North Early Winter Spire, Chockstone Route


Technical climbing info

  • Mountain: North Early Winter Spire
  • Elevation: 7,807′
  • Route: Chockstone Route
  • Length: 1,000ft
  • Grade: II+, 5.7 M1-2

This year has been the year of precipitation.  Typically Jess and I would have at least attempted 15-20 alpine climbs by this time of the year.  As of this climb, I could count those on less than five fingers.  It’s not all complaints though, we had spent enough time in Smith Rock and Vantage to really fall in love with those areas.  We also chose to buy a van this year, which just makes cragging in those beautiful areas that much more sweet. We decided that this moderate mixed route would climb to be the first “alpine climb” of our season.

I had descended the Chockstone Route last year after Justin and I had climbed the Early Winter Couloir.  That was an exiting yet challenging ascent that we had shot for too late in the season.  The Chockstone Route, just on the other side of the gully, looked and ended up feeling like a lightweight version of the much more serious EWC.

I’m not going to write a bundle about this climb, because it went by quickly, smoothly, and enjoyably.  We found it still covered with plenty of snow and ice, which made it a fun mixed adventure.  We spent a good amount of time in transitions between rock shoes and boots and crampons and no crampons. 

If one can climb 5.7 in boots it would go by really quick, but 5.7 in boots means that I’d be French freeing my way up, which didn’t sound fun.  Climbing it later in the season without snow would make it a lot faster as well, but I do think the charm comes from the route having some snow and ice on it.

Early season in late season, amazing!

We had to share the route with goat-alpinists, talk about a Congo line

Jess following up the super well protected “crux pitch”

Intermediate belay because the drag would have killed us getting to the belay above the chockstone. Jess down climbing to the belay on the chockstone. Very cool position.

Hanging out, on belay.
Punching up the 2nd snow gully
Out of the gully, in the sun
Leading up the final pitches to the summit

The raps were definitely rope stretchers!

The tremendous chockstone, no photo can do this justice!

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