The Southwest Rib of South Early Winter Spire (SEWS) is one of the best 5.8 routes in the state. It contains a variety of climbing from chimneys to slabs and everything in between. It is one of our favorite climbs at Washington Pass and many guests come back to climb this route year after year.
The climb is 10 pitches long with 2 pitches in the 5.8/5.8+ range. The quality and variety of the climbing are what makes this climb so classic. The “Wavy Crack," the “Bear Hug” pitch, and the “Nervous Nelly” pitch are all memorable pitches. There is also the option to add in some variations to make the route a little harder if so desired.
The descent takes you down the regular route on SEWS – The South Arete, via a combination of down-climbing and short rappels.
This climb is a good route for climbers comfortable following 5.8 crack climbs. It is also a good option for more experienced climbers working on their lead climbing and belay stance management on multi-pitch routes.
Participants should have previous belaying and rappelling experience. We recommend climbers have previous experience on multi-pitch routes but it is not required.
There are numerous climbs in the Washington Pass area in this grade. Recommended routes include the South Buttress of Cutthroat, The Becky Route, OverExposure and Rappel Grapple on Liberty Bell and the regular routes on Concord and Lexington Tower. For more information check out the New Super Topo Guidebook to the area.