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United States, Washington—Cascade Mountains, Chablis Spire, Lichen Bouquet

Chablis Spire, Lichen Bouquet. The Wine Spires are a tight cluster of granite needles east of Washington Pass with sheer walls and tiny summits. During 1952 and 1953, Fred Beckey and partners scaled the four pinnacles and even today, Burgundy Spire is thought to be one of the most difficult climbs in the state. On October 8, Mark Houston and I scrambled up a long gully to the base of Chablis’ west face. Decomposed blank rock prompted us to climb the gully higher and begin the route on the southwest side. We started the climb by crossing a ramp and ledge and then climbing a comer system to join the west face. Once on the face, we climbed four pitches up cracks and face to just below the tilted summit needle. A short off-width crack lured me from more sensible climbing and I executed the final moves amid small clouds of lichen dust. The wire brush was a useful item. (II, 5.9.)

Alan Kearney