American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington, Cascade Mountains, "Little Mac Spire"

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1970

“Little Mac Spire”. On June 19, naïvely contemplating a one-day east-west traverse of all the McMillan Spires, Bill Sumner and I made the first ascent of this unnamed pinnacle immediately east of East McMillan Spire in the Southern Pickets, via a “spaghetti” route on its 500-foot south face. We climbed broken rock and ledges from the glacier at the bottom of the face to the steep central section. A large heather and rock ledge was followed left for about 100 feet, and then the route went up steep cracks and projections to a belay on the top of a large pedestal. A short, thin traverse to the right and a vertical crack led to a belay where the angle eased temporarily. A traverse across steep, slabby rock brought us to a good ledge on the upper face 200 feet below the summit. With F8 climbing over steep and somewhat loose rock, followed by a short lead around a block and up a narrow chimney, we reached the top. We rappelled into the notch west of the summit and then climbed the upper 400 feet of the east face of East McMillan Spire to allow a descent by the steep couloir between East and West McMillan Spires. About 20 pitons and nuts were needed, with 6 hours required for the ascent and another 4 hours for the rather complicated descent route. NCCS III, F8.

Mike Heath

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