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[TR] South Early Winters Spire - Southwest Couloir 4/25/2015

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Trip: South Early Winters Spire - Southwest Couloir


Date: 4/25/2015


Trip Report:

Steve, Chris, Amy, and I drove up from Portland to Mazama Friday evening. After an early morning wake-up, we started from the Blue Lakes trailhead around 6:30 am and chose to leave the snowshoes in the car as the snow was generally pretty firm. Weather was cloudy with some off/on snow, but lifted occasionally for easy route finding along the skier path to the approach of the climb.




Snow conditions were an inch to two of light powder over very firm settled ice/snow. We opted to rope up for the climb due to varying experience levels of the team and belayed up the couloir in 4 full rope length pitches (with a short amount of simul-climbing on pitch 4). Found a little bit of rock pro placements on the sides of the couloir, a good spot for a screw once, and a few places for pickets.


Pitch 1 - and the chockstone. Very easy to go around.



Pitch 2



Pitch 3



Pitch 4



At the top of the couloir, Steve led the short rock pitch to the summit



At the top we had great views of the surrounding peaks, as well as quite a few skiers on the surrounding hills.




We downclimbed to a rappel station just below the summit, and rappelled down through the couloir about 5-6 rappels to the bottom.


View of the route - basically following the couloir up and to the right at the Y, then at the top going left to the summit.



Overall a great climb, with a little bit of everything mixed in!


Gear Notes:

3 Pickets

1 Ice Screw

Set of Nuts

Cams size .2 - 2" (Didn't use the 2")

Webbing/Rappel Ring

Two double ropes


Approach Notes:

Snow was in firm condition on the approach, no snowshoes needed. Some post-holing in the afternoon on the descent.

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Update from 5/3: Large chockstone a little more melted out, still easy to get around. Upper section was a lot of bare ice, glad to have tool/venom combo. Last rock section was snow-free. Excellent fun day out! Great skiing from the base back to the car.

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update from 5/16: the chockstone at the bottom is passable. The left side is thin, hollow with good sized moat forming beneath. The right is icy and hollow.


It is getting icy in the pinch/steep area in the middle. Snow/ice all gone in the upper area above the pinch (top 1/3).


We never took the second axe/tool off the packs.


Party induced rockfall is now an issue. Looks like the season is over on this route.

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