Type: Trad, Alpine, 900 ft, 9 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Bryan Burdo and Scott Johnston 2007
Page Views: 8,765 total · 133/month
Shared By: Nicola Masciandaro on Aug 18, 2013
Admins: Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick

You & This Route

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The route ascends the south face of South Early Winters Spire and starts in a small left-facing dihedral with 4 bolts.


doubles to 2", 60m rope
Given the bolted belays and the amount of protection bolts on the pitches I'd dare to say a rack of singles would work for this route. I can't think of a pitch that doubles were placed on. One thing that consistently stuck out to me while on the route was the absurd amount of gear I had on my harness while arriving at each belay, which was a set of doubles to 2" with a 3" and 4" singles.

Excellent route. Jun 23, 2014
Pitch 8 of route description in photo above goes completely free at around 11b, look for the fingers/tips jams in the corner formed by the roof and face. A much better alternative then aiding through, if you still have the strength left. Amazing route! Jul 7, 2014
James Ellis
Seattle, Washington
James Ellis   Seattle, Washington
Really fun day of climbing on high quality rock. I agree with Kerwin, pitch 8 (pitch 7 in the new Cascades Rock book) felt about 5.11b compared to the other 5.11a pitches on the climb. Also the topo in the book lists the following pitch as 5.11b, but it is actually more like 5.10b.

Lots of unnecessary bolts on this one.. Jun 6, 2016
Climbed the Hitchhiker on 6/5/2016.

There are a couple bolted lines maybe five minutes from the saddle along the base of the wall. The Passenger and the Hitchhiker are a ways further. Does anyone know what these are?

We used Ian Nicholson's topo from the Washington Pass Climbing book. At the top of pitch 4 climb the juggy thing, not the crack in the corner. Linking pitches 5 & 6 is recommended. There were many more bolts than shown on the topo on pitch 7 getting up to the crux. Don't miss the bolt on the lip just after pulling through the 11b fingers on pitch 7. The start of pitch 8 required climbing through a tree and up a wide crack to reach the bolt line on the 5.10 slab (this is not shown on the topo).

We brought doubles to 2", one 3", and one 4". There are a bunch of wide sections that would take a 5", but if you're comfortable running out 5.7/5.8 wide-ish stuff you don't need it.

I'd recommend also looking at Blake Herrington's topo in his Cascades Rock book. Not quite as much detail but a bit more accurate in my opinion. Jun 7, 2016
In reference to the topos and description in Cascades Rock (which I wrote):

  • James Ellis is correct and Cascades Rock has a typo - P8 as described on Page 172 should say .10b not .11b - the topo on Page 173 has it correct where it says ".10 steep hands".
  • The mystery bolts and anchors on the face to the left of The Passenger and Hitchhiker are in the vicinity of (or on the lower part of) a likely unrepeated aid route called "The Midnight Ride" (Coultrip-Sanford 1977) - The visible modern hardware is (I think...) part of a 1 or 2 pitch 5.11+ free climb which Bryan Burdo bolted. I don't believe it tops out.
Jun 9, 2016
Nicola Masciandaro
Brooklyn, NY
Nicola Masciandaro   Brooklyn, NY
Anyone have beta on the bolted line to the right of Hitchhiker? I did a couple very good slabby pitches of it by mistake a couple years ago. Is it Escargot? Jun 11, 2016
Sol Wertkin
Leavenworth, Washington
Sol Wertkin   Leavenworth, Washington
Yep that's Escargot, not sure where the name came from. Goes at 5.13-? But really out of character for the pass as it is a ridiculous bolt ladder.. Aug 14, 2016
Jon Nelson
Redmond, WA
Jon Nelson   Redmond, WA  
Ah, Escargot. It wouldn't surprise me if Nicola accidently did a 5.13.

BTW Sol, Nicola and I recently met your Uncle Doug at the Lone Pine Campground. He liked talking of your climbing exploits. Aug 15, 2016
Daniel Bookless
Portland, OR
Daniel Bookless   Portland, OR
When a routes this good, I feel
Obligated to say it's realllllly good. Jul 4, 2017
Great route. No wide gear needed. If you take a double set of cams you'll end up with lots of gear on your harness at the belays. Lots o bolts make this feel super casual. If you're pushing your envelope at this grade it's a perfect route to try as it is very very well protected. You CANNOT rap with a single 60 without lowering off a single bolt. Granted it's a new bolt in bomber granite, but if this freaks you out then plan on leaving a sling or two. Really fun day. Approach from the hairpin was pretty straight forward but descending that way was not bueno. Jul 28, 2017
In response to James Ellis stating that there are “lots of unnecessary bolts on this one”:

Well, I respectfully disagree. Yes, there are lots of bolts...but not a single one struck me as unnecessary. Just my opinion!

In fact I think the route could use at least two more bolts.

First time I did it, I ended up hanging on the first pitch! Arghhh!

So you’re not even dialed yet, you’re not very far off the ground, and you gotta do a 5.10d move with the bolt a ways below your feet. With a good belayer you’re not going to deck but it’s still quite intimidating and would be a violent fall. At the very least I’d have put the next bolt lower...you reach a position where you could clip it before doing the crux.

Then the second pitch starts with a 5.10a mantle thing above a ledge with no pro...at all, on the pitch yet. I mean, sure, it’s “only” 5.10a. But you fall there and you are injured for sure, requiring a rescue for sure. Heck, higher on this pitch there’s somewhat runout climbing up and right to a crack system...I’d even be cool with a bolt there.

Just seems to me that on a route that does need (and has) quite a few bolts to even exist...it could have used a couple more. Jun 25, 2018
I agree and disagree with hummerchime. Yes, there are some run-out sections on the route, but IMO all of the climbing 5.10 and above is well protected and safe. I felt the first pitch is well protected by the bolts. I felt the climbing to clip the first bolt on the second pitch was well under 5.10 (although if you are under 5'5" clipping the first bolt from the good footholds is not possible). However, the there is a long section of run-out face climbing higher on pitch two, but it is 5.7ish. In terms of gear, we brought doubles from up to .75 and singles to 4 camalot. Knowing the route, I would bring a single set from .2-4 BD (C4/X4) and good selection of stoppers (double in small to medium) and at least 12 alpine draws. We descended the SW Ridge, but it looks possible to rappel (from chains) the route with a 70 from top of 4th. Aug 15, 2018
Wenatchee, WA
Jplotz   Wenatchee, WA
"it looks possible to rappel (from chains) the route with a 70 from top of 4th."

I bet it's possible to rap from the top with a single 70m, on mostly the chain anchors. I could see that being highly annoying for any parties below you, however. And you'd miss scrambling down the South arete, which is part of the allure of this route! Aug 15, 2018