Southwest Rib of SEWS

Resources

Gear

We brought doubles up to #3 and one #4 and full nuts, but next time could just do doubles of #1-3. Never used any large nuts either.

Getting there

There's an excellent climbers trail now! It splits off 1.8 miles from the main trail.

Climbers trail Close to base Annotated

Pitch 1 - 5.8+, 200 ft?

The official pitch one starts at the base of the dead tree. We've unknowingly bypassed it each time.

Pitch 1 bypass

Continue around the corner on the trail to the gully.

Bypass Annotated

In the gully, there's an icky massive bolder chockstone that has some class 5 moves to get up. The right side is the easiest, but still difficult.

Chockstone

A little bit above the chockstone, look on the left for a ridge where you can do a short rappel from a small tree to some dirt ledges, where you then can walk to the base of pitch 2.

Rappel

Pitch 2 - 5.8, ~120 ft?

Gear: I believe I only used #2-#4.

Belaying from the tree ledges, start up some easy 5th class climbing.

Pitch 1

Then, the "wavy crack" starts. It's a wide, left-leaning crack. It's awkward. Toughest part of the whole climb. End on the dirt at the top left, belay off a tree.

Pitch 3 - 5.6, ~60 ft

Continue up and left from the tree up the crack.

Pitch 3

When you reach the trees, traverse right and slightly up around a buldge to the base of the nervous nelly pitch.

Traverse

Pitch 4 - 5.6+, ~100 ft, "Nervous Nelly"

Continue up mostly unprotectable slab following the easiest path.

Pitch 4

About 30 feet up, you'll run into the crux. Foot and hand holds disappear. There's a crack over to the right but no obvious way to reach it.

Following the crux

After lots of hunting, you'll find a tiny foot hold nub far to the right, which you can extend your leg out and just barely reach, and some hand holds on the left that you can lean out to the right on. Your last piece is 10-15 feet below you, did we mention unprotectable? Make a reach of faith to the crack to the right. You've made it!

Pitch 5 - 5.7+, ~80 ft, "Bear Hug"

The famous bear hug pitch! Climb the obvious dual widths. You can just barely place a #4 at the beginning. The toughest moves are at the beginning. A #5 would protect nicely, but it's ultimately not needed. Once off the beginning moves, it starts to feel more secure (which is good, since without a #5 you can't get any gear in until you get to the top).

Pitch 5

From the top, traverse right for 15 feet to a nice blocky flat area and belay.

Traverse

Scrambling

Scramble or simul-climb the class 4 terrain, following the easiest path.

Pitch 6 - 5.5, 200 ft

Make sure you start your belay as close as possible, as this is a rope stretcher! Climb the slab, clipping the bolt.

Base of pitch 6

Continue up easy slab for the full 200 feet, staying on top of the ridge in general. There's one section where I traversed right and around rather than climbing up an unprotectable slab ridge.

Partway up

Pitch 7 - 5.5, ~80 ft

The "bunny ears". There's a number of options...

  • Left option: Traverse left on some easy ledge systems, nicely protected by some cracks at feet level.
  • Straight over option: Go straight over/through the bunny ears. Apparently you then have to rappel after this.
  • Right option: We've seen several people go right. It looks sketchy/difficult traversing.
options

We've always gone the left option.

Traverse

After going around the left, immediately go right and up over a little ridge nook (about 9 feet) and belay.

Nook

Into the gully

Down climb into the gully. It's kind of nice to be roped up for this, with all the loose dirt.

Down climb

Once in the gully, walk up to the top of the col to the base of the last pitch.

Pitch 8 - 5.5, ~80 ft

Climb the easy crack system up to the summit. There's one tricky move on this, the rest is nice and easy!

Pitch 8

Summit!

Summit

Descent

Down climb the easiest 5.5 route from the summit. 4th class scrambling down. There's 3 rappels at the end.