Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Chair Peak/Southeast Route

least technical route on chair. the south shoulder variation of the southeast route. route in perfect condition

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

south shoulder route

quick and dirty route info: park at alpental, take snow lake trail, turn left(w) at source lake trail junction, after crossing stream on trail(4100'), follow cairns switchbacking uphill to 4250', then instead of following cairns, head uphill (nw) to and ascending stream gully(late season easy, earlier, must use brush left of gully), at top of gully, look for (4780') secret passage that ascends nne to upper basin along cliffs, continue nne to talus basin and then ascend to thumbtack(5080'), then begin clockwise corkscrew around mountain by ascending broad ramp wsw of thumbtack, once on ramp, continue rising clockwise corkscrew traverse(being careful not take side gullies) up to the not bryant/chair peak saddle(6000'), from saddle drop ~150', mostly on a faint ramp, doing a desceding (wnw)traverse to a loan squeeze tree.  continue another ~20' to trees that edge an easy gully, ascend easy gully halfway exiting climber's left on a (not obvious)rising traverse faint ramp to a cairned corner and find a very easy ramp that connects to an obvious trail, take trail to a dead-end(it looks like you cannot traverse northward anymore as it appears to be a slight cliff), step on top of a small evergreen, look and you will see an easy exposed short (~10') class 3 downclimb on solid rock that will allow you to do a descending traverse over to a saddle near what looks like the summit gully(it is not the summit gully, but it is close), ascend gully to its top, then traverse climber's left a short ways over and then do the easy class 2 scramble to the summit.

each of the past three presidential election years, i have ascended chair peak by different routes.  not sure why i chose to break the pattern this time, could it be i was not happy with the results? :>)
before each of my previous trips, i was filled with trepidation. maybe it was because chair seemed to me to be something only "real climbers" did.  i consider myself more of an advanced backpacker/scrambler.  this time i was very relaxed and i found the route very easy, stress free and fun.  i did not find it to be that loose, but rather pleasant.  now my climbing partners on this trip, did not feel the same way - one found it loose, another felt stress from worrying too much about where to step).  we also did a very fun side trip to the summit of not bryant(a bump mentioned in beckey's cascade alpine guide, south of the 6000' not bryant/chair saddle) and we also "free soloed" the thumbtack!

we nailed the route, had perfect temps and a great time being together - very, very fun day!  thanks guys for another great day in the mountains!!!

7.46mi 3406' gain
4:18 car to summit
0:55 summit stay
4:25 summit to car
9:38 car to car

water: last water at (4100')stream bisecting source lake trail
equipment:  helmet
equipment brought, but not used: two 30m ropes, harness, rap device

  • Red Marker
    47.459556, -121.466761
    47.4595563 -121.466761
  • Red Marker
    47.459556, -121.466761
    47.4595563 -121.466761

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