Chair Peak/N Face (winter)
Issaquah Transit Center http://www.soundtransit.org/Rider-Guide/Issaquah-TC
6,120’, Snoqualmie Grade III Ice Reference & Data • • • • Jurisdiction: Alpine Lakes Wilderness / Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest • Ranger Station: Snoqualmie Pass Visitor Center / 360-434-6111 • Equipment: 2 tools, pickets, screws, crampons, include pitons & rock pro. • USGS Maps: Snoqualmie Pass • Beckey: Cascade Alpine Guide I, 3rd Edition, pp 161-162. • Other ref: Selected Climbs in the Cascades, pp 44-46. Time Elevation gain/loss Mileage • Seattle to TH 1 hr 3,100’ 54 • TH to Summit 6 hrs +3,000’ • Summit to Cars 3 hrs -3,000’ Approach • • • • • • • • • • • Drive I-90 East from Seattle to Exit 52, Snoqualmie Pass. Turn left and drive to the upper Alpental parking lot, 3,100’. A cat track proceeds up the valley from the end of the lot, just left of the stream. Proceed up the valley towards Chair Peak, first encountering Source Lake. If snow conditions are stable, ascend up the open slopes at the valley head and make a rising traverse into the cirque under the east face of Chair, ending at the rock called the Thumb Tack. From here, the north face is to the right of the NE buttress, which is the right hand skyline of Chair Peak. Proceed north from this point, up a gully to the NE ridge (avoiding the direct NE approach to the ridge). This gully is avalanche prone (2 fatalities in 1996). Follow the ridge to the buttress, and inspect the route, which begins about half way across the north face up a prominent open-book. Climbing Route • • • • • The first pitch is usually a mixture of steep snow and ice, up to 70 degrees, with a belay on a shoulder where the angle eases a little. Second pitch can be combined with the third in simulclimbed steep snow, ending at a belay bush, off to the right. Fourth pitch has a little more steep ice, and a belay bush. Last pitch is up to the summit ridge, where a cornice may be encountered. From the summit ridge the true summit is up a short 20’ step. Descent • • • • • • • • • • • From the summit, traverse over the false summit, and head east down the normal descent gully, to a notch in the SE ridge, where rappel gullies descend to the E face basin. Downclimb or rappel according to conditions. This brings one down to the cirque under the east face and a return to the Thumb Tack. Comments • • • • • • • • • Snow conditions are sine qua non for this climb. It should only be attempted in below freezing conditions, ideally after a good thaw, yielding nicely consolidated ice and snow. Expect heavy traffic on weekends due to inclusion in Selected Climbs. Early season, this climb is often steep unconsolidated snow, with the amount of ice on the route increasing toward March. The season is considered from December to March.
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