It was the point in the summer where Jason and I were ready for some solid rock climbing minus any bushwhacking. So, we decided to climb the East Face (aka Rebel Yell) of Chianti Spire, a route that is quickly becoming a North Cascades classic line. First climbed in the 80's, this route features perfect rock and great climbing. The crux pitches are both offwidths, so be warned! Jason and I thought this was a challenging and stellar climb. Thanks Jason for another fun climb together!
Since the approach for Chianti Spire is the same as the approach for Silver Star Mountain, we camped at Burgundy Col and climbed Silver Star the day before we climbed Chianti Spire. I also did a short scramble up Vasiliki Tower.
Below is an overview and pitch-by-pitch photo trip report from our climb of Rebel Yell on Chianti Spire.
(Taken from the summit of Silver Star Mountain the previous day.)
Summit:Chianti Spire Location: Wine Spires, just E of Washington Pass Route: East Face (Rebel Yell) Difficulty: III, 5.10, 7p Summit Elevation: 8,380 ft Elevation gain: ~600' of climbing on the east face Approach: A climber's trail begins off HWY 20 at elev. 4250' and heads eastward up to Burgundy Col; traverse through the col and onto the upper Silver Star Glacier; the route starts off the upper Silver Star Glacier (<5 miles, 3500' up, xx hours) (Note: alternate approach is via Silver Creek from HWY 20) Descent: rappel route with 2 ropes Time: 1-2 days (can be done car-to-car or can camp at col)
HWY 20 Parking: 4,250 ft Burgundy Col: 7,720 ft Start of route on Silver Star Glacier: 7,900 ft Summit: 8,380 ft
2 60m ropes (need 2 for rappels), slings, rack to 4" with doubles of #0.75, #1, #2, and #3 (actually we had a #3 and #3.5), ice axe and crampons for approach
Chianti Spire is located outside of the North Cascades National Park, so permits are not needed.
Parking to Burgundy Col: 3 hours Burgundy Col to base of route: <1 hour from camp and we were climbing Climbing route: 6 hours (this includes some time we had to spend on a cam that got very stuck) Descending route: 40 minutes Hike out: 2.1 hours
Rebel Yell Pitch-by-Pitch
III, 5.10, 7 pitches, 500' up, 6 hours up, 40 min down
Pitch 1:5.8, 140 feet
Flakes and cracks to the base of the obvious offwidth in the dihedral. There seem to be several options here.
Pitch 2:5.9, 80 feet
Short fist crack to wide offwidth. It's easier than it looks if you can find the face features and thin cracks around it. Belay on a small stance (horizontal crack for feet) just above.
Pitch 3: 5.7, 100 feet
Easy climbing up a lower angle dihedral. Belay at a slung block on the right about 30 feet below a headwall in the dihedral. (We linked this pitch with the previous.)
Pitch 4:5.8, 70 feet
Slabs and cracks to an airy blind frictiony move to the left over an arete. Then traverse further left on good cracks to a sloping ledge directly below a steep thin hand crack (one bolt).
Pitch 5:5.10, 100 feet
Climb up the thin hands crack (steep and strenuous). The crack then opens up to cupped hands (#3 Camalot), and then even wider (#3.5 to #4 Camalot). Belay at a small but good stance below the final section of offwidth (bolt here).
Pitch 6: 5.8, 140 feet
More offwidth climbing (dihedral and other features keep things 5.8 here). Finally, a ramp on the left leads to the base of the summit block.
Pitch 7: 5.7, 20 feet
Fun moves on good holds lead up the summit block to the tiny summit. There's an old bolt at the top. Time for the rebel yell!
It's recommended to rap the route with two ropes. We did 4 double-rope rappels. The first rappel is off the summit block. The second is from the top of Pitch 5. The third and fourth (for us) were directly down from Pitch 5 on a slabby area to the climber's left of the climbing route. The fourth rappel brought us onto the snow. Some parties opt to swing over to the top of Pitch 4 on their third rappel instead of rappelling straight down as we did.
Photos from the approach and camp at Burgundy Col
It is possible to climb Rebel Yell in one long day from the car. However, we climbed Silver Star Mountain and Vasiliki Tower the previous day, so we camped at Burgundy Col. Burgundy Col is less than 1 hour from the start of Rebel Yell. We found a snow patch for water, but water here is difficult to find in late summer. Below are some photos from the approach and from camp at Burgundy Col. It was a great night for star photography and for photographing cars driving by far below on HWY 20!
More on my website
This trip report is copied from my website, which has several other climbing trip reports and photographs from the North Cascades and elsewhere: www.stephabegg.com.