pull roof through the right via strange flares and campus moves. Continue to a second roof. This roof is hard, the crack above the roof is filled with grass and you can't get your fingers in. High-step right and punch for small crystal, stand-up and punch again for bomber jam. Hard move. Belay below roof with bomber gear.


P3. 5.11ish (80 feet) Climb around roof (easy) to an amazing sustained finger crack to a roof (is there an echo in here?) Roof will take a 3" cam and requires some tricky moves to pull around to the left and a belay.


P4. 5.12 (120 feet) Crux pitch. Bolted slab. Sounds mellow right? Wrong. Move left and down slightly past two bolts. Tiny crystals for feet and nothing for your hands. 3rd bolt is very far left and run-out, don't fall! Another easier runout above the 3rd bolt takes you into a crux roof thingy. (On-sight spoiler alert) Gaston with your left above roof and snap up to thin under-cling with right hand. Step up and crank to jug. Maybe V4-V5ish move (?)


Move right across blank slab with no gear, your looking for a high bolt way up inside this roof/chimney to your right. The bolt is hard to see and falling getting to the bolt would be ugly. Clip bolt and make wild moves right on hand-crack. Step up to a small stance below roof chimney and belay. There was a fixed pin under the roof that we used for a belay.


P5 and P6 5.10C (We combined) 220 feet.

Fixed pin under roof falls out when my rope snags on it while leading Bomber! Climb overhanging chimney crack (Rad!) and pull into a perfect hand crack that goes on forever. Stop at stance and belay or keep on going like I did. Crux move is flared .75 jam with the crack angling to the left. Yes, it feels like your going to fly into space with the whole wall below you. Belay right above this from a bush. Although I linked these two pitches, I'm not sure I would do so again. I had a bit of rope drag and having to make the crux moves with 200+ feet of rope out was a bitch, did I just gain 10 pounds?


P7/P8 5.10ish 150 feet. (we linked these two)

Climb dirty crack 40-50 feet. Traverse left on face with no gear, the traverse will go left and slightly down for 40 feet before you get any gear. Scary for your second. Belay from bush or just keep moving left on 5.7 terrain angling up toward blocks and a tree belay.


Descent: Go down usual descent for South Early Winter.


Thoughts: A very good, clean route. The only pitch that I didn't like was the bolted slab. Maybe the long fall I took made me angry, but the pitch wondered back and forth a bit too much for my taste and it seems like the bolts could have been placed in better spots. A lot of rope drag. The route has lots of mini cruxes that are tough, but most of the pitches have good rests in them with easy moves right before and after the harder stuff.


Gear: Double cams to #2, one #3. We brought triples and never used them. Lots of long slings for drag.


Picture Link





Base of route



Below 2nd pitch roof.



Bolted slab pitch.












Edited by eldiente
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fwiw, i think the crux pitch is great, with 3 very different and cool crux's. with long runners on the first 3 bolts you can alleviate most of the rope drag. i do beleive the pitch was put up on lead and do not think it is all that runout, bolts are right where you need them. you can get numerous cam placements before the last bolt if you climb up to the roof and undercling right. others have agreed with an 11+ rating for the pitch/route. my 2 cents.

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fwiw, you can get numerous cam placements before the last bolt if you climb up to the roof and undercling right. others have agreed with an 11+ rating for the pitch/route. my 2 cents.


Yeah we botched this pitch up. For some reason I had sport climbing on the brain and left the belay with only draws and no pro. *dumb* I can see now that with some cams, the traverse to the last bolt would have been mellow.


As for the rating, I'm not a good judge as I don't climb technical granite slabs like that very often. I climbed Iron Horse at Index (.11+ish) a few days before and though it was easier than the bolted pitch on The Passenger IMO. Although it worth mentioning that the "hard" moves on the bolted pitch are all very short and not sustained. I wasn't getting pumped but damn those feet are tiny!



Edited by eldiente
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