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[TR] Chair Peak - NE Buttress 01/27/2019

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Trip: Chair Peak - NE Buttress

Trip Date: 01/27/2019

Trip Report:

After four failed attempts I finally managed to climb the NE Buttress of Chair Peak with @JonParker.

Jon posted in the climbing partners forum looking for someone to do Chair Peak with on Sunday January 27th. I have been trying (and failing) to climb this mountain since I moved to Seattle 3.5 years ago so I messaged him immediate.

With the low-moderate avy forecast and good weather predicted we left Seattle fairly early in the hopes of being the first group at the trailhead. Our plan worked and after about 2.5 hours of snowshoeing we made it to the base of Chair Peak.IMG_20190127_073543.thumb.jpg.0d7b95b2df1cfce50afeddf46220e35b.jpg


We noticed what looked like some wind loaded snow on the left above the ice pitch, but we reasoned that it would be avoidable as long as we stayed climbers right.

We partially geared up and Jon suggested that we solo up the start of the S-couloir to this anchor maybe about a 1/3 of the way up. It looked like a decent spot to start the route so I agreed and headed up. The climbing up to it was easy snow - except for the very last move which was a fairly airy step on unconsolidated snow and made getting to the anchor a bit thought-provoking.

Of course that nice flat looking spot with the anchor was anything but flat, so we faffed about with tangled ropes as Jon got ready to lead the first pitch. The rest of the S-couloir was a mix of snow and ice, with one or two mixed moves. Jon managed to get in a nut and two screws (one of which I pulled straight out, the other one felt more solid however).

I took the next pitch which was pure snow climbing. I headed up to a group of trees and slung two of them for pro and then continued up to a fixed anchor on rock and belayed Jon up.


We still had about 60 meters before the ice pitch so Jon again took the lead, placing a couple of nuts and belaying me off a picket just below the ice pitch. I headed up the ice which was very soft and sun baked. It made for really easy sticks but I had to dig 6-8 inches to get to ice solid enough to hold a screw. Above the ice it was just a straight-forward wallow up moderately steep snow until I ran out of rope and built an anchor out of a picket and my ice ax.

At this point the party that started after us caught up and I got to chat with Scott while belaying Jon up.


Jon led up the final stretch of snow until he got to a nice flat spot to belay from.


We unroped here and soloed up to the true summit.


Gear Notes:
Pickets, ice screws, nuts

Approach Notes:
Source lake winter trail, floatation recommended.

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Way to get it done - thanks for the cool TR. That one's been on my tick list for far longer, and will probably stay there for the next decade or so. In the meantime, TR's like yours help keep the embers glowing...

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I was out skiing that day, and saw the ants climbing up. Inspiring, and what great weather. You can see a small dot on the face in my cell phone photo below. 



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nice job, its a nice route with good weather, I like it a lot more than the N Face

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There’s also a fun spicier start just around to the right of the buttress toe.  A bit Scottishy and turfy.

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