Last Ascent

An Average Climber's Log

A first ascent may forever escape one’s grasp. Fortunately, you can always endeavour to have been the last to stand atop a peak.

This is the chronicle of one moderately incompent climber’s attempts to earn the fleeting glory of these “Last Ascents”, if only for a moment.

Some Excess Wandering on SEWS

With only a few weeks left in the season I’ve been trying to cram in more alpine adventures. Having yet to make it out to Washington Pass, I was stoked to find good weather coincided with my day off. Plans were laid for a Concorde Tower/Liberty Bell double feature.

At the trailhead, I found my packing job wanting. Spending the last few weekends cragging at sea level had me complacent, and I forgot my puffy, toque, and gloves. With nightime lows in the twenties, my plan to cowboy camp and enjoy a starscape free of light pollution was abandoned for a chilly night in the car.

We woke to frosted glass and cold hands and mutually decided that a route with morning sun sounded more appealing than stashing hand warmers in our chalk bags. South Early Winter Spire’s South Arête (III, 5.6) seemed ideal; if we moved quickly it would only take a few hours and allow us plenty of time to attempt a shorter climb of its northern sister.

Predictably, we summited neither NEWS nor SEWS.

Read On…