South Arete, South Early Winters Spire II 5.6

   
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Washington Pass, Washington, USA

  • Currently 5.0/5
Avg time to climb route: 1-3.5 hours
Approach time: 1.5-3 hours
Descent time: 1.5-3 hours
Number of pitches: 10
Height of route: 600'
Overview
The South Aręte on South Early Winters Spire is deservedly one of the most popular routes at Washington Pass. It is many climbers first alpine rock climb or sometimes rock climb of any kind. Fun and moderate climbing, solid protection and excellent views of Dome Peak, Bonanza, Goodie, Black Peak and much of the central cascades, make the South Aręte a great option for those looking to gain some experience or for a scenic and moderate day. The climb is characterized by two moderate, well-protected mid-5th class pitches followed by some of low 5th climbing mixed with lots of 3rd and 4th class. It is truly an enjoyable route, with abundant large belay ledges for transitioning, or just hanging out and relaxing.
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Route History
It was first climbed in 1942 by brothers Fred and Helmy Beckey, and was one of the first technical routes in the area. The only other climbers to have been successful in the Liberty Bell group where a group from California: Kenneth Adam, Raffi Bedayn and W. Kenneth Davis. Late in the summer of 1937, when this trio first hiked in the 16 miles, all the summits were still virgin. This group was part of the California Sierra Club and had considerable experience, including some longer climbs in Yosemite. Due to the loosely spaced lettering of the words “Liberty Bell” on their forest service map, the climbers didn’t know exactly which of the spires was Liberty Bell and thus picked the tallest, southern-most peak in the range. This decision was made partially because all the other spires looked extremely difficult on all sides, so they opted to climb the nontechnical Southwest Couloir. The trio also made the first ascent of Cutthroat Peak via its West Ridge on the same trip. These ascents upset many local climbers who had been hoping to bag the first ascents themselves. Many of them put down their “Yosemite training” pointing out they had climbed the only non-technical route in the group. Five years later Fred and Helmy Beckey made the same long hike in, and while the steep peak on the right later became Liberty Bell, it was still the highest peak in the group that was attracting climbers. Fred and Helmey, who were already making names for themselves in the climbing world with their ascent of Forbidden Peak and the amazing second ascent of Mt. Waddington, climbed what became the South Aręte without much problem. The brothers quickly dispatched the route in an afternoon, making the first ascent of this now classic climb. At that time word was already starting to spread about the northern-most peak in the group with its massive east face that had more of a resemblance to a bell.

Strategy
This is one of the easiest routes in the Liberty Bell group and deservedly one of the most popular. It is not uncommon to have four to seven parties on the route on a mid-summer weekend. Even mid-week, expect to share the route with two to five other groups. Passing is most difficult on the first two pitches but is still possible. Once ...   [full history for SuperTopo members only!]

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Source: SuperTopo Guidebook Staff
South Early Winters Spire - South Arete II 5.6  - Washington Pass, Washington, USA. Click to Enlarge
South Early Winter Spire
Photo: Ian Nicholson
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South Early Winter Spire
South Early Winters Spire - Direct East Buttress IV 5.11a or 5.10a C0 - Washington Pass, Washington, USA. Click for details.
Direct East Buttress, IV 5.11a or 5.10a C0
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The soaring East Butress of South Early Winters Spire
South Early Winters Spire - The Hitchhiker IV 5.11b or 5.10d C1 - Washington Pass, Washington, USA. Click for details.
The Hitchhiker, IV 5.11b or 5.10d C1
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South Early Winter Spire
South Early Winters Spire - Northwest Face III 5.11a - Washington Pass, Washington, USA. Click for details.
Northwest Face, III 5.11a
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The Northwest Face of South Early Winters Spire
South Early Winters Spire - The Passenger IV 5.12a - Washington Pass, Washington, USA. Click for details.
The Passenger, IV 5.12a
South Early Winters Spire
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South Early Winter Spire
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