West Ridge (Spire Col South)

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Spring, Summer, Fall
Time Required:
A long day
Lots of exposure
Rock Difficulty:
Class 3

Route Quality: 3 Votes

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West Ridge (Spire Col South)
Created On: Sep 25, 2006
Last Edited On: Jun 4, 2007

The Approach

On the West RidgeDave navigates the last of towers upon exiting the chute and on his way to summit seen on far right.
Peppermint Peak's southern ascent of the west ridge can be done via the south side of Spire Col. Approach is from Pine Creek trail. Approximately 4 miles into trail, just prior to reaching Upper Pine Lake's northern edge, turn right onto slight trail headed west.
Keep elevation gain moderate while transitting on the north side of Birchim Lake. Follow Pine Creek drainage route, you can actually walk up the creek in late summer.
Picking your way towards the northeastern side of Mt Julius Caesar, there are no obvious trails but options are many. Once reaching approx 11400', the shrubs will clear and tallus appears. Stay on northern edge of the several "pothole" lakes encountered and head straight for striking contrast of rock between Bear Creek Spire and Peppermint Peak, this is Spire Col.
Distance is approx 8 miles one way.
Approach to Peppermint PeakOn approach to Spire Col via boulder and talus fields; passing many beautiful tarns.

The Route

Fun Class 3 ledges beginning on the light brown rock Bear Creek Spire's property will take you to the top of Spire Col. Once reaching the towers at the top of col, stay predominantly to the south and pick your way east through continued Class 3 with lots of exposure to summit. Rock composition, color and texture change dramatically a short distance from the towers. Beware, rock quality is not aesthetic Sierra granite.
True summit lies just east of the falsie.
Retreat same route or down northern side of Spire Col (Class 5).

The Gear

Nothing more than sturdy hiking boots or approach shoes in Summer and Fall.
Winter and Spring, ice axe and crampons will be needed for approach, possibly snow shoes in early Spring.
If descending by way of Spire Col's north side between the towers, rope and slings would be handy if down-climbing 5th Class is not your strong point.