Chair Peak by Kaleetan Peak via Northeast Buttress + Ice Climb / 座椅峯

  • Reading time:4 mins read

Chair Peak by Kaleetan Peak towers above the famous Snow Lake as the #4 highest peak in Snoqualmie Pass North. The classic northeast buttress has long been a favorite among ice climbers. Even so, the ideal snow conditions are few and far between.

Chair Peak northeast buttress
Chair Peak northeast buttress

See more trip photos here.

Chair Peak at a Glance

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

The Preface

Our ice climb on Chair Peak northeast buttress happened at last! There have been several canceled trips over the past two years. But the lack of ice and avalanche concerns were the primary reasons.

All in all, the trip went as planned without any hiccups or mishaps. So, knock on wood! The trip leader has also put up his detailed report from the climb.

Alpine start has its perks
Alpine start has its perks

See more trip photos here.

The Northeast Buttress

The four of us left Alpental parking at a quarter past 5 AM. But it didn’t take long before we walked past Source Lake. Then we put on snowshoes and continued up to the north end of the basin. The time was now 7 AM.

Even with snowshoes, we couldn’t move fast and ended up spending the next hour stepping through deep snow. We reached the bottom of the northeast buttress at 8 AM. But first, we stopped at 100′ below to stashed the gear. So we could retrieve it after the climb.

End of the approach
End of the approach

See more trip photos here.

Chair Peak Climb

Compared with four months earlier, the area was as different as night and day. The thick blanket of snow over the otherwise rocky terrain looked much prettier! The climb itself was straightforward without surprises.

We climbed in teams of two. Then we swing led for five pitches. At the start of the fourth pitch was a short section of vertical ice. And that was the only crux of the trip. The overall grade was higher than I had anticipated. But that was the thrill!

Setting up deadman anchor
Setting up deadman anchor

See more trip photos here.

Chair Peak Summit Views

My rope partner and I went up on the summit at a quarter to 1 PM. Then she went back down to meet the other team after 10 minutes on top. But I stayed behind for another 15 minutes.

I stayed for photos for as long as I could as I tried savoring the views before leaving the top. Later I met the other members at the top of the gully as they set up a double rope rappel.

Chair Peak northeast view
Chair Peak northeast view

See more trip photos here.

Leaving Chair Peak

With one rappel, we were able to go down far enough in the gully. Then something caught the ropes when we tried to retrieve them. We thought the gear had perhaps cut into the snow. So we continued to tug until the lines came tumbling down. Big whew!

For the downclimb, I either faced in or plunge stepped. But the team stopped just short of the head of the basin. Then we crossed the slopes and went back to the base of the buttress. So we could pick up the gear we had stashed earlier.

Rappel station above the gully
Rappel station above the gully

See more trip photos here.

Outro

Soon, we made it back down to the thumbtack feature. Then we made a quick stop for a group photo. Since we were up on the summit at different times, I couldn’t take one there.

We slowly made our way back down to Source Lake in slushy snow. But glad we had snowshoes to help us go through the tedious part. Shortly, we found the trail and then hiked back to the parking lot.

Group Kodak moment on Chair Peak
Group Kodak moment on Chair Peak

See more trip photos here.

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