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Buckshot

Shuksan/Fisher Chimneys question

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Looking to try this route at the end of April and I'd like some gear advice. Will we need rock pro or will pickets be adequate? What size pro? Screws? Any other advice appreciated.

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When we did this many, many years ago, I don't recall needing (or bringing) any rock pro; it's just 3rd class. Up above, if the 'shrund on top of Curtis Glacier is covered up, you'll only find kinda steep snow. We were there in early Aug and had to climb down into the melted-out shrund and then up the other side with only long ice axes and standard crampons (not really recommended). Guess you could take pickets but if you're reasonably competent on snow, you probably don't really need 'em.

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The gulley in the middle of the south face of the pyramid will likely be mostly snow. If you want set some belays or running protection you may want pro. The ridges on the pyramid are low 5th, so you may want pro if you plan on doing one of those. The Chimney's themselves should not require rock pro, but I have seen some parties belay one or two short spots.

 

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I did the White Salmon Route last April which joins the Fischer Chimneys route at about 7000'. I've heard the chimneys are mainly 3rd class and I don't think many parties rope up for them but YMMV. Last year we went up the Hourglass instead of Hell's Highway. We placed a screw or two in 50 degree water ice on a brief running belay. If you went Hell's Highway, screws would not be necessary. We soloed the summit gully on snow. If a party wanted the extra security of a running belay for the summit pyramid, you could bring a few pickets and long runners to clip the occasional fixed sling. Another thought is floatation- It can be quite soft up there in April. If you're not planning on brining skis or snowshoes, it might be worth letting things consolidate another month for that route, or get a super alpine start. Otherwise it could turn into quite the slog-fest.

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The chimneys will be very snowy, wet, and generally unpleasant for climbing in April (unless it is cold). This is a route typically done once they melt out, usually sometime in June or July.

 

If you do decide to go in April, bring pickets. But maybe you are looking to ski the chimneys?

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Buckshot, I climbed this route a couple of years back in June. Conditions were fabulous in the early morning and we romped up the chimneys on nice frozen snow with just ice tools and crampons. However, after we tagged the summit the snow in the chimneys had turned deeply isothermic making the descent sloppy with heavy class 1 and 2 avalanches sweeping the chimneys. Getting caught in one was guaranteed to badly injure or kill. We took lots of time rappelling down and found good anchor placements to be few and far between. Same story one we got through the chimneys and had that long side sloping traverse back to our camp above Lake Anne.

 

Here's some pics...

 

https://picasaweb.google.com/111575070192381135928/MtShuksan02

 

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