For the approach to the beginning of this climb (where the flat spine finally steepens, c. 5,800 ft), see the West Ridge approaches on the Main Page. Give yourself 2-3 hours for the approach. It could be shorter or longer depending on conditions. Snow will slow you down.
From the small notch between flat spine and steeper ridge, begin by first climbing the ledge (mostly Class 4 but with a few low 5th moves) for about 120 feet. Eventually, if you keep climbing, you will run into a notch requiring a slabby downclimb to get in to. You can do this or take a dirt ledge on the north side to circumvent. The ledge may look like it has a bootpath along it. Climb slightly upward (Class 3 with ample trees for anchors) aiming for a depression in the face below a notch. Climb up the slabby depression (crux section, Class 4/5) then bear right to the notch.
Continue climbing along the south side now past the next gendarme (Class 3). You can vary your route either over the top of the crest or on the south side. The crest is flat for about 60 yards until the final scramble to the top (Class 3). Heather and rock outcrops make up this last bit.
Time: 2-3 hours to beginning of route + 1 or 2 hours to summit
Gain: 3,300 ft (all told)
Snow Conditions Advisory
In the case that the ridge is snow-covered--particularly on its north side--the climbing will be more difficult. An ice axe would be advisable. Ledges may be covered with sloped snow.
You can rappel/downclimb most of the ridge to retrace your route to Cave Ridge thence to the Alpental parking lot. Or you can descend via the East Ridge. An East Ridge descent works best if you A) have two cars for the shuttle between start points, B) are willing to thumb a ride back to your car at Alpental, or C) made the approach from the PCT parking lot via Commonwealth Creek.
Also, you can descend directly down into Commonwealth Creek if the ground is snow-covered. Glissading will get you down quickly.
30m rope is sufficient
Small alpine rack (six or seven pieces total; there are lots of trees to sling)
3 runners with carabiners
Helmet (optional due to shortness of technical portion of climb)
Rock shoes are not necessary
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