North Early Winter Spires ( NEWS)

 

Description:  North Early Winter Spire's most popular routes are the NW Corner 5.9 and the West Face 5.11a/ 10a  A1.  I last did the W Face in 2010 and NW corner in 2012 and they still stand as some of the best alpine routes I've ever done.  Challenging intro to breaking into 5.9ish in the alpine but shorter routes. 

 

Aside from the 11a finger crack that is easy to pull through, I personally found the West face a tad easier.  The NW Corner has some committing undercling moves on Pitch 2 that can be odd to protect, and the 5.9 crux pitch is a fun corner off-width battle.  My first foray on that route involved me setting up an intermediate belay to hand over my lead on pitch 2 for the real 5.9 ( though more protected) and then cursing, grunting, and sweating the off-width as I hang dogged up it terrified for my life in 2008.  I did go back in 2012 and successfully enacted revenge.  Both routes have some large flake moves that are only protectable by a Camalot #6, but many parties do without these and the moves weren't difficult as you have these massive flakes for hands, but they feel committing to plebeians like me because you have to smear your feet and commit.  

 

 

Stories by Scott Heinz ( Medical Moose Labs)

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