Overview Diagram of Route

Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Chair Peak/Northeast Buttress

Late Season Rock climb report for NE Buttress of Chair Peak

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Trail is good.  There are about 5 different ways to get to the base of the climb.  I feel the most direct way is to go up the source Lake spur off of the Snow Lake trail, and at the western most point of the trail, go straight up the western side of a talus slope.  The talus will terminate into a rock gully (solid rock, no talus).  Ascend the gully to more talus (this whole feature looks like an hourglass on google earth -with the upper talus field funneling into the solid rock gully, and then fanning out below the gully towards source lake).  Once in the upper talus field, head to the rock wall slightly climbers right and find a climbers trail through some woods (about 100 yards).  This will breakout into yet another talus bowl that is the eastern basin of Chair Peak.  The goal is to get to the most western portion of the ridge called the Snow Lake Divide which is were the climb begins.  There are about 4 different ways to get up there, but my recommendation would be to almost due north from where you come into the Eastern basin and go up a notch.  Once on the Snow Lake Divide there is an easily found path (on the north side) up to the base of the climb.  If you contact me I can send you a photo with our route traced. 

Took a group of two Basic Students and a Rope Lead up Chair Peak, NE Buttress on Sunday 9/25/16.  Weather was good, but had rained for a day or two earlier in the week. 

  • Parking lot to base of climb:  2:20min
  • Base of climb to summit (3 pitches, 2 scrambles):  3:30 min
  • Summit back to base of climb (two scrambles, two double rope raps): 2:20 min
  • Base of climb back to cars:  2 hours
  • Total time, car to car with 10 min on summit was 10:30 min

Protection:  hard to protect all pitches.  smaller pieces were more useful for me.  Small nuts and hexes.  Ballnuts were lifesavers!


We left the trailhead at 7am, and we were at the base of the climb by 9:20.  See above for approach description

At the base of the climb you start out with a two pitch rock climb - 4th and low 5th class.  Best to stay right up the gully, and continue to bear right when faced with options.  There is a large flake that has a rap station on it at just about 30 meters.  Belay your follower to here, then go direct up into some trees and belay your follower up to there as well.  Second pitch is super easy.

We un-roped from here and did a rather lengthy class 3 scramble to the last pitch. 

The final pitch is a very easy slab, with a slightly overhung, blocky crux at the end.  I say this is easy, however as I noted at the beginning of the climb, it had rained earlier in the week, and all the slabs were slimy and slick!  There are also very limited places to protect this part, however at the overhung crux, there are a couple rusty pitons hammered in that were much appreciated - if not fully trusted!  This made for a tricky lead and we top roped all the rest of the climbers up this section.  I would say it is about 20 meters long.  Once up the last pitch there is another class 3 scramble to the summit.  We summited at 1:05pm - so a little over 3.5 hours to the summit from the base of the climb, or 6 hours car to summit.  We were pretty dialed in except that I was very slow leading the last pitch due to the slimy slabs with minimal protection opportunities. 

We spent 10 min on top and then down climbed to the top of the 3rd pitch and did a double rope rap that took us all the way down the third pitch plus most of the scramble section above pitch 2.  We down climbed to the top of pitch two and did a second double rope rap to the base of the climb.  Tip:  Best to not rap down the climbing route - after half of our team was down, we found a second rap station in the trees to the climbers right of the top of pitch two that would have been much better.  We were back to the base at around 3:30pm.

We followed the Snow Lake Divide for a bit before dropping off into the Eastern basin and then walked back to the trailhead, arriving at 5:30pm.