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jakedouglas

[TR] Chair Peak - North Face 1/1/2014

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Trip: Chair Peak - North Face

 

Date: 1/1/2014

 

Trip Report:

Climbed the North Face of Chair on New Years Day with DPS and GerritD. DPS has climbed it many times (17th successful summit?) and proclaimed it to be in great condition. We climbed 4 full 60 meter pitches.

 

  • P1: great ice for the first two thirds perhaps, tapering off to firm snow. 2 decent screws and a good pin. Ended with a belay at a large wall of solid ice that took the 22cm all the way.
  • P2: great ice again at the beginning, tapering off to snow. Ended with a tree belay.
  • P3: started out with a line between ice bulges that took great screws. Conditions fell apart towards the top with steep climbing on breakable crust with unconsolidated snow underneath. Glad I wasn't the leader. Really stretched the ropes to belay from an even bigger tree.
  • P4: hard to leave the belay because the stance was disintegrating underneath us, but after that it was easy climbing on 45 degree snow for half a rope length to the ridge. Then traversing under the summit block and up the side to the top.

We weren't comfortable downclimbing the initial descent gully, so DPS gave us a belay from the summit to a stand of small trees on the rib separating the two southern gullies where we found some tat. From there we rapped exactly 60m to the start of the "normal" raps at the col and did 2 more to very easy terrain. The last one was probably not necessary, even for us. Shared the ropes with another pleasant party on the way down.

 

Thanks to DPS for leading the whole thing and taking us on our first real winter alpine climb.

 

Didn't take out the camera much, but here are a few pics:

 

p114.jpg

Looking up at great ice on P1.

 

IMG_05813.jpg

Great views all day.

 

IMG_05801.jpg

Looking down P1. The best ice on this pitch is just out of sight below the dropoff. It was probably the steepest part of the climb.

 

IMG_05782.jpg

Looking up at P2.

 

IMG_05852.jpg

Hanging out at the 3 piton anchor on the way down, waiting for the other party to pass us.

 

IMG_0588.jpg

Looking down the last rappel.

 

Gear Notes:

2x60m ropes. 1x22cm 3x16cm screws. A few placements bottomed out, so a couple shorter ones would be nice. Only rock protection used were 2 small cams and a pin for a belay at the base of the route and 1 good pin on P1. Double slings for trees.

 

Approach Notes:

If you're a scared noob, rope up before traversing under the North Face to the base of the route and throw in a few pickets on the way. It gets fairly steep.

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This was my first time climbing real ice instead of consolidated snow but I have been doing a bit of dry tooling. I brought my mono point crampons along and they did shear a bit in the completely vertical ice if I didn't kick them in enough. Even without shearing I was pretty much scared out of my mind.

 

DPS had some pretty massively run out leads where the snow was occasionally loose. As a beginning climber I am struggling to imagine myself ever remaining calm in such a situation.

 

Thanks to DPS for the sweet lead and thanks to north facing aspects for being so full of fat ice.

Edited by GerritD

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It was a pleasure gentlemen. I'm pleased you got photos of the icy conditions, it is not often you get to sink 22cm screws into solid ice on Chair Peak!

Edited by DPS

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I'm betting with the good weather, NF Chair Peak is gonna be a mad house this weekend.

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I'm betting with the good weather, NF Chair Peak is gonna be a mad house this weekend.

 

Sunday wasn't too crazy. We started off from the parking lot at 730ish on skis, passed pretty quickly by some snow shoers. Skiing was certainly slower until at least Source Lake... By the time we popped up on the ridge we had opted to enjoy a mellow day, ski the good snow we passed by and forgo the climb. There was certainly one party of two on the route, with perhaps a second one bailing at the top of the ice (?) not too crowded!

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Yeah, only two parties on the route Sunday. Met two parties heading down as we approached, concerned about avy conditions in the basin under the E face. Gotta say things felt pretty locked down, but there was evidence of wind loading on that aspect. Route is in cruiser cond.

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FWIW this is a shot of the basin and slide area on Sunday. Two parties of two near the notch, and two starting down below. Suspiciously human sized tree in between.

 

When I topped out into the basin I skinned up and over a low angle super stiff windslab (loaded up from a northerly winds). Couldn't even get my ski edge into the thing... would have thought it was just scoured to old crust if it weren't for the deep hollow sound. Glad it was on like 10 degree slope...

 

[img:left]https://scontent-a-sea.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/1502522_10105793667430914_815138452_n.jpg[/img]

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As of 1/19, the route continues to be in about the shape Jake and others describe. Great sticks down low, and a breakable crust with sugar underneath it for the last 60 meters or so.

 

The skiing (and skinning) above Source Lake is just plain nasty, and had us wishing we had just worn climbing boots from the car.

 

Didn't see any snow movement. The NE Butt looked good too!

Edited by Raoul Duke

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I will attest to the lousy skinning/skiing conditions.

Edited by DPS

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I will attest to the lousy skinning/skiing conditions.

 

Come on - it wasn't that bad! I saw you grinning about it!

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I will attest to the lousy skinning/skiing conditions.

 

Come on - it wasn't that bad! I saw you grinning about it!

 

I guess I have to say it was the best skiing day I've had in four years.

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