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North Early Winter Spire

Washington > Northwest Region > Hwy 20 & N Casc… > N Cascades > Washington Pass > Liberty Bell Group
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Description

Nearly as impressive as its neighbor, the North Early Winter Spire tends to be less popular because it has no easy way up or down. Nevertheless, it has many excellent routes and the summit view is great. The quality of the granite is very good. The summit is at 7760'.

Getting There

Most of the routes on North Early Winter are on the west side, so approaching via the Blue Lake Trail is best - approach SEWS and traverse left along the base. The approach will take most parties 1-2 hours. The descent route scrambles down south and west of the summit, then takes several rappels down to the Southwest Coulour between North and South Early Winter, from which some scrambling and one more short rappel bring you back to the ground.

Routes from Left to Right

5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 234
Northwest Corner (a.k.a. Boving-…
Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
5.11- 6c 22 VIII- 22 E3 5c
 283
The West Face
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
 3
Labor Pains
Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Easy Snow
 34
Chockstone Route
Trad, Snow, Alpine 6 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b AI2-3 M4+ A1
 8
Early Winter Couloir
Trad, Aid, Mixed, Ice, Alpine 6 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 6
Flycatcher Buttress
Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Northwest Corner (a.k.a. Bo…
 234
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
The West Face
 283
5.11- 6c 22 VIII- 22 E3 5c Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
Labor Pains
 3
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13 Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
Chockstone Route
 34
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Easy Snow Trad, Snow, Alpine 6 pitches
Early Winter Couloir
 8
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b AI2-3 M4+ A1 Trad, Aid, Mixed, Ice, Alpine 6 pitches
Flycatcher Buttress
 6
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Alpine 10 pitches

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Northwest Corner, West Face, and rap route. Zoom in to see climbers on all three.
[Hide Photo] Northwest Corner, West Face, and rap route. Zoom in to see climbers on all three.
Mountain goat at the base of NEWS
[Hide Photo] Mountain goat at the base of NEWS
Rapping from the massive chockstone at the bottom of the col.
[Hide Photo] Rapping from the massive chockstone at the bottom of the col.
NEWS summit view
[Hide Photo] NEWS summit view
NEWS on the left, SEWS on the R.  Viewed from the West.
[Hide Photo] NEWS on the left, SEWS on the R. Viewed from the West.
Early Winter Spires.<br>
Photo by Blitzo.
[Hide Photo] Early Winter Spires. Photo by Blitzo.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Bob Johnson
Philadelphia, PA
[Hide Comment] There is a very nice rappel route adjacent to the West Face route. From the top, locate the hand crack that marks the last pitch of West Face. The rappel station is about 15-20 feet skier's left of this crack. It is a little bit exposed getting to the anchor, but it's not bad. From there, four very clean rappels down the face brings you to a gravelly ledge. There is a cairn skier's left on this ledge with a little dirt path that leads around a corner. There is a final rappel station around this corner that avoids a very sketchy, sandy downclimb. Aug 11, 2020
Jon Nelson
Redmond, WA
[Hide Comment] If you do the West Face route, you can traverse over at the finish to end at this rap anchor. If coming from another route, you might want a belay or short rap to it, as it involves slab traversing to it and a slip would be fatal.

Best to rap either with a single 70 m (5 raps total) or double 70s (3 raps). We used a single 70 m once, and double 60s the second time. With the latter, it was hairy reaching the 2nd anchor (after skipping one). Aug 16, 2020
Serge S
Seattle, WA
[Hide Comment] West rappel with 1 rope - I estimate it takes a 61-62m dynamic rope to do the longest rap comfortably (i.e. personal-anchor into the lower chains from a reasonable position with the end knots still in place). Most ropes sold as "60" are in fact 61+, so they'll make it. But if yours is exactly 60 (per standard half-rope-catenary-with-1m-sag measurement), things may get sketchy.

The longest rap (single rope) is the 2nd one from the top (or 3rd if you start with the optional 20m low-angle rap from the very top, which avoids the exposed down-scramble Bob mentioned). Aug 30, 2022