Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
mrice1225

[TR] Mt Shuksan - Fisher Chimneys 08/09/2020

Recommended Posts

Trip: Mt Shuksan - Fisher Chimneys

Trip Date: 08/09/2020

Trip Report:

On Sunday my friend and I attempted a car to car climb of the Fisher Chimneys, so here's a quick conditions update. The road was gated at the Chain Lakes trail head, about 0.35 miles before the Lake Ann trail head, although I believe they are clearing it today so parking at Lake Ann should be open soon. This was my second time attempting the route - the first time all sorts of shit went wrong (rain, forgetting stuff in tents) and we bailed. This time the weather looked perfect and we were feeling good.

We left the car at around 2am, which may have been too early. We were tired and moving slow - more "sleep" might have been beneficial. The chimneys are completely snow free, although there is some snow at the entrances to the chimneys which currently poses no problem, although it could get weird as it melts out more. Route finding in the chimneys is pretty straightforward - if you don't see an obvious trail or mostly moss free rock, you're probably off route. 

In the start of the chimneys:

IMG_20200809_055715.thumb.jpg.c7f93a9d78afd2800c39b898280ef21b.jpg

Winnie's Slide is still mostly covered in snow. There are two small ice patches on the left hand side, and a perfect staircase on the right hand side. Gaining the upper curtis is also still mostly snow, but is melting out quick and could become icy soon. The upper curtis itself has a few crevasses starting to open up, but we were able to easily step over them. Hell's highway had a nice boot pack going up as well. 

On the upper curtis:

IMG_20200809_131856.thumb.jpg.f3a76249ae4e515daa74b45abfcbebd7.jpg

It was around noon, everything was going great, and we were halfway up the SE rib on the summit block when my partner got sick and started puking. We made the call to bail since we still had a long day ahead of us. Conveniently there is a rap station halfway up the SE rib which puts you back at the base of the summit pyramid. On the rappel I dislodged a rock, which launched straight at a party below me. I yelled rock and it ended up hitting some guy and giving him a bloody nose. I apologized and we began our descent. 

The rappel station above Winnie's Slide looks impossible to get to right now due to the moat, but down climbing is no problem. There are also plenty of rappel stations in the chimneys if you're not comfortable down climbing. The slog back to the car was pretty miserable, and we finally got back at 8:30pm. 

Gear Notes:
Glacier gear, small rack for the SE rib, second tool unnecessary for Winnie's slide

Approach Notes:
Might be moat problems soon to get into the chimneys

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bummer on the failed summit. So close. Why was your buddy sick? Sounds like the universe is fighting you hard on this peak. Keep trying and be more careful on the descent. 👃 🤕 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, mountainsloth said:

Bummer on the failed summit. So close. Why was your buddy sick? Sounds like the universe is fighting you hard on this peak. Keep trying and be more careful on the descent. 👃 🤕 

Thanks for the encouragement, yeah it was close, he says he thinks it was a mix of dehydration (not peeing all day) and exertion. Will probably try it again, since the climb itself is so much fun over such varied terrain. The summit pyramid has a ton of really loose rock, but yes I should have been more careful knowing there was a party below. Luckily it wasn't too bad. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/13/2020 at 3:41 PM, mrice1225 said:

Thanks for the encouragement, yeah it was close, he says he thinks it was a mix of dehydration (not peeing all day) and exertion. Will probably try it again, since the climb itself is so much fun over such varied terrain. The summit pyramid has a ton of really loose rock, but yes I should have been more careful knowing there was a party below. Luckily it wasn't too bad. 

Every mountain trip is a learning experience. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thanks for the beta! With your trip report (and reading over ALL of the older ones on CC) I was able to climb it confidently solo on Friday 8/14/20. Winnies slide almost shut me down. The ice halfway up gave me serious pause.   Bad runout into rocks. I had perfect conditions but easily see how one can epic on several of the sections. Crevasses, falls, bad weather (wind/white out on the sulphide summit plateau) and I sure as hell wouldn’t want to try to descend  down the Chimneys in the dark or in rain. It would be easy to loose the trail over the talus patches on the way back to Lake Ann from the base of the Chimneys at night as well. Full value strenuous day.

Knowing about the glacial run off at the upper Curtis was great for hydration. There were snowmelt drips even on the summit pyramid, which is a lot bigger/longer than I thought. 

Glad I took steel crampons (Grivel G12s) on my Scarpa Rebel carbons instead of aluminum crampons. Camp Corsa axe did the job but two Quarks would have been more secure on Winnies and Hell’s highway. If I had had a rope I might have rapped it.  The boot track from previous parties made navigation a no brainer and relieved a lot of stress (thank you!) ,  but the track had faded when I descended in the afternoon. Wands or GPS breadcrumbs would be useful if it’s misty/low viz. Crevasses were visible and bridges were solid, but I would have turned back immediately if I felt sketched about the solidity of the lips/bridges. Also, the moats by the rocks can be treacherous. 

I had been wanting to do this route for 30+ years. Definitely a satisfying mountaineering goal! Beckey described it as torturous. I’d call it extreme walking. Classic! 

Edited by bargainhunter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apparently very extreme walking if you thought it merited a pair of ice tools and would have make rappels if you had a rope. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, bargainhunter said:

Thanks for the beta! With your trip report (and reading over ALL of the older ones on CC) I was able to climb it confidently solo on Friday 8/14/20. Winnies slide almost shut me down. The ice halfway up gave me serious pause.   Bad runout into rocks. I had perfect conditions but easily see how one can epic on several of the sections. Crevasses, falls, bad weather (wind/white out on the sulphide summit plateau) and I sure as hell wouldn’t want to try to descend  down the Chimneys in the dark or in rain. It would be easy to loose the trail over the talus patches on the way back to Lake Ann from the base of the Chimneys at night as well. Full value strenuous day.

Knowing about the glacial run off at the upper Curtis was great for hydration. There were snowmelt drips even on the summit pyramid, which is a lot bigger/longer that I thought. 

Glad I took steel crampons (Grivel G12s) on my Scarpa Rebel carbons instead of aluminum crampons. Camp Corsa axe did the job but two Quarks would have been more secure on Winnies and Hell’s highway. If I had had a rope I might have rapped it.  The boot track from previous parties made navigation a no brainer and relieved a lot of stress (thank you!) ,  but the track had faded when I descended in the afternoon. Wands or GPS breadcrumbs would be useful if it’s misty/low viz. Crevasses were visible and bridges were solid, but I would have turned back immediately if I felt sketched about the solidity of the lips/bridges. Also, the moats by the rocks can be treacherous. 

I had been wanting to do this route for 30+ years. Definitely a satisfying mountaineering goal! Beckey described it as torturous. I’d call it extreme walking. Classic! 

Glad you were able to get it done! Definitely extreme walking. I agree with the sentiment about the quarks, I used a sum'tec and quark to ascend winnies slide since it was very icy in the morning. A single tool would have been fine but I brought two in case the slide was pure ice like it was last year around this time, so might as well use them!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×