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Trip Report

Spire Peak — Saturday, Sep. 22, 2001

Spire Peak is the highest point (6,213') of Spire Mountain. This large mountain lies north of Gunn Peak and Baring and separates the drainages of Howard Creek from Bear Creek. Drive US2 and turn left at the town of Index. Travel 6 miles up this road until 300 feet past Trout Creek where you will then go right onto a logging road. Drive only two hundred feet on this road and then park the at a parking area on the left. The road which you then hike to 4,200' is the one which angles uphill on the left. At 4,200' the logging road ends and you will then go straight uphill to gain the ridge at 4,600'. There is a faint trail which can be followed all the way to the top of Conglomerate Peak. The trail then continues along the ridge overlooking Howard Lake until you must leave the ridge at 5,600' to traverse the eastern slopes of Spire. I traversed downward to 5,200' and stayed at that altitude until rounding a rocky shoulder which angles to the NE from Spire. There are a couple of gullies along the way which can be negotiated. Once rounding the rocky shoulder I then angled up toward the NW Ridge which was my route to the summit. This ridge is described by Beckey as Class 3. He is wrong. It has serious exposure and if I hadn't put webbing into my pack for a key ten foot step section I wouldn't have been able to summit. Fred B.(not Beckey) climbed this mountain in July, 2001. He has also climbed Everest. He wrote next to his name ""NW Ridge, scarey"". I left the sling on a rock horn near the most difficult section for the next person who might happen by. The rock horn is eight feet to the right of my ascent route for which I used the sling as a foothold. There is thankfully plenty of water from snowmelt along the way, even with this year having record low snowfall. I spooked a bear from 100 feet away and he rambled on. It was fitting for across the valley is Bear Mountain which will be another goal for next year. From car to car is a full twelve hour hike.

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