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Trip Report    

Chair Peak/North Face (winter)

Climb date: 2/22/2015
We climbed the North Face of Chair Peak on a clear day, temperatures in the upper twenties and moderate winds. The route conditions were on the thin side especially on the first pitch but protection was good. The snow on approach was firm crust in the morning and soft enough in the afternoon for comfortable plunge stepping but no post holing, no flotation was required. We started from the upper parking lot at 5:15am, the trail to Source Lake was very icy so those of us who brought microspikes were happy. We cached our poles, geared up and started from Thumb Tack at 7:30am, ascended the NE ridge of Chair to the higher notch which helped avoid wind slabs on the N slope of the ridge. We only had to cross one of those (saw a couple of shooting cracks) and got on the traverse below the N face which had well bonded snow. The moat was just starting to form and was mostly filled in so it was easy to get across. We started the first pitch around 8:30am as the winds picked up with a lot of spindrift coming down the face. The first pitch was a bit thin at the start but with good protection in the rock wall to the right. Higher up the ice got thicker and took a couple of short screws. The rest of the face had good firm layer with a few inches of soft snow on top and was done as a long simul climb using rock, trees and occasional ice bulges for protection. The cornice at the top had a firm ramp on the right side. We summited by 11:30am, had a quick lunch and started down. Be sure to get to the correct S facing gully by first going over the false summit (to the E of the main summit)! The gully is usually down climbable in the right conditions but this year the ice was too thin in a few steps so we set up a double rope arm rappel. From the notch another double rope rappel brought us back to the basin so we were back to the cache by 1:45pm, and returned to the car by 3:15pm. Pro: screws up to 19cm, a few cams in the range of 0.4 to 2, half a set of nuts, 3-4 pins.