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[TR] Chair Peak - NE Buttress 02/21/2020

Ian Lauder

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Trip: Chair Peak - NE Buttress

Trip Date: 02/21/2020

Trip Report:


Fun winter climb of Chair Peak after a long spell of being weathered out and bad avi conditions.  Had a good Thursday window.  Looks like we were the first ones there in some time.  No tracks or signs of any travel from the normal ski touring tracks in the basin below the base of the climb.  So it was a slow slog up deep snow to the ridge right side of the base of the climb.

So the GoPro decided to snap a timelapse of stills on Pitch 1, but it still kind of works for the video. Wasn't my intention originally.




Got a 5:20am start at the trailhead, were roped up and climbing by 8:30am.


With the deep snow the gulley pitch was covered in snow but we could see a path to the first belay tree. Leading up got steeper than it looked from below, was able to get in a good nut before traversing over towards the gully.   Was having to excavate a path across the slope as it was too loose to kick steps, had to dig out a full body path. 


During that uncovered a bit of rock right above the more exposed drop before the gully.  Dug down till I hit the rock and was trying to put in a nut that was pretty marginal, then tried to put in a piton but didn't have the right size.  Lastly figured I could slot in a horizontal picket against the rock and that's when I uncovered the buried webbing slings.   Clipped into those and continued excavating a path over and up to the gully.



Once there had some good sticks and got in a screw that felt okay.  And it was an easy up to the belay tree with one more screw in along the way.   The 2nd team behind me tried to put in a picket that just levered out and got a cam in the rocks.



From the tree belay Pitch 2 was a long slow slog through snow up to waist deep.  The normal end of pitch 2 at the rock with the slings was buried so my partner ran out the full 70m rope and went to the top of the ridge and put in a horizontal picket anchor.  

From there for Pitch 3 I traversed high along the wall and found a nice rusty piton halfway.   The ice on the step was kind of rotten so only put in a couple marginal screws and continued up but stopped short of running out the 70m rope and stopped at 60m.  Put in a horizontal deadman picket for the anchor.


Stopping short worked out as the 2nd team had a 60m rope and was able to get to the picket anchor and use it as we took off.

Pitch 4 was then just a straight up kicking a boot path in nice firm snow to the top.


There was enough snow up top we just went straight up the face to the summit and then downclimbed that part.  From there we went down to the stand of trees but the rappel anchor was buried and couldn't find which tree it was on so we added a new one.   Another party who followed up after us pitched in the rap ring.

This is the 2nd year in a row we got a rope stuck rapping this way though.  The ropes run over a small notch in the rocks.  Easy to get unstuck though.  There was enough soft snow that first rappel could be downclimbed probably.

The 2nd rap station with the 3 piton anchor was well above the snow and we dropped down over the small cornice and finished off with a short face in downclimb after that.

It was about a 13hr day car to car with 2 teams of 2. 


Gear Notes:
3 pickets, 4 screws, 2 nuts, took a couple cams/light set of nuts didn't use them. Mostly placed horizontal picket anchors.

Approach Notes:
2+hrs to base, highway to Snow Lake, breaking trail from the basin to the base in deep snow. Using snowshoes.


Edited by Ian Lauder
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