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[TR] Chair Peak - North Face 12/16/2017

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Trip: Chair Peak - North Face

Trip Date: 12/16/2017

Trip Report:

Priti and I climbed the North Face of Chair Peak on Saturday 12/16.  Thanks, John Douglass for the pictures!  Approach snow was deep.  Recommend skis/snowshoes, but kick-stepping wasn't so bad.  The first pitch had nice, consistent, solid, THIN ICE for 60m, maybe WI3.  It was so stinking fun if you like thin, unprotectable ice.  I got one good stubby in over the whole 60m pitch.  We had rock pro and pitons but didn't find them helpful.  Pitches 2-4 (to summit) were snow over rock with occasional thin ice for protection.  Snow is too shallow and loose for pickets.  Only used trees and stubby's for pro. Existing anchors every 60m.  Red link cam backed up the anchor on pitch 1.


NE Buttress of Chair Peak.  Only one party of 2 attempted it and bailed due to loose snow.  


Pitch 1 on the North Face - 60m thin ice, some thicker ice near the top of the pitch.


Upper pitches of North Face of Chair Peak.  Snow over rock with thin ice.  Deep snow to the False Summit and more snow-over-rock to the summit.

IMG_7798 copy.jpg



Summit selfie




East Face of Chair Peak.  There is avy debris in this bowl now.  When we rappelled onto the slope from the standard descent, we triggered a slab avalanche which went 500 feet down, crown was .5-2ft deep and 15m wide.  Be careful of avy danger here as always!  I would wear beacon/shovel probe to the base of the climb, and also for the descent from the summit.

Lots of rain in the Pass on Sunday, so no promises.


Gear Notes:
Brought: 10 screws all sizes, 1 picket, 1 red link cam, pitons, nuts. Used: 3 stubbies, runners to girth hitch trees.

Approach Notes:
Snowshoes/Skis recommended
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I'm a little perplexed by the slab you triggered.  How far from the crown to the stauchwall?  what was the bed surface?  did you evaluate the descent and snowfield before committing to the climb?  did you look at the details for the snow after you triggered the slide?  


I don't remember reading anything on NWAC about skier or climber triggered, only control triggered slides.  I have not been out into that terrain yet this season, and am thus very interested in anything you might have seen.  


Two reports of climbers not mixing well with fresh snow while descending from Chair ... maybe not the best place to go in those conditions.  You got pretty lucky.  




EDIT:  I just re-read the 16 Dec Snoqualmie Pass TR on TAY and they had a 15cm deep 18m wide wind slab propagate and release - smaller than yours, and not as unusual to trigger while skiing.  Your report makes it sound like the snow was very touchy ...




Edited by dave schultz
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The area was around the red line area in the first link you sent. We were definitely very nervous crossing the blue line area to reach our own cache.

It was the soft new snow that slid off a harder icy layer.

Here's some photos of the crown of the slide.



Edited by Priti

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