A few weeks ago I headed over to Washington Pass, following rumors of an epic Tyrolean traverse. Coop and I decided to attempt the Direct East Buttress of South Early Winter Spire, and end up at the top, where a group of friends and Outward Bound employees were planning on setting up the traverse. We had hiked almost to the base of the route, the dark clouds above started to storm. We quickly bailed on the D.E.B., and headed for the easy South Arete. We quickly scrambled up in the rain, and were greeted by friends with a dry tarp, and warm tea. We waited for a few hours, hoping that the rain would stop, debating whether we still had enough time to set up the Tyrolean.
After a bit of time the rain let off, and we decided to set it up. Wyatt, an Outward Bound employee with the master plan behind the traverse, led up the effort. Every year he sets it up on his birthday, pretty cool! After a few hours of work we had the system rigged. The traverse between the two summits is almost exactly a stretched 60 meter rope length. The setup consisted of one long static rope, and a dynamic rope, both on entirely separate anchor systems, and tensioned with 3-1 pulleys. I have some fear of heights, so the initial few feet were nerve wracking, and then just exhilarating.
The next day we climbed Prime Rib, a fun 11 pitch sport climb near Mazama, Washington. The day after was forecasted to be good weather, so we again attempted the Direct East Buttress. We made it to the top without seeing anyone (rare on a Sunday on Washington Pass). The climb was incredible, with one pitch that held the best crack climbing I’ve experienced yet on Washington Pass. All in all, a terrific weekend and good rigging practice!
Louie Dawson earned his Bachelor Degree in Industrial Design from Western Washington University in 2014. When he’s not skiing Mount Baker or somewhere equally as snowy, he’s thinking about new products to make ski mountaineering more fun and safe.