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South Early Winters Spire

Washington > Northwest Region > N Cascades > Washington Pass

Description

South Early Winters Spire is the highest summit of the Liberty Bell Group. Just South of the 'North Spire', rock is excellent granite and there are routes on all sides. The South Arete, SW Couloir, and SW Rib are very popular. With an easy approach up the Blue Lake Trail, or from the hairpin turn on Hwy 20, SEWS features many very accessible routes.

FA via the Southwest Couloir on July 20, 1937. Kenneth Adam, Rafi Bedayn, and W. Kenneth Davis. The summit is at 7807'.

Getting There

Blue Lake Trail - ~1 hour of hiking on the trail leads to a meadow and opening on the NW side of the spire. Leave the maintained trail here, and head up and left on obvious climber paths. The SEWS is the rightmost of the obvious peaks.

Getting to routes on the East side of the peak is best accomplished via parking at the hairpin turn on hwy 20, and following easy gullies, climber trails, and open alpine terrain to the obvious base of the spire.

Routes from Left to Right

5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 21
Boving Roofs
Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 83
Direct East Buttress
Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
 46
The Hitchhiker
Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c C1+
 2
Mojo Rising
Trad, Aid, Alpine 9 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 19
Northwest Face (Boving-Pollock)
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 23
The Passenger
Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 151
South Arete
Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 14
Southern Man
Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
Mod. Snow
 10
Southwest Couloir
Snow, Alpine
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 234
Southwest Rib
Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Boving Roofs
 21
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
Direct East Buttress
 83
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
The Hitchhiker
 46
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
Mojo Rising
 2
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c C1+ Trad, Aid, Alpine 9 pitches
Northwest Face (Boving-Poll…
 19
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
The Passenger
 23
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
South Arete
 151
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
Southern Man
 14
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
Southwest Couloir
 10
Mod. Snow Snow, Alpine
Southwest Rib
 234
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine 7 pitches

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Ridge Traverse to the Summit Pinnacle
[Hide Photo] Ridge Traverse to the Summit Pinnacle
Climbers on the last full pitch of SW Rib
[Hide Photo] Climbers on the last full pitch of SW Rib
Summit View
[Hide Photo] Summit View
South face of South Early Winter Spire 1976 Dick Emerson climbing
[Hide Photo] South face of South Early Winter Spire 1976 Dick Emerson climbing
Two buddies on summit of South Early Winter Spire
[Hide Photo] Two buddies on summit of South Early Winter Spire
The summit of South Early Winter Spire.
[Hide Photo] The summit of South Early Winter Spire.
Another party descending the South Arete.
[Hide Photo] Another party descending the South Arete.
Phil Gleason approaching South Early Winter Spire in a freezing September cloud, 2011.
[Hide Photo] Phil Gleason approaching South Early Winter Spire in a freezing September cloud, 2011.
View from the summit of SEWS
[Hide Photo] View from the summit of SEWS
Climbing the South Arete
[Hide Photo] Climbing the South Arete
North and South Early Winter Spires
[Hide Photo] North and South Early Winter Spires

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] First time up here and we tried to hit up SW rib but there was snow down on the trail and the boot prints had often melted away, we followed the wrong set of prints and got lost in the woods for a good while. There where also a lot of trees down which took us off the trail again and wasted a lot of time. Then above treeline the path crossed a stream of snow melt on a snow bridge and we kept post holing through so we tried to stick to the rock talas but that proved slower going.

If we had gone 2 weeks earlier or 2 weeks later probably would have been fine lol

Basically we heard how easy the approach was and took it for granted. Now that I now whats up there I'm sure I'll have no trouble next time. But if you've never been up to this area and you happen to go at the wrong time... Also the ovious climbers trail from the clearing is very easy to find, but probably expect another hour to the base of the climbs. All the beta I read made it sound like it was way shorter. Don't get me wrong it shouldn't be a bad approach, just wanted other people to avoid the mistakes we made, the internet made it sound so easy I racked up at the car and shouldered the rope

Super beautiful area Jun 7, 2016
[Hide Comment] We are from out of State and it had been a long time since we had last climbed in the area, however, we found the approach quite enjoyable despite so much snow we could not even drive into the parking lot. We reluctantly took crampons, but we both wore them on the approach which made it a total breeze as the snow was pretty hard otherwise to kick steps into and more time consuming for others.

But of course, now all of these may be moot points....but what an absolutely awesome place! I had only been on Liberty Crack before so never been on that side of the mountain....early start on Early Winter is the way to go:)...as always. Jun 11, 2016