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Showing most liked content on 01/20/21 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    Trip: Chair Peak West Face - [FA] The Upper West Side (WI4+ M4) Trip Date: 01/18/2021 Trip Report: Yesterday @Doug_Hutchinson and I skied out to the west face of Chair with low expectations and too much weight on our backs. As far as I can tell, this face has seen little to no winter climbing activity and was completely off my radar until @Kyle M showed me some photos. Our route started by slogging up ~700ft of steep firm snow with a couple easy ice chokes along the way. Nothing worth roping up for. The sun starts hitting the lower snow slopes around 10am, so I would recommend timing things so you start climbing no later than 10:30. After the slog we arrived at the head of a small alcove where we kicked out a platform and roped up. Gear for a belay is hard to come by, take what you can get. I took the first pitch which ended up being a tricky 20m M4 left facing corner system. Nothing was ever really that hard, but protection was difficult, and the rock quality left something to be desired. A really cool looking super direct mixed pitch can be found just to the right and would probably go at M7. Doug then took the lead on the money pitch. While only about WI4+, this pitch proved to be a pretty serious lead. The crux required climbing into an alcove behind a detached curtain, grabbing a rock hold with your right hand and swinging over a bulge above your head. Not your usual WI4. This pitch took good 10 and 13cm screws, but not always where you want them. One could probably bail back to the snow from here with 2 ropes. Moving forward we climbed a full 65 meters of scrambly snow/rock/ice up to a scottish looking headwall, and up a ramp to the left. Belay off a small tree that may be buried in different conditions. I have a hunch you can go either right or left, not sure which is easier. A short sketchy mixed pitch took us up to the false summit. Not hard, just tenuous and poor pro. ^Placing the only piece on the pitch ^The piece The route finished with a classic Au Cheval alpine ridge traverse with snow and ice on the north side, and warm dry rock on the south. This traverse is VERY poorly protected, and definitely not straight forward. Descent: There are two good options for the descent. The best option by far, is to do this route as a carryover, foregoing the skis and descending the normal route to the east. This requires very firm conditions, but would be much shorter. Since we left our skis in the Melakwa valley, we were forced to descend that direction via a long snow gulley opposite of the standard rappel anchor. The first rappel shares the piton anchor with the standard descent, just in the opposite direction. We left a piton and nut anchor 60M down to the left for future parties. This rappel only got us half way to the next worthy tree, luckily the snow was good for down climbing, but we were well aware of the exposed cliffs below. Two more raps off trees took us to the schrund. Ski back over Bryant col, or for bonus points, continue out via the second half of the Chair peak circumnav in the dark. Link to my Strava track can be found HERE for approach and descent help. Get on this climb! We thought it was pretty classic, and likely not in good condition very frequently. Reach out to me with any beta needs! Thanks to Kyle M for this photo! Green is the route, Red is the descent, and the Yellow dots are rap anchors. The last rap is in a bushy tunnel that may be difficult to find for future parties. Gear Notes: Single rack .2-2, stoppers, KB's and Bugaboos. 6-10 Screws 10-16cm most useful. 2 Pickets brought but never used (per usual). 60m twin ropes. Approach Notes: Ski or boot up and over Bryant/Chair col via pineapple basin. Descend over to Melakwa lake, and up to the base of the wall.
  2. 2 points
    Trip: Chair Peak - NE Buttress Trip Date: 01/17/2021 Trip Report: Climbed NE Buttress of Chair Peak on Sunday 01/17/21. Snowshoe approach with headlamps was warm and wet, with a persistent drizzle. This led to the avalanche slopes along the Snow Lake approach shedding copious roller balls. Despite this, the slopes showed no sign of worrying instability in an impromptu pit test. Roller ball trails clearly visible The snow was well consolidated and rather deep from the recent storm cycle and freezes, so we were optimistic about route conditions. This held true, but the weather wasn't as good. Chair basin itself was in near whiteout conditions with relatively strong winds when we stashed our snowshoes at Thumbtack rock, but with an 11am storm break in the forecast we hoped the flurries would be gone for the higher pitches. The approach ridge to the climb itself was okay snow with some cornicing on the north side. Base of NE Buttress route from ridge The first pitch was fat with both ice and snow, but the ice was weak in many places and would not always take a screw reliably. The tree anchors for the p2 ridge and p3 belay were almost entirely buried, but the snow was solid enough 2 or 3 pieces of pro a pitch felt adequate. The p4 ice step was in and seemed to be in good condition both for climbing and placing screws. P1 ice conditions P4 Ice conditions P5 went easy, and we decided to forgo the summit scramble in favor of making our way down early, not wanting to get benighted on such a low vis day. Needless to say, the 11am storm break predicted never came. We made our way to the correct rap gulley with the help of DPS' beta, using a double rope rappel to get quickly to the mouth where the snow slope begins. This was a good call, the anchor cornice was rather large and using a single rope would have left us exposed to it in the gulley while pulling the rope. Either there were no anchors from that point, or they were buried. We drove a questionable piton underneath a rock overhang skiers left of the gulley mouth for a second rap to avoid some of the steep snow downclimbing at that point. Partial view of descent gulley with cornice in foreground Descent went as planned. Summary: As of 01/17/21, the route is in good condition, with high snow levels and decent ice higher up on the mountain. Rock gear was used for reliable belays, while many usual rock protection spots were somewhat buried along pitches so ice screws were placed often, even if questionable ice quality was encountered. Gear Notes: Cams .3 to 1 taken, only .4 used. Small and medium nuts used. Ice screws of various lengths used. One snow picket placed, but snow conditions made for bomber pickets if one took the time. Double 60ms for the rappel. Approach Notes: Approach on snowshoes unpleasant due to extensive avalanche debris fields at the time.
  3. 2 points
    Perhaps the first ever double Chair climb/ski orbit in a day! Like Michael said, the best way to do it would be sans skis as a carryover but then you would miss thousands of feet of skiing icy avy debris in the dark, where's the fun in that?
  4. 1 point
    Wow, the ice conditions have been great lately...in Wyoming. In WA, conditions are taking the slow-is-smooth approach, it has just been a little too warm for too long. There is some ice out there if you are willing go hunting. Yesterday @Michael Telstadclimbed a new route on Chair Peak. The Upper West Side There is a lot of anticipation building for an upcoming cold snap to happen this weekend and beyond before the snow machine turns back on, so start sharpening yer tools...
  5. 1 point
    I remember in January 2019 when Jacob and I reached the top of the Melakwa Flows and turned around and laid eyes on the beauty. We remarked how it could be "the Winter Dance of Snoqualminix!". But it was far above our pay grade at the time. So psyched someone could finally go send it. Some more enticing photos of it, from a scouting trip around Christmas 2020. Top of the flow is visible in the bottom right. Visible once again upper left of the image.
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