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[TR] Nesakwatch Spires and Rexford - Ensawkwatch Enchainment Variation 8/24/2015


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Trip: Nesakwatch Spires and Rexford - Ensawkwatch Enchainment Variation


Date: 8/24/2015


Trip Report:

My wife and I climbed the Ensawkwatch Enchainment last weekend with a few variations (SW Ridge N Nesakwatch, N Ridge S Nesakwatch, and W Face Rexford)for a fun full day of climbing in a really unique and beautiful place. There seems to be an ethic in this area of preserving a little adventure by not divulging too much beta, so I’ll try to refrain from being overly specific (let me know if I say too much and I can edit). It was certainly fun to have a measure of route finding excitement, and there appear to be many variations on these routes that will likely go at around the same grade.


We decided to make this trip much more manageable by breaking it into three days, hiking in Friday afternoon, climbing Saturday, and hiking out Sunday. It is certainly a relentless hump up to the basin below the spires (something like 1,000 meters in 3 kilometers) but luckily the approach is fairly short, taking us about 3 hours at a moderate pace with heavy overnight packs. Finding water is a bit of a challenge up there this time of year. Luckily there is a small snow/ice patch below Rexford that appears to stick around through the summer we used for water that is about half an hour round trip from the bivy rock. The rock is a spectacular place to spend the night, and is ideally situated near the start and finish of the enchainment.



Slesse with cool clouds



Bivy Rock below S Nesakwatch and Rexford


We started the enchainment with the Southwest Ridge of North Nesakwatch Spire. We thought that this would be a good alternative to the standard North Ridge as it is substantially steeper and looks much cleaner. There appear to be many options to start the climbing on the ridge. We stayed more or less on the ridge crest for the majority of the climb. There are 3-4 pitches of good finger and hand cracks that ascend the initial steep portion of the ridge that are around the 5.9 range. There is a wide section that looked really good that I avoided since I lacked a 4 inch piece (maybe bring a 4” piece for this section?). This is followed by low angle easy section (we simuled) to the base of the final headwall pitch. The headwall crack is easier 5.8-9, and is really fun! A final easier pitch over some loose blocks reaches the summit (a little funkiness here the way we went anyway). Overall the Southwest Ridge had some really fun crack climbing, with a little loose block action encountered on occasion.



SW Ridge Profile



SW Ridge



SW Ridge



SW Ridge



SW Ridge



Awesome headwall pitch


We descended the south ridge slightly on the east side carefully over some loose terrain, and began climbing the standard North Ridge of South Nesakwatch Spire. We simuled most of the ridge left of the crest on generally sound rock. We pitched out the final chimney section below the summit block, and I thought it was around 5.7ish. We didn’t do the final 5.7 unprotected (at least without big gear) offwidth to the true summit, because…, well…, I suck at offwidths and it scared me. It really didn’t look that bad though, and I’m sure a few grunts would get you through it without too much trouble.



S Nesakwatch Spire and Rexford


We descended the south ridge for a short distance to a single short rappel and then continued down the ridge to the col between the S spire and Rexford. We scrambled up some loose and exposed 4th class terrain up to the base of a large chimney, and then around the corner to the left up another easy chimney to a sandy ledge where we set up a belay. One pitch (5.7ish) got us to the standard West Ridge route. Instead of heading left on easy terrain towards the standard route (cairns here), we headed up and right to climb the West Face of the false summit.


From here we ascended up and right, following the same general line as these guys . We found the climbing here to be very enjoyable, with the final 2-3 pitches after the initial traverse in the 5.8-9 range on very good hand and finger cracks with great belay ledges. There were a few loose blocks here and there that required some careful avoidance, and there was a lot of lichen, but the climbing was really very good here. The final right leaning crack to the false summit was particularly exposed and aesthetic. Certainly a great alternative to the standard West Ridge route!



West Face



Rexford Summit


From the false summit, we scrambled around the shattered ridgecrest to the right, and ascended a short easy (5.6ish) chimney to the true summit. Unfortunately, the beautiful views seen earlier in the day were completely obscured by the wildfire smoke that blew in in the afternoon. At least we got some good views in the morning, and some great climbing in the afternoon!



Smokey N and S Spires on descent of Rexford Summit


The descent down the West Ridge route was easy and uneventful. It was fun traversing the large rocky ridge crest down to the final gully rappel. The boulders in this area are brilliant white with golden accents, and are extremely clean. After a short boulder hop back to the bivy rock, we unloaded our gear

and relaxed in the smoky amber evening light.



Rexford West Face of false summit



descending the West Ridge of Rexford


This was definitely a fun, and adventurous outing with great climbing interspersed with some careful loose block avoidance. The scenery and terrain is very unique, and it’s a great place to spend some time. The West Face of South Nesakwatch Spire looks absolutely amazing, and certainly warrants a return trip!


Gear Notes:

We brought doubles to 3".

I would maybe bring doubles to 2" and one 3" and 4" piece for the SW Ridge if I were to do it again.




Approach Notes:

Short, steep, and well marked. The road to the signed trail head is drive-able all the way with a Subaru, but just barely so. Take a right directly after Riverside Campground, go across the Creek, and take your first right. Follow the rough road and at the only major fork, take a right.

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