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Trip Report    

Chair Peak/Northeast Buttress

Tuesday August 26. Sunny clear skies.

On the approach, we took the Snow Lake Divide cut-off. At the Thumb Tack, we ascended directly upslope to the ridge crest as per "Climbing Washington's Mountains" (Smoot) instead of heading towards base of the East face and then ascending gully to base of the climb. This was easy, safer, and more aesthetic compared to the standard approach.

Build the belay in the rock at the base of the climb instead of using the tree if you want to climb the first right-trending gully in one pitch. From the top of the gully, we scrambled up the crest of the buttress to just above some small shrubby trees and used a slung horn for the belay. In the next lead we headed leftward to the obvious tree clump. If you stay in the seam as you head up, you pass a bolted rap anchor that I would recommend using for the belay for the final pitch. We had passed this anchor and as the rope didn't reach the tree clump, we built a semi-hanging belay in two adjacent cracks just below the trees. From this belay to the trees there were no suitable pro-placements however the climbing was manageable in boots.

From the tree clump we scrambled up rocky heather slopes to the summit. It took longer than expected to reach the summit (6.5 hours). This was probably due to extra time needed to manage a party of three. At the summit, we met a party that had climbed the West Ridge (5.7) which they said was enjoyable.

I would recommend this climb mid-week to avoid rock-fall from other climbing parties. Although rock-fall is a persistent hazard, it can be managed with careful attention. Chair Peak was an enjoyable climb, and a welcome relief from the Tooth.