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[TR] South Early Winters Spire - Southwest Couloir 11/15/2012

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Trip: South Early Winters Spire - Southwest Couloir


Date: 11/15/2012


Trip Report:

Not enough November trip reports!


I had an opportunity to sneak in a solo outing up SEWS yesterday afternoon after working the morning. Left the Blue Lake trailhead ~1:30PM and hiked up the summer trail in 6 to 8 inches of snow which got up to maybe a foot deep by the time I got to the bottom of the southwest couloir.



The view from the first avy clearing on the summer trail.


The giant chockstone almost turned me around but I managed to awkwardly get by it on the left side. I rapped over it on the way down. The white line in this photo was just powdery snow that disintegrated when I floundered up to it.




Conditions were variable above the chockstone, with deep snow & avy debris down low and about 30 feet of alpine ice at the first constriction just above the split. This section was a lot of fun and I happily used both my tools on it. Waning daylight and falling spindrift added to the alpine feel. It was too short though. Topped out at 4:30 and made my way down pretty quickly. I would have liked to rap the short section of ice but a slabby traverse over to the rap station on skier's left seemed sketchier than careful downclimbing.



Above the chockstone looking up the couloir.


Pulled out my headlamp and hiked back to the car by 6:30.


Gear Notes:

Two tools and crampons & a rope for rappels


Approach Notes:

12" of snow on talus is annoying

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very cool report, glad someone is getting out and climbing. I am looking for a partner to get out on anything on the 23rd to 25th. But good to know if I can't find anyone I can head up to the washington pass area and climb this. how much more snow do you think will be needed before skiing that area?

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