OverviewThis elegant ridge climb reaches the summit of the south spire in 4 to 6 pitches of fun. This route is the center route of the Ensakwatch Enchainment and is the highlight of the traverse. Unlike the broken rock on the north ridge on the north spire, the rock of this ridge is perfect golden granite filled with splitter cracks.
Getting ThereFrom the Nesakwatch Creek trailhead, follow the very steep climbers path up the hill for approximately 4 hours to reach the high alpine basin below the west face of the spire. The trail gains over a thousand meters in only 3 kilometers of travel and is relentless.
There are several possible approaches to this climb. The easiest one is to go up and over the north spire to the notch between the 2 spires. Another option may be to climb the steep but short headwall to access the notch directly from the basin. (I haven't tried this)
Scramble up the ridge until it steepens and the climbing becomes 5th class.
Pitch #1 - 5.7 / 5.8 - Climb the right facing dihedral using the various fingercracks for pro (5.5ish) then scramble to the base of the fingercrack. Jamb the obvious clean fingercrack just left of the crest (5.7), then jamb the angled thin crack to the right and up (felt like 5.8). Gain the ridgecest then move back to the left for a belay at the base of the obvious handcrack. 150 feet
Pitch #2 - 5.6 - Jamb the beautiful but low angled splitter handcrack for 30 feet then scramble up the low 5th terrain to the base of the fingercracks. Jamb these up and to the right and belay at the top. 130 feet
Pitches #3 - #4, Option #1 - 5.8 - Traverse up and to the right and gain the ridge crest via a short but steep handcrack then climb steep knife edged ridgecrest with good cracks until a decent belay spot is found. For pitch #4 continue up the ridgecrest and top out on the foresummit then traverse left and belay at the base of the summit block offwidth on the SW corner.
Pitches #3 - #4, Option #2 - 5? - Climb up low 5th terrain aiming for the steep handcrack splitting the final headwall about 30 feet left of the crest. Jamb this (looks like 5.10) to reach the foresummit. Belay here then scramble accross easier terrain and belay at the base of the summit block offwidth. Bring extra #2 to #3 camalots if trying this.
Pitches #3 - #4, Option #3 - 5.6 - Scramble up low 5th terrain moving up and to the left and belay at the base of the chimney. Climb the chimney then scramble to the offwith at the base of the summit block.
Pitch #5 - There are 2 options on the summit block. The first is a hard looking overhanging fist crack / offwidth on the north side. The 2nd option is the standard way via a 5.7 offwidth crack on the SW corner. 25 feet You'll need a #5 friend to protect the 5.7 way, we just soloed it.
Down - There are 3 options to get off the summit block since there are no bolts on top.
1. Simul rappel off both sides.
2. Sling a feature at the top of the offwidth with a 48 incher than whiplash the rope to free it (what we did).
3. Freesolo downclimb the 25 foot 5.7 offwidth (no thanks).
Hike down the ridgeline to the south until you find a large slung block anchor with rap rings. One 30 meter rappel will get you down to eaiser terrain where you can scramble down to the notch. From here you can either hike down from the notch back into the basin or continue up the north face of Rexford.
Essential Gear1 each cams micro to 3"
1 5" cam (optional)
1/2 set of nuts
60 meter rope
Ice axe and crampons in early season