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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Chair Peak/Southeast Route

Approached the SE Route on Chair Peak on June 14, 2020 and turned around below the E face at about 5,400 before starting the technical crux due to deteriorating weather conditions.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • We took the the summer trail from Snow Lake TH to the end of the valley above Source Lake.  The trail was mostly free of snow, but still had patches of snow remaining.  Several snow bridges above streams are melting out and require caution.

We began our hike from Snow Lake Trail Head at about 6:30a on Sunday in light rain.  The forecast was for a trace of precipitation in the morning clearing up in the afternoon for a brief period.  We decided to make the approach our objective for the day and climb the SE route if conditions permitted once we arrived at the base of the route.

The summer trail to Source Lake was mostly snow free, but did have patches of snow covered trail with several snow bridges over streams which required caution.  These will likely melt out in the next week or so. 

We stepped off trail above Source Lake and were on snow for the rest of the approach (last easily accessible running water crossing the trail above Source Lake).  The snow was perfect for kicking steps and we all carried ice axes for the steeper steps as we ascended toward the base of Chair Peak.

Light rain turned to snow around 4500 ft and we continued higher hoping for a break in the weather.  We reached our high point around 9:30a which was at about 5400ft right below the East Face of Chair Peak.  We fashioned a sitting area on a flat spot near a rock band to eat some food and wait out the weather.  We had a good view of the ascent gully on the left when looking at the route below the East Face - it was filled with snow, but there appeared to be a gap in snow ~20ft below the ridge.  I imagine this was a moat that would need to be negotiated. 

The snow was thick and heavy by this point with 1.5-2" of new accumulation from the night before on top of a well consolidated base (forecasted at trace to 0.5").  We saw a few pin wheels come from above us and decided to abandon our attempt and try again another day.  We began descending just after 10a and arrived back to the cars at noon.  Overall a great day and a good warm up "climb" to stretch legs coming out of COVID-19 climbing restrictions.