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Routes in North Early Winter Spire

Chockstone Route T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Easy Snow
Early Winter Couloir T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b AI2-3 M4+ A1
Labor Pains T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
Northwest Corner (a.k.a. Boving-Pollack Route) T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
West Face, The T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Unsorted Routes:
Type: Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches, Grade III
FA: Paul Boving, Steve Pollack
Page Views: 14,889 total, 103/month
Shared By: Lizzy Trower on Jan 30, 2006
Admins: Scott Coldiron, Nate Ball, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick

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Typically done in 5 pitches, some can be strung together to do it in 4. There are some wide bits, but they are actually quite fun and don't require the use of wide crack techniques. The climb starts by scrambling up a trail traversing north along the base of North Early Winter to the base of a corner/crack that leads up to a ledge with lots of trees. P1 - Climb the crack/corner to the ledge. Part of it is a chimney that doesn't have much in terms of protection, but this section is short and fairly easy. P2 - From the left edge of the ledge, continue up and left through some more trees and up a corner to another belay ledge. P3 - Continue up a left-leading flake/wide crack (remember the big gear!!!) to another belay ledge with many slings wrapped around the tip of a small pillar. You don't want to skip this belay because you will want to have all your big gear for the next pitch. P4 - Continue up the "surprisingly secure offwidth" pitch. It seems like the best way to do this pitch is to smear up the face and stick your right arm in the crack for balance. Continue up to another sloping ledge below a roof. P5 - Traverse leftwards around the roof (watch rope drag!) and continue up the crack system as the angle eases and you reach the summit.


A standard trad rack to 4" or 5". As usual on alpine routes, make sure to bring long runners to help reduce rope drag on the long, sometimes traversing pitches.
dydayley   camas,wa
I had two 4's and a five and was glad to have all of them. although the 5 is not required to climb the route I was glad to have it on the corner pitch and was able to place it easily on 2 other pitches to unload it. Needless to say it was not dead weight and I was glad to have it with me. I have to admit I am a mere human! Oct 23, 2017
Nick Drake
Newcastle, WA
Nick Drake   Newcastle, WA
With careful rope management you can link in the first and second pitches described here without too much drag. Just be mindful of keeping the rope up and where it's going through the trees.

I brought two 4s and one 5, never placed the second 4.
I found a great #5 placement way back up (120cm runner) under the first large flake coming out of the left facing corner, inspires confidence more than gear in that corner below as you go into the layback.

I bumped the 5 through much of the wider bit on P3. Aug 22, 2017
eric schweitzer
Bend, Oregon
eric schweitzer   Bend, Oregon
really good route! The route description in the comments section is an improvement on the official description. Our 60m got us through the rappels without having to rappel off the ends and downclimb (just barely though). Aug 24, 2012
Greg Kuchyt
Richmond, VT
Greg Kuchyt   Richmond, VT
P1 move past some suspect flakes and a crack to the base of the chimney (plentiful solid gear at the mouth of the chimney and 5.7ish moves with minimal involvement in the chimney).

P2 move up and through the trees through easy terrain to a big belay ledge with two opposing corners, easily traverse left briefly around the small buttress of rock that forms the right-facing corner. This brings you to a left-facing corner/flake system that forms the lower NW corner. There is an obvious flake/horn and a tree (had a sling at one point) here. It may be possible to not hit the big belay ledge and opposing corners if you are trending left through out this pitch? The essential note is if you see two opposing corners at a nice flat belay ledge, go left around the buttress on the left.

P3 Follow the wide corner/flake past the first roof and a good ledge (optional belay) past a wide layback flake section to the "scary" undercling layback to a ledge with the pillar loaded with tat at the base of the NW corner proper.

P4 Obvious up the corner until you reach the obvious belay alcove.

P5 Up unprotected face (5.7ish) to the roof/left-facing corner transition. Up the corner past a short crux to an interesting exit move to easy terrain. From here it is your choice how to proceed (stop short and belay, run to the end of the technical climbing, etc). At one point it becomes very obvious the technical climbing is over.

Regarding gear recommendations. Double 4s (or a 4 and 3.5 works but is not as ideal) would be helpful, the 4" crack on the corner pitch is fairly consistently 4" for the first half to two-thirds of the pitch. As mentioned above a 5" piece could be helpful in a couple spots but is not necessary.

For the rap find the obvious bolted anchor on the SW side that leads into the W gully that splits North and South Early. A 70m rope would be ideal. A 60m rope will work, but you will rap off the ends of the rope for the first two rappels on to "easy" but exposed terrain (i.e. do not rap off the ropes uncontrolled or it could be bad). Double ropes obviously would work, though I'm not sure if it would allow you to skip a rappel or not. At the second rappel anchor (from the top) rappel into the skier's left gully to reach the next anchor. Aug 16, 2012
A spectacular line - best we've done so far on the Liberty Bell Group (but have not done West Face yet). Mar 21, 2008