Access is the same as the other south-side routes, with the Long's Pass Trail being most often used. Be sure to examine the south routes from Long's Pass and take pictures, as you will have an excellent view of the south side of this massive mountain. Camping is good near Ingalls Creek after descending the trail from Long's Pass, but watch out for the hungry mice at night stealing your food.
Several thousand feet of steep scree and a few sections of 3rd class terrain are encountered getting up to the base of South Headwall, sometimes with loose rock and sandy conditions. Beckey's guidebook has a very good description of the approach and route. This is a sunny route on sunny days.
From Ingalls Creek trail hike up the first major clearing west of Ulrich's Couloir (this clearing will be west of where the Long's Pass Trail crosses Ingalls Creek where you join the Ingalls Creek trail). You will soon enter the West Ridge couloir, which will suddenly angle rightward. At about the 7000-foot elevation, at the fork, take the right couloir (traversing into it beneath black slabs) which has tall cliffs on its right side. Follow this to the cirque with very steep cliffs at about 8700 feet. The technical pitches (never harder than 5.7) start up the center of the headwall and head a bit leftward to the upper South Rib which is followed rightward toward the summit.
Two 20- or 30-foot sections of 5.7 with decent pro placements available were encountered, and lots of 4th Class and low 5th Class terrain in the 4 or 5 technical pitches. The route has ledges available for belay stations for every pitch.
'It's a long way to the top, if you wanna rock'n'rolllll' - quote from a famous rock band.
It is a long scramble up to the South Headwall, which can easily be seen just below the summit on the south side. This steep cliff (not vertical) is several hundred feet tall. The climber tops out very near and southwest of the summit.
Cams, Stoppers, some long slings. No fixed gear was seen back in 1996.
Another view of approach to South headwall in red ...
Climber on first pitch.
In the gully/couloir during approach to South Head...
Looking south from the base of the South Headwall....
South Headwall, taken from the base of the wall.
At the fourth or fifth belay.