The Southwest Rib of South Early Winter Spire (SEWS) at Washington Pass is an excellent route for budding alpinists and mountaineers looking to break into alpine rock. It features a fairly straightforward and easy approach, quality climbing on solid rock, amazing views from a breathtaking summit, and a wildly exposed and memorable descent.
The six pitches of this route are varied, and all are enjoyable. The views are great from the very start, and they just get better the higher you get on the formation. The approach is fairly moderate and straightforward. Simply follow the Blue Lake Trail for approximately 45 minutes until you break out of the trees into an open meadow. From here, look for the wall up and to the right (west). Follow climbing trails up to the base of the southwest rib.
Below is a brief description of the pitch layout.
The descent is somewhat complicated and difficult to describe in detail. You basically follow the south arete route, with a good bit of Class III and IV down-climbing. Most parties will want to rope up for the fin that is shown in the last image. Once you are back to terra firma, it is easy to scramble back to the base of the route to get packs or other gear you stashed there. Retrace your footsteps back to the car.