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catbirdseat

[TR] Chair Peak- Northeast Buttress 7/25/2004

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Climb: Chair Peak-Northeast Buttress

 

Date of Climb: 7/25/2004

 

Trip Report:

My partner and I car camped at the Alpental parking lot because we wanted an early start to beat the heat. After a couple of Mac and Jacks at the local Pancake House we turned in as soon as it got dark. It was wonderfully cool there and we both slept soundly.

 

We hit the trail at 6 am and took the Source Lake overlook to where it hit the talus, turned and went straight up and into a gully. The gully ended below some minor cliff bands. We found a third class way through slightly to the right that put us in the basin below the Thumb Tack. Mosquitoes were bad.

 

After scrambling some more rock to the notch in the ridge, we were at the base of the route by 8:20 and it was already pretty warm. There was a pleasant breeze coming from the North.

 

We roped up for the first two pitches up the rightward slanting gully, which we managed to do as one pitch on a 55 m rope with just a little bit of simulclimbing. I got in about three pieces of gear and clipped a couple of rap stations on the way up to a nice shady belay with a nice place to sit in some trees.

 

From the trees we scrambled fourth class in rock shoes, but should have put our boots back on as the rock is sharp. We slanted leftward below the place where the ice bulge forms in winter up easy, mostly solid rock with some heather. We made for a minor ridge feature that led to a tree with a rap sling. I gave my partner a little hip belay up this last steep section.

 

From the gnarled tree the scrambling is third class up two or three unroped pitches to a false summit, which is skirted to the right, after which you drop into a gully and ascend back up and to the right to the true summit, which we reached at 10:15. For some reason, I was ravenously hungry. PBJ never tasted so good.

 

Switched to boots for the descent. My partner elected to wear his rock shoes as this was his first climb in two years. He found it a bit challenging. After a rock missed my head by a foot or so, I had to lecture him about not kicking rocks off and he settled down and stopped doing it for the most part.

 

Downclimbed to gnarled tree, did a single rope rap from it and downclimbed some more to the group of trees. Encountered a party of three on their way up making the climb harder than it needed to be by going too far right.

 

Climbed down into the gully a short ways to a rap station on a tree. It was two single rope raps to the base of the climb. Hiking down the basin, we noticed two pairs of climbers on the East Face route. Could have helped noticing them, as they were yelling, excessively. This didn't instill a lot of confidence, especially when I hear one yell "Rock!" and heard a big one coming down.

 

Decided to try a different way back, so we traversed left past the Thumb Tack and pick up the abandoned trail which leads up the ridge and intersects the new Snow Lake trail at the saddle. Ran into a solo hiker who used to climb but lost his partner. I told him to check out CC.com and he said he might.

 

There must have been 200 people hiking that trail. They are doing work on it at present including dynamiting in places through August. Cold Tecates and a short nap awaited at the car.

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I came up to do the route about 11. The party of three was still working on the second pitch. I elected to check the base of the N Face for booty rather than risk eating rockfall. Found 1 screw, 1 ancient, soft iron piton, a sling, one full package of dental floss, an OR overmitt and liner, and several energy bar wrappers. Continued over to the N ridge. It looks interesting. What a day.

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Anyone ever climbed the East Face? I'm considering it, but if it is like the rest of the peak, there is little opportunity for protection.

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Anyone ever climbed the East Face? I'm considering it, but if it is like the rest of the peak, there is little opportunity for protection.

 

IMO the best rock on the mountain is on the East face. I led the whole route and I placed one nut. If you're cozy soloing 4th class, it's really a breeze.

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Soloed the NE Buttress Sunday, 18th, and saw no other parties on Chair by any route. Then again, I didn’t leave the Alpental parking lot until 12:30 PM. Ton of people (all tourists, except for descent where I saw a ranger and 1 Tooth party) on the Snow Lakes Trail. Chatted with the ranger with huge pack with tree ax attached who had been out for 1 night. For those interested, time was a bit under 4 hours, r/t.

 

I found the route most all class 4, more solid than I expected, with some loose stuff on the descent. Scrambled down 2nd of 2 (more E) gullies from just below summit. I carried a rope for raps, and used it twice on the SE gully descent, though that was optional. Saw one long extended bunch of slings at one point; that was funny. Sling down-climb! Last runner below about 10 girth hitched together was clearly labeled “Ian Mackay.” Hi Ian!

 

When I returned to my truck, I had a ticket for "Noncompliance" because the "year on Forest Pass could not be read". WTF!

 

Fund day.

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BUG, that was my dental floss...we wer "going light" and opted for the floss instead of a rope...but when we reached the base we decided it was uneccesary and pitched it in order to go flossless...thanks for cleaning up after us!

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heh, I was up there on sat. I was pretty amused by that chain of webbing as well. It was fun to swing around on it, jumpin from side to side. check my tr for a photo of it smile.gif

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BUG, that was my dental floss...we wer "going light" and opted for the floss instead of a rope...but when we reached the base we decided it was uneccesary and pitched it in order to go flossless...thanks for cleaning up after us!

No problem. I wove a bivy sack with it. Hope you are not allowing a dangerous plaque buildup. pitty.gif

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CBS----The East Face of Chair is actually a pretty decent little route, and with the exception of one pitch (pitch 2 or 3, I cant remember) is actually fairly solid. There are a couple of fun moves snaking through a gap in the overhang, and otherwise its a cruise. I really enjoyed it, and bootied a decent TCU someone had bailed on as well, for a bonus.

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Now I gotta go give it a try for sure. So what rack do you recommend? A small one? I would want to get gear in if there are places to put it, although I can run it out if less than 5.6.

Edited by catbirdseat

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CBS----The East Face of Chair is actually a pretty decent little route, and with the exception of one pitch (pitch 2 or 3, I cant remember) is actually fairly solid. There are a couple of fun moves snaking through a gap in the overhang, and otherwise its a cruise. I really enjoyed it, and bootied a decent TCU someone had bailed on as well, for a bonus.

A guy was soloing the East Face back in Sept 2001, and fell and was killed. As I recall, he was climbing with someone else (his uncle, maybe?) and the uncle got sketched, so the guy unroped at the loose spot and continued solo.

Just be aware.

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