K-Spire Conditions - July 21st
This report from Stoney Richards. There is another trip report on cc.com.
K Spire is a small spire in a grand location, and well worth the 7+ mile hike and 120' of rock climbing to the 8,849' summit. Sam and I left the trailhead at 9:00am and began the 4.1 mile hike to Summerland. From Summerland we headed up to Meany Crest. We followed snow gullies and crossed rock ribs to gain the Fryingpan Glacier at 7300'.
The Fryingpan is breaking up so we roped up and followed a fairly level traverse at 7500'. A higher route going to Little T looked less crevassed and climbing parties were traveling unroped on that path. We reached the scree slope below the spire at 1:30 p.m. There is a great bivy at the base of the S face, a good place to leave the packs and flake out the rope. We had a photo copy of an old Cascade Alpine Guide with two route descriptions of the East and South Faces. We had hoped to do 2 routes (as described in an old Cascade Alpine Guide) but did not find the route on the South Face (it's very loose there).
So next we tried the E face. After a loose start, the rock became much more solid and clean. The pitch was a quite good, with tricky face moves then some crack climbing to a final chimney. Good pro was easy to find (we had 3 cams and a set of nuts.) The pitch was 5.7 and I only placed 3 large nuts.
The summit has outstanding views of Little T, D.C. route, and the Emmons Glacier. The rappel station is a mess and needs some work. One 60m rope will get you back to the bivy. On the way down we spied a line directly below the rap station. It looked great (steep and hard.) After a few tries, we unlocked the problem at 5.11-. Soon enough, we were standing on top again, well worth the effort. We descended from the base to the car in under 3 hours getting us back at White River around 6:30 p.m..