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Chair Peak West Ridge Climb

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Chair Peak West Ridge:

I did this route a few years back with by now IFMGA guides Nick Pope and Olivia Caussen as part a guides training weekend. There was no sign of past traffic on the route other than a pin that I had left on descent of the West Ridge on a guided climb. I then did the route again last year a couple of times and cleaned it. I think it is a really worthy day trip from the Seattle area. It offers a lot more real climbing than the NE buttress, is more diverse and committing.

It involves 5.7 climbing and exposed ridge travel. The route is just long enough to make it worth the trouble. Enjoy. 

Route description:

The route starts at the base of a narrow 220 foot couloir that goes up to the lowest spot of the West Ridge just east of a distinct tower. The first 15 meters accessing the actual couloir does not offer pro, but never gets hard. Then climb up with good pro (5.7) to within a short distance of the ridge crest. Stay left where the couloir splits near the top and find a couple of hammered-in nuts and older biners. Good anchor possibilities here. From here climb up and right around a steep bulge to the ridge crest. 

From here traverse left over third class terrain (short rope) until you are under an obvious couloir that is capped with two chock stones. Go up the couloir and under the chock stones to the notch. Lower chock stone is loose! At notch turn right and climb a couple of short pitches (5.7) to the base of a short slab (two pins here). Stay on ridge to the base of a short 10 foot headwall with poor pro (exposed). Climb up and around a bit left, then immediately back to the ridge. Keep on ridge crest now to avoid loose rock. 

The ridge levels off and a short down climb gets you into a notch with short trees. Traverse easy ground on the north side for about 15 meters, then back up to the ridge crest. Now stay on the ridge crest on shattered but easy rock until you hit the false summit. 

From the false summit climb down easy ground just a bit, then traverse the narrow ridge staying on the north side. This is easy but exposed ground. This will bring you to a small notch. Climb easy ground to a knob, then down to the notch between the false and true summit. One easy pitch to the summit from here. 

3 to 4 four hours from route entrance to the summit. Grade III/5.7 

Descent: use the standard descent couloir down the south side which leads to the narrow rappel gully that brings you back into the upper Chair Peak basin. (1 to 2 hours from the summit back to the Chair Peak basin.  

Gear Notes:

Equipment: 60 meter rope, medium size alpine rack. Light crampons and light axe until middle of summer. 

Approach Notes:


Go to the far west end to the Chair Peak via the standard approach route that you would use to get to the NE buttress route. From the base below the NE buttress keep traversing on slabby and in early season snowy and potentially glide cracked terrain to the base of the route. 2 to 2.5 hours from the car



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