Type: Trad, Alpine, 900 ft (273 m), 7 pitches, Grade III
FA: Donald Anderson & Larry Scott, 1964
Page Views: 43,944 total · 295/month
Shared By: BenCooper on Apr 27, 2009 · Updates
Admins: Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick, Z Winters

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closure at Newhalem Crags March 1st to mid-July Details


This a great route on very good rock, with good pro on the harder sections, and some easier and spicier slab runouts. Definitely a step up from the Beckey Route in length and commitment, but not as committing as say, the NW Face of Liberty Bell.  P1 can be skipped by traversing in from the right, but this is not recommended.

References: Beckey Bible (Cascade Alpine Guide, Rainy Pass to Fraser River) has a good topo.

P1: Scramble up the easy ledge that starts in front of the Y-shaped Larch tree. Belay off of a sturdy tree and follow cracks straight up through an awkward bulge with great gear to an awesome ledge at the base of the Wavy Crack. 5.8+, ~160 feet.

P2 (wavy crack): climb the nice, wide, 5.8 left-leaning crack. Belay at the top of this crack at a tree. 5.8, ~80 feet.

P3: Continue up and left to a tree, then up and right to a belay below the Boving Roof and the West Face route to the left. 5.6, ~60 ft.

P4: Step out right around the corner then go up to the base of the obvious dual offwidths, past some delicate, unprotected 5.6+ slab moves. ~100 ft. This can be linked with the next pitch.

P5: The bear hug pitch. Climb the very fun dual offwidth crack. From the top of the cracks, move up and right below a white wall into a corner and belay. 5.7+, ~80 ft.  To find the "bolt" and the start of the next pitch, either simul or scramble past the big block to a second ledge, continue up and left from here to another ledge which will take you to the arete.  Look around the left side of the arete for the bolt.

P6: clip a bolt, then climb easy slab (5.5 or so) to the arete. Continue following the slabby arete with no pro, and belay at the 'Rabbit Ears,' two bouldery towers with rappel slings. Watch rope drag. ~165 ft.

P7: Either rappel or downclimb into the gully, then climb up from the gully on easy crack systems to the summit blocks. 5.5, ~80 ft. Watch your rope line here if you combine the downclimb with the cracks to the summit. I remember doing this as a short downclimb pitch, then a short pitch to the summit.


The route is located on the south/west side of the WA Pass group, on the west face of South Early Winter Spire.

Hike from the Blue Lake TH for ~1.25 miles until you reach a clearing. From here, follow climber trails (step lightly and around the fragile alpine meadows) to the base of the route, marked by a Y-shaped larch tree.  The SW Rib is the feature to climber's left of the SW Couloir.

The first ascent of the route was done by climbing a short distance up the SW Couloir and traversing left on ledges to reach the start of Wavy Crack.Descend the South Arete route with some class 3/4 down climbing and a couple of rappels.

As an alternate start, scramble up the couloir past the giant chockstone and for another 50 feet, looking for a decent spot to traverse left across some ledges. Go across the ledges and through some trees on the face. A very short rappel gets one to the beginning of the 5.8 left-leaning crack.


1 60m rope. 1 set of stoppers, 1 set of cams to #3 camalot, with doubles in the 1" to 2" range for extra comfort, though it's not really needed. Also bring a large cam (approx. new #5 camalot size) for the Bear Hug pitch.