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Trip Report    

Chair Peak/Northeast Buttress

Saturday Aug 9th. Thankfully very nice weather for climbing.

Departed Snow Lake TH at 6:20am and arrived at base of climb at 8:20am. Took the Source Lake trail and headed up the first scree field. We stayed leftish on the scree field and ascended a gully then traversed up and right through brush and then gained the scree field just below the Thumb Tack. Alternatively, traversing right on the initial scree field would have avoided the brush and hooked up with an intermediate scree field with cairns to mark the way through trees (traveersing back left) to the upper scree field beneath the Thumb Tack. It's all good!

Recommend staying on snow patch and climbing up scree field above the Thumb Tack until you can safely/simply traverse right up more loose rock to the base of the climb.

Not knowing what to expect, I brought all nuts, hexes, cams, except for the cowbells. Given the sparcity of pro palcement opportunities, I didn't mind having the selection so that I could place something when the opportunity arose.

From base of climb we set a static line up the first gash, allowing students the option of scrambling or prussiking up to the base of the first substantial pitch. Rather than using the bent-over shrubbish/tree for an anchor, we built an anchor in the rock (used two blue cams) close to the base of the pitch, which allowed just enough rope length to make it to the tree anchor at the top of the pitch.

From the trees at the top of the first pitch we walked 15 - 20 yards to climbers left and then scrambled up blocky / heathery slopes very gently traversing to climbers left. About half-way up the slope, and looking ahead a silvered old tree stump becomes clearly visible, and that's what you want to head for. Stopped and built an anchor in the rock (one red cam, one medium nut, and one small nut) about a half pitch from the silvered tree. Climbed this second pitch quickly (a little friction move along the way). Once over the silvered tree it is more scrambling on blocky / heathery slopes to the false summit and a walk-off from the false summit to the true summit.

We went up with eight people (four ropes). I'd recommend not going up with more than four people (two ropes). Loose rock persists throughout the climb. Take special note of a loose flake close to the top of the first subtantial pitch just above a nut left in a crack. The loose flake forms a crack that looks like it wants a small nut for protection, but bang on the rock and you'll definitely see movement. I tested/used the nut left in the crack below instead. Also, the rock on the blocky / heathery scramble sections is loose throughout. Our party knocked down several pieces that do nothing but accelerate, and thankfully did not come close to anyone else on the route.

On descent, we scrambled down to the silvered tree and double rapped to half-way down the blocky/heathery slope and then scrambled down to the trees at the top of the first pitch. We double rapped from the trees to the base of the first pitch. We single rapped down the gash to the base of the climb. Surprisingly, loose rock didn't seem to be as much of an issue on the rappels, perhaps because we could work down steeper more solid rock than on the way up.

Another party of two who had climbed the NE Buttress as well met us at the summit and descended via the chimneys on the Southeast side of the mountain. We heard multiple signicant rock fall as they headed down. Yikes!

With four ropes and several new basic climbers we were steady / cautious climbing and rappeling so we didn't get back to the base of the climb until 5:00pm and back to the TH by 7pm. Longer day than anticipated, but the climb was a great introduction for the basics and everyone had a very nice time.