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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-08-2008, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
Stoked
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Default Zee Spire, Olympic Mountains


I had never climbed pillow basalt before. By reports it is hard to protect but since I was solo it was not a concern. After climbing the closeby Cloudy Peak on Alphabet Ridge in the northeast quadrant of the Olympic Mountains, I got a good look at this fine example of pillow basalt in a mountain setting. At one time this was ocean floor near a spreading ridge. As it accreted to North America it was uplifted.

I took the shallow groove just to the right of the partially shaded gully. (The gully has a nasty dropoff just out of sight and couldn't be reached easily.) I climbed using nice face holds on the lava pillows. It truly would not be possible to protect the pitch. About thirty to forty feet of face climbing got me to the crest which I traversed to the tiny summit. I reversed the route gingerly going back down. It's about as steep as it looks.

Access: Approach from Boulder Shelter on the Dungeness River trail. About 300 meters south of the shelter on the way to Home Lake, the Charlia Lakes trail branches off to the left. The trail climbs to Charlia Saddle. From the saddle head almost due south to Cloudy Peak (Class 2, ice axe useful) then 100 meters east from Cloudy to the base of Zee Spire.

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