Chair Peak Northeast Buttress / 座椅峯東北拱壁

The Chair Peak northeast buttress ice climb finally happened! I’ve had several canceled ice climbs over the past two years. The lack of ice and avalanche concerns were the primary reasons. See the detailed report from our trip leader.

Chair Peak northeast buttress up ahead
Chair Peak northeast buttress up ahead

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

Going up to 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 by Source Lake. Then we continued up to the north end of the basin in snowshoes. It was now 7 AM.

Even with snowshoes, we spent the next hour stepping through deep snow. Then we got up to the base 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.

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!

See more trip photos here.

Chair Peak Summit

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 photographed for as long as I could. At the same time, I tried to savor the views before leaving. Then I met the other team members at the top of the gully. They were setting up a double rope rappel there.

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.

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.

See more trip photos here.

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