East Face (Action Potential)

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 48.55347°N / 120.59087°W
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering, Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.10c (YDS)
Additional Information Grade: III
Sign the Climber's Log


The East Face of Burgundy Spire is a steep 700' wall forming a worthy addition to the cluster of faces and ridges which make up the Wine Spires. It holds at least 4 climbs, all of them lacking in crowds, and perhaps a bit more lichen-covered for it, but all of substantial quality. One of the newer additions to the Wine Spires is this route put up by Mike Layton and Mark Allen in 2004, which follows much of the Cascades in offering a bit of adventure mixed with some excellent climbing. Despite some areas on the face that have subpar quality and cleanliness, the steepest and most challenging sections offer outstanding climbing in as usual, a fantastically scenic setting.

Getting There

See the main page for getting to Burgundy Col. From the col drop to the East and traverse to the base of the route. It is past two gullies, the first quite deep and prominent, the second less so, a couple hundred feet East of the couloir below Burgundy Col. See the links at the bottom for very specific info.

There is snow on the Northeast side of Burgundy Col and Spire into Fall most years. Expect to have to do a lot of moat running to get to the base of the route if unprepared for hard snow and ice.

There is snow available for water on the Northeast side of Burgundy Col well into Fall most years.

Route Description

To follow the first ascensionists, from the base of the wall proceed up steep, clean cracks and flakes angling slightly climber's left. A comfortable belay perch sits about 30m up just below a right-leaning roof. From there the original line continues up and slightly right following more steep, clean cracks about 15 meters until abruptly turning left across a slab another 15 meters. From the climber's left-hand edge of the slab a steep finger crack rises for about 10 meters to a series of cracks and flakes which extend for another 50 meters to a large ledge. 30 meters of scrambling up and climber's left from the ledge leads to the base of an obvious chimney. 60 meters up the chockstone-filled chimney a flat ledge offers a comfortable spot to belay. A final 50 meters follows the chimney, as it occasionally narrows to off-width and fist crack size, to intersect with the North Face route. The last pitch of the East Face features the most uneven rock of the route, which thankfully has adequate gear despite the less-than-stellar climbing.

The final two ropelengths of the North Face route follow the crest between the North and East Faces up for roughly 15 meters then traverse climber's right, with several spots where one has to downclimb, for another 50 meters or so until below an offwidth/fist crack corner. This corner system is 10 meters to the top.

There are rap stations in a wide variety of places on the North Face which allow for safe rappelling and downclimbing, even with a 50 meter rope. The line of established rappel stations brings one down to Burgundy Col.

Essential Gear

Rock rack to 4", rope at least 50m, stove for water if camping at Burgundy Col. Ice axe helpful, but not required for late season travel on Northeast side of Burgundy Col.

External Links

Photo topo credit Mark Allen

hand-drawn topo credit Mark Allen

FA trip report from Mark Allen and Mike Layton



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