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|South Early Winters Spire
I had been talking with Mara about climbing South Early |
Winters (S Arete) this past weekend, but she had been sick
and so I was expecting not to go. I have lots of garlic at
home that needs to be harvested anyway. But she was mostly
over her flu, and wanted to do the climb. So off we went.
We drove over Saturday evening, stopping to eat at Annie's
Pizza Station in Concrete. (My choice, Mara got to pick on
the way home.) Arrived at the Cutthroat Lake trailhead at
about 9:30 pm, where we set up camp and watched shooting
stars until we fell asleep. The shooting stars were
fantastic, leaving long ionization trails behind them.
(Cutthroat Lake t/h is one of the few places near Washington
Pass without tons of mosquitos.)
Sunday morning we got up at 5:30, intending to leave the car
by 7. And we did, so we were the first party for S Early
Winters that day. Trail was in great shape, other than being
dry and dusty.
We got up to the start of the route by 9, and it looked like
it was going to be a quick day. But I was kind of funking it
I started to lead the route with my pack, then decided I
didn't want to. So we rearranged gear so that only the
essential stuff was in Mara's pack.
Then I started again, and put in some pro to protect the
slabby step-across move. (I had done this twice before, once
on top rope and once on lead, but I had also fallen once
before, on lead. Guess what was foremost in my mind....)
So I hesitated, then placed another piece. Then I hestitated
some more, and placed *another* piece. Then another party
I know what I should have done was just push through the
move, but instead I offered to let them climb through (and
take a toprope on the first pitch). They accepted.
(This was probably better in the long run, because they were
faster than us anyway. This was Mara's first multi-pitch
climb, and it was only my second roped lead in about as many
years. That's why we chose an easy one.)
After that things went a lot easier, though somewhat slowly.
We worked our way up the route, finally reaching the summit
in early afternoon. (We had passed the other party coming
back down a litle ways past the third pitch.)
The view was really great. That is the highest peak in the
Washington Pass group, and with the nice weather we could
see a long way.
Besides us and the party that we had allowed to pass, there
was only one other party we saw on the mountain. And we only
saw one party on North Early Winters. It was a lot less
crowded than I had feared.
We got back to the car around 7, and drove down to
Marblemount. Mara wanted some of that "Good Food", a little
burger joint which did have pretty good food. Best I have
had in Marblemount, anyway. Lots of other climbers in the
I dropped Mara off about 11:20, and got back home just as my
car turned into a pumpkin with the stroke of midnight.