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Ascent of Chimney Rock on 2021-07-04

Climber: Andrew Yi

Others in Party:Tobin Akehurst
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, July 4, 2021
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Peak:Chimney Rock
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:7100 ft / 2164 m

Ascent Trip Report

This is a challenging, fairly nasty peak. We climbed about 500 of the 1,100 foot rock face and bailed as neither of us were feeling it and we were progressing slowly due to difficult route finding, sparse pro, and loose/mossy rock.

Sat, 7/3/21: leisurely 1:30 pm start at the Pete Lake TH. Long, flat, boring trail to Pete Lake, where we stopped for a short break. After Pete Lake, you gain the PCT, which you will hike to the first switchback. Leave the PCT to your left and bushwhack for about 15 minutes or so and try to find the creek crossing, which consists of two narrow, slippery logs. On the other side of the creek, look for some pink flagging to mark the start of the climbers "trail" aka the steepest bushwhack from hell imaginable. It is NOT fun. After this grueling section, we were quite relieved to hit the basin at around 4600-4700 ft and found a nice flat rock, which was perfectly sized for our two bivy sacks and gear.

Sun, 7/4: woke up around 430 am and got moving around 5. Gain the moraine to climber's right above the bivy basin (Note: instead of attacking the loose slopes of the moraine head on, there was a nice snow finger to climber's right of the moraine - we didn't figure this out until the descent). Once on top of the moraine, walk on flat ground for a ways above the moraine and then scramble up some heather benches to climber's right. Above that, ascend moderately steep snow slopes until it flattens out. Descend to the glacier and contour around the big rock formations in front of Chimney Rock's main peak. No crevasses of significance as of now. However, once we got closer to the base of the east face, we were disheartened to see that there is a large 'schrund - at this point, I had a feeling that it would be very difficult to transition from the glacier onto the rock face.

Our suspicions were confirmed - there is a large sketchy moat blocking access to the actual start of the route. We traversed along the moat until Tobin was able to locate a small snow ramp that allowed access to the rock face approximately 100-150 ft to the left of the actual start of the route. We built a 2 picket anchor for protection and downclimbed a short distance to the snow ramp and got onto the rock. Our first pitch was about 5.7, made considerably more difficult because we were both climbing in soggy mountain boots from the glacier travel.

The entire east face of Chimney is serious "no fall" territory, even in the easier scramble sections. The route finding is confusing and devious, the rock is less than stellar (lots of loose and wet/mossy sections) and the protection is very sparse, creating a lot of mandatory runouts in serious no fall terrain. We got up approximately 500 ft and felt we were progressing too slowly. We didn't bring our bivy gear with us and neither of us wanted to get benighted on this intimidating mountain. We made the collective decision to bail.

The rappel stations were even sketchier than the climbing. Bring lots of tat and quicklinks. I can't say how relieved we both were to get back onto the glacier safely. We were both over the whole trip so we descended to our bivy site, packed up and hiked out that day.

The mosquitos on the hike out once we hit Pete Lake were atrocious.
Summary Total Data
    Grade/Class:5.6
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Headlamp, Ski Poles, Bivouac



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