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Chair Peak - NE Buttress


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I was on the NE Buttress of Chair this weekend linking up patches of vertical ice and frozen Heather clumps. The N. Face IS NOT in... mostly bare rock.

We had do some 5th class just to get up to the notch on above the "thumb tack" basin. There was one other party that turned around after witnessing us use gear on the approach smile.gif

The climbing was spectacular... very exposed but also run out. A real classic mixed climb. With the conditions we found and the variations that we did I would give it Grade III AI 3 5.6 (Left car at 8:30, climbing at 11:00 AM summit at 4:00 PM back at car at 7:00 PM)

Not super sustained.. you had no hands rests after 15 feet of climbing or so... the gear was sparce though. The only gear we used was a #1 & .5 camalot, a #6 nut and 4 kbs (some tied off). Oh, and slings for the occasional krumholtz.

Climb the rightward slanting gully (5th class) to some blue slings. From there head right and up onto the ridge proper. From there head towards a Yellow sling a full rope up and right. From there look for a cool band of water ice cascading over some technical terrain... this is the AI3 section for about 30+ feet... there are some trees atop this cliff. from the trees angle right along the ridge using trees for anchors... this is class 3/4 ground (50 - 60 degree snow with good anchors) You should end up in a notch after 300-400 feet. The summit is another rope length along the ridge to your right. The descent is straight ahead. Head down the gully by down climbing. You will end up at a col above the exit gully. You should see some anchors (yellow and blue super tape). Use these to rap into the gully (recommend 2 60 m ropes... can be made with 5 single rope raps... some of the anchors look dubious).



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  • 4 weeks later...
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Looked like today there was a continous snow ribbon than traveled all the way down to the top of the "gully" pitch. Probably 2 feet of loose unconsolidated powder though!

Still isn't much snow on the E face and I bet the N face isn't in due to the lack of melt freeze. Though anyone know the condition of the standard gully route now?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yea I was up on the So. Face of the Tooth on 12/26. Snow was wet and heavy in the basin but dryer near Source Lake. (inversion)Looked sketchy and thin on the NE slab route on the Tooth, the temp. was a balmy 43 degrees. By the way how do you access the slab? Is it via the right side (looks like a steep blank section of 15-20 ft. of wet rock) or do you angle over from the left (linking snow and rock sections)


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Not sure. I've never been on that route. I thought when I got there I'd just go whatever way looked like I wouldn't fall off and went upwards.

I have the "If something gets in my way-turn towards the easy section" kind of approach to climbing.

Jim Nelson's recent guide might be able to give clearer beta. I just don't think that conditions are shaping up for much of anything right now except climbing rock and steep slushy snow.


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I was up on the South face of the Tooth yesterday. We worked a nice path up to the climb and it took 2 hours. Anyone going now could do it a bit faster. The rock was warm and mostly melted off, with snow on the ledges and some holds. The NE slab looked horrific and something I don't think most people would deem fun under these conditions (mostly wet rock and thin, thin, ice and snow). The avi danger was almost nonexistant and felt very safe with all the freezing rain they've recieved in the last few days. As far as condtions on Chair go, I'd imagine very thin. In the gullies below the Tooth the snow was thin and unconsolidated without any ice. I'd imagine Chair wouldn't be too fun right now. But, then again, I am not an uber climber. For some it might be fun . . .

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  • 1 month later...

I climbed the descent gully on Chair yesterday (As everyone has said, neither the N. or E. faces have any ice, or even snow for that matter), and yes, in the basin that contains the footstool, and also below the N.face, there are very large (3 ft?) fracture lines. There must've been some big slides.

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I keep hearing mixed reports on N.E. Slab of the Tooth, and especially Chair N. Face. I hear from reliable sources that the N. Face has been climbed this year. Anyone out there done it, or know who has? It would be nice to have some idea before using a valuable "hall pass" to go up there.


John Sharp

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