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Wanting beta: Western Access to Sandy Headwall


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I'm curious how often folks approach a Sandy climb from the west. There's info out there on getting to the Sandy glacier ice caves from the Top Spur trailhead, but not much by people continuing up. It looks like a really cool way to get to the mountain, and I'd like to get in there for a climb and ski soon. Just curious if there's any tricks or good advice out there on the approach or navigating the lower glacier, as the area has some complicated looking terrain. The closest I've been to the area is the Reid, from Timberline. Thanks!

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I think you'll find that 99% of climbs on the west side of the mountain get approached from Timberline. I would check the USGS and other topos... http://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=45.37743,-121.7184&z=14&b=t


My guess would be that you can just pick a trail or ridge-line and follow it most of the way. Not sure where the Top Spur TH is but if something stops you from there then it would stop you from Timberline too.

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  • 2 months later...



Sandy headwall gets climbed pretty rarely from the west.

I think the reason for this is it's generally a winter or early season route.

That means that the west side access from the Topspur trailhead Is pretty well snowed in, and it adds a few extra thousand feet of vertical to the approach.


The standard approach from the southside may look like a long way, but a party moving reasonably quickly can be on the route in about 5-6 hours and top out maybe one or two after that, making for a pretty reasonable day.


So, although it may be longer in mileage from the southside, the vertical overall is less, and it's mostly traversing to get around to the route, so the approach goes pretty quickly.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks John, that all makes sense to me. I was mainly interested in the direct route because I hoped to catch the face in conditions to ski. If this year allows, I'll give it a try and report back. That's if it ever snows again...

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