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First ascent on Little Big Chief Mountain


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On 8/28 UIAGM guide Martin Volken (Pro Guiding Service) and Jeff Hansell completed a first ascent in a very lonely part of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness The route goes up the 1800 foot North West Face of Little Summit Chief Mountain (7225 feet).

You start climbing at 5400 feet. Up to 6100 feet you will encounter the classic "easy - dangerous" terrain of 4th and low fifth class. There are a few steps of 5.6 to 5.8 in there. At 6100 feet the wall steepens substantially and the next 8 to 9 pitches follow a very classic line up the middle of the face.

pitch 1: 5.8 plus; Pitch 2: 5.7; pitch 3: 5.6; pitch 4: 5.9; pitch 5: 5.7; pitch 6: 5.8; pitch 7: 5.6; pitch 8: 5.7

Now you gain the summit ridge a short distance from the summit. One can folow under the ridge on easy terrain and then climb the last 50 feet to the summit or enjoy awesome exposure right on the crest and follow this to the summit.

Rock quality is good to very good (vertically striated gneiss), protection is very good (cracks), ambience is excellent, and general commitmentlevel can be compared to the Back Bone Ridge on Dragontail. The descent is harder than on Dragontail some rapelling, not as obvious routefinding.


Route rating: Grade 3 plus to 4; 5.8 plus to 5.9 .

Route time from camp in the Summit Chief valley. 6 to 10 hours to the summit and 3 to 5 back to camp.

The overall experience of climbing in the area is outstanding and the thought of having the Middle Fork Road closed is very sadening. If you are opposed to the proposed closure of the road please contact the North Bend Ranger district and let them know. They are preparing an EI study and they need to hear from people who want to keep access to beautiful places open.


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  • 2 years later...
wayne1112 said:

Ok Martin You have had enough time to get those pics back . Too busy sending new routes to post?? We dont think climbing should get in the way of spraying here


You can go to his shop in NOrth Bend for a photo. He sent me a digital one last year and it is a plumb wall. Steeper looking than Dragontail...


Just call his shop. I know he used some pins etc and it was 5.9 but I lost the photo.


Room for more and good for 5.9 and above free climbers I would be for new routes still.



Edited by Cpt.Caveman
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