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nolanr

Governor's Ridge/Cowlitz Chimneys

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Anybody played around in that area? I'm thinking way ahead for next spring or summer. I've done several of the summits in the Tatoosh and really enjoy that area but thought I might try something different.

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Yeah, last summer I lived at Sunrise, so I looked at those peaks everyday. To do the chimneys you can either go to Summerland or go to Owyhigh Lakes. Summerland approach is best for the middle and south chimney. Owyhigh lakes is better for the north chimney. North chim. has fifth class routes, the south chimney is class 2 and the middle is class 3+. It is a bit of a hike to get there from summerland. Sadly I never climbed the chimneys because i had too many other outdoor activities going on. I did do Barrier Peak by governerors ridge. To do governors peak, you can either approach from an obvious gully from Owyhigh lakes or go behind barrier peak and traverse around. In early season, with lots of snow, the gully is the better bet, but once the snow melts, the route to the saddle is basically really, really steep talus and scree, very loose. governors is like class 3. fruit.gifbigdrink.gif

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I got this description for Cowlitz Chimneys from somebody. But I can't remember who.

 

"The original Beckey's guide description (which we relied on) was pretty vague; the second edition description (which I just read) I find kind of incomprehensible. My own recollection is that when you get to the base of the chimneys (after heading east 1.5 or so miles from Panhandle Gap), there are two possible gullies. The one on the right seems more obvious but goes nowhere. The one farther left, which at first looks pretty nondescript, is the one you want. You have to climb up around a large chockstone and perhaps a couple trees, and at that point I remember it as a relatively easy scramble to the top. Coming back down over the chockstone is most easily accomplished by a short rappel."

Edited by Stefan

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Here is what somebody wrote to me about Governor's Ridge (the highest gendarme)

 

"The route is cross country from Owyhigh Lakes to the notch north of Barrier Peak. Lose elevation on the other side of the notch, then traverse a bit rounding around the first few gendarmes to a fun steep section that leads straight up to the summit."

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Thanks everybody. I think I might go up via Owyhigh Lake, spend a night there and try some stuff on Governors Ridge one day, the Chimneys the other day. I know they don't open the road up to Sunrise until fairly late, you can drive in partway earlier in the season though, right?

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A few years ago I scrambled up the Middle Chimney. I followed Beckey's guide, and I too admit that I was unable to follow his route description. For instance, I never saw the cave that Beckey describes. It's not too difficult to pick out a route, though, esp from the south-southwest. I passed a few different sets of slings. I accessed from Panhandle Gap, which is an absolutely beautiful area, and I passed within 30' of a herd of mountain goats. From talking to others that have played in the Chimneys, I hear that it is pretty moderate to access via the snow chutes on the east face, if done when there's still snow! If I am correct, White River road usually is open by the end of May. G'luck; worthy goal! smile.gif

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If you've got the time,try access via Cayuse Pass. Park in the wide spot just south of the pass and ascend obvious gulley to the notch. Contour through Sheepskull Gap and head for any part of the ridge which makes a long day to traverse from the north to Barrier. N Peak is 4th class rock. (Possible 5th class north face) Main is a scramble from east ridge or south gulley. Needle is 4th class (rock sucks) everything else is an easy ridge walk.

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Did Gov's Ridge two summers ago. From the lakes went to the saddle between Gov's Ridge and Barrier. Is pretty steep on that back gulley, watch the heather, can be slippery. Need to go past 3 buttresses I think. The traverse back to Barrier is pretty steep in places, have to crawl through brush. Not too many names in the Gov's Ridge register, doesn't look like too many make it out there. Barrier looks to get a lot of traffic. If enough time, can do Tamanos same day.

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Sounds good. That's part of what drew my attention to the area, I figured it didn't get a whole lot of visits. I've never heard anybody mention the area before as far as I can remember. I'll set my sights for late May/early June, I'll let you all know what I end up doing and how it goes. Cheers. bigdrink.gif

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If you've got the time,try access via Cayuse Pass. Park in the wide spot just south of the pass and ascend obvious gulley to the notch. Contour through Sheepskull Gap and head for any part of the ridge which makes a long day to traverse from the north to Barrier. N Peak is 4th class rock. (Possible 5th class north face) Main is a scramble from east ridge or south gulley. Needle is 4th class (rock sucks) everything else is an easy ridge walk.

 

I did it this way a couple years back as a loop trip and went out via the lakes with a second car parked at the trailhead. Great trip.

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