Chair Peak East Route by Kaleetan Peak via Source Lake Trail / 座椅峯

  • Reading time:6 mins read

Chair Peak east route by Kaleetan Peak overlooks Source Lake Basin. Meanwhile, the famous peak ranks #4 in Snoqualmie Pass North before Lundin Peak. Plus, the more popular northeast buttress often entices skilled climbers who relish a challenging winter ascent.

Chair Peak east route
Chair Peak east route

See more trip photos here.

Chair Peak East Route at a Glance

Access: Source Lake Trailhead
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 3240′-6238′
Gear: helmet, rope
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no

The Preface

Chair Peak had long been on my list since I started scrambling. Finally, today I visited this unique massif on a decent fall weather day. It also happened to be my final peak to climb in this area.

Hiking to the end of Source Lake Trail in the lower basin was straightforward. Past that point, I spotted cairns and soon followed a faint climber’s path to the top of the water gully.

See more trip photos here.

Chair Peak East Basin

En route, I stayed left to avoid splashing water and wet rocks. Later I caught up to another climber, and he mentioned turning around if it got any sketchier. That was the last time I saw him.

Soon, I was at the top of the gully below the headwall. But I had somehow missed the few cairns leading to the right into the trees. I checked out the wall, and it looked class 4 to low 5th, perhaps a more technical climb.

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Chair Peak East Route on Class 4 Gully

I backtracked and then caught the cairns I had missed, so I followed them up higher. Once there, Cascade Alpine Guide’s descriptions for the Chair Peak east route started to make sense. I even saw the “thumbtack” I had passed earlier.

From the gully/chimney, I went up using lots of solid holds. At the same time, I stayed left as I went up to the notch. The only problem I had was the wet rocks that never dried up for being in the shade.

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Final Stretch on Chair Peak East Route

Along the way were belay stations with some hanging webbing. So I used it to help me up through the slabs and tall steps. But the higher I went, the steeper it became. Big thanks to the solid holds!

At the notch, I caught a glimpse of Melakwa Lake, plus a faint path coming up the west side. It looked like a more leisurely but longer route. For there, I found a safe way to drop into the gully to reach the upper south ridgeline.

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Chair Peak East Route Summit Views

It took 20 minutes going from the gap to the top. Overall, the climb ended up being more intense than I expected. After going up the big mountains this season, I’d still feel the adrenaline rush on a lower peak. Who knew?

Incredible views were everywhere, but I couldn’t see much past Snoqualmie Mountain. By then, clouds had filled in Source Lake Basin. They also moved in and out of Snow Lake during my entire visit.

See more trip photos here.

Outro

After 45 minutes on top, I made my way down to the notch. With a couple of rappels and some downclimbing, I was back in the upper basin. Then I retraced my steps back to the car right after dark.

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