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South Early Winters Spire
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Direct East Buttress T 
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Passenger, The T 
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The Passenger 

YDS: 5.11+ French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 24 British: E4 6a

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches, 900', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
Season: July through early Sept
Page Views: 3,373
Submitted By: blakeherrington on Oct 30, 2009

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The Passenger is one of the best rock climbs in the Cascades. It is a long grade III or short grade IV, usually done in 7-8 pitches on flawless rock.

p1 -5.10D (160 feet)
Double Cracks right from the ground. Climb toward a massive roof and go left under roof clipping one bolt. Crux moves come before and after the roof. Belay is bolted.

P2. 5.11bish. 140'ish
Climb mellow cracks up the face above you to a roof. Roof has bolt on it. Pull roof through to the right via strange flares and campus moves. The crack above the roof has some grass and flares.
Continue up the corner past a tree and larger, but much easier roof (5.9).

P3. 5.11- (80 feet) Amazing sustained finger crack to a roof/slot. Belay off bolts on left.

P4. 5.11+ (120 feet) Move left and down slightly past two bolts, slab crux, then clip 3rd bolt. Another easier runout above the 3rd bolt takes you straight up past a few more bolts to a roof. Face moves past a bolt is the route's crux, and good holds soon appear. Belay here or keep climbing right, to climb eventually up and right from the belay.

Move right, looking for a high bolt way up inside this A-Frame roof/chimney to your right. Clip bolt and move right. Step up to a small stance with dead tree and belay.

P5 5.10C 150+ feet.
Move up and right from the belay to a crack, or move up the bombay chimney above. Soon, step back left and up into 5.10 corner and splitter. Belay above tree.

P6 5.10c

Follow thin-hand crack, becoming left-leaning ramp and corner. Awkward and you feel like you will fall out to the left. Also possible to go more straight up, via a wider crack. [FOR THE ORIGINAL EASIER FINISH] When possible, traverse straight left for ~30' on a rail, to reach a belay in some greenery.

p7 - 5.7 - Follow splitters and blocks up and left to the topout on the South Arete.

[ Revised P7 - Better Finish - Don't move left at the top of P6, but build a gear belay directly above, just below a solitary bolt. Move left at the bolt, into a shallow RFC/finger crack, which leads straight up to the top. ~20m 5.10-


From the South Arete of the spire, head down and right (NE) along the base, eventually being forced to drop away from the foot of the wall to skirt some steeper and more broken terrain. cross the first gully, and begin at double cracks near a fir tree at the right end of a ledge. This is ~10mins of rock-shoe scrambling from the base of the S. Arete. Easy to leave packs and shoes hanging in a tree at the South Arete, the standard descent for this peak.


Doubles from thin finger cams to #2 camlot. One #3 camalot. One set of nuts.

Photos of The Passenger Slideshow Add Photo
pitch 6 or so. The best of the climb maybe.
pitch 6 or so. The best of the climb maybe.
This is maybe 5-10 minutes east from the start of ...
This is maybe 5-10 minutes east from the start of ...
bolted roof on p2
bolted roof on p2

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By Ol' Toby
From: WA
Jun 24, 2014
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

Superb route! The start is further down the gully than we originally thought. You can't simply traverse the wall from the South Arete, but rather have to head away from the wall a bit and down the gully for 10 minutes or so. Once the ledges leading up from the gully in Blake's beta photo come into view the start is obvious. The second pitch roof is a good landmark.

I linked pitches 2 and 3 with a 70M rope and had plenty left over. My partner and I agreed this was the best climbing on the route. The initial traverse on the crux pitch is quite delicate and techy. The crux boulder problem, conversely, consists of a few powerful moves to a good ledge. 12a felt about right to us but I thought the initial traverse was the harder climbing overall. The remainder of the route is sustained 5.10 crack climbing with a bit of awkward wider crack right before the traverse off left.

Blake's pitch and belay beta is right on. I didn't find the ledge indicated for the pitch 6 belay in the Supertopo, but there is a decent stance above the obvious tree at ~130 feet as the description here indicates.
By kerwinl
Sep 22, 2014
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

I thought the direct finish of P7 was maybe only 5.9+, but this could be do to finally finding a finger crack that fits my chubby fingers. Either way the direct finish is cleaning up and is a great way to finish the route vs traversing left.
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