Crescent Spires, Ears Between

Technical climbing info

Mountain: Crescent Spires, Donkey Ears
Elevation: 2,658m
Route: Ears Between
Length: 6p
Grade: AD, 5.9

After an awe-inspiring climb of Bugaboo Spire’s NE Ridge, we woke up this morning late.  We both rolled out of our tents around 9AM (a far cry from our previous day’s alpine start at 2AM), and made coffee.  We had 1.5 days left of food, making for a pretty hard end to our trip by the next day.  We toyed with the idea of taking a jaunt through the range’s cols to attempt a route on Brenta Spire, or to go for the classics Ears Between.  We had enough of the rubble wrangling, so by the time 11AM came, we made our way to Ears Between.  

We thought we’d miss the crowds, Applebee was nearly cleared out, and we were getting an ultra-late start. However, Ears Between proved to be the hot spot of the day.  As we stared up at 3 parties making their way up, 2 of them climbing in parallel, we wondered if going down was the right decision.  We looked through our phones for alternative routes we had saved.  We found a massive rock to hide behind, which allowed us to have lunch and figure out a plan.  We waited for 1.5hrs behind that rock, and eventually the route cleared out.  Ears Between would be the route for the day!

The climbing was much more enjoyable than I originally expected.  For whatever reason, it felt  much more alpine than what I had got from its well-known neighbors Lion’s Way and the McTech Arete. The crux was weird and interesting, and the off with crack definitely delivered too.  I’d definitely be putting this one on my to-repeat list.

What it actually looked like the morning of our climb. The smoke seemed to blow in overnight.
Will getting off a comfy belay station, with Bugaboo Spire peeking out in the background. The true crux of the first few pitches was not getting rocks and sand in the shoes.
The notable chockstone crux, that seems to get upgraded in difficulty every few years. While this is rated at 5.9 today, I’d imagine there is some original route description out there calling this a 5.4 or something.
The offwidth crack to the spot between the two ears, which is visible all the way from the camp and the lake. To me, this was definitely the highlight of the route.
A snap of the other peaks of the Crescent Spires, and Brenta Spire off in the smoke behind.

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