Ascent of Cowlitz Chimneys-Central Peak on 2015-06-27

Climber: Julie Myer

Others in Party:Kevin H
Date:Saturday, June 27, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cowlitz Chimneys-Central Peak
    Elevation:7421 ft / 2261 m

Ascent Trip Report

We obtained a cross country permit that morning for the area around Cowlitz Chimneys. Hiking by 8 a.m.; Panhandle Gap by 11 a.m. (although we cut left and crossed the snowfield just below the gap). We hiked up to the top of Banshee arriving about 12 p.m. then descended into basin below Cowlitz Chimney where we set up camp then continued on to Cowlitz Chimney/Main. It was easy to follow route description identifying the scraggly tree and fence of evergreens. The traverse was relatively easy, but could see it would be quite hazardous if wet. We led/belayed the rock slot left of the hidden cave. It was maybe 15'. We continued pretty much straight up. Lots of loose scree. There's a minor rib that was easier going then the super lose scree on the left. From the rock slot it was maybe 100' to reach the ridge and breath taking steepness off the other side. When you looked at main rock it looks daunting. But if you follow the ridge towards the main summit a very deep slot will be seen. Follow this up 30-40 feet to where it begins to widen onto benches (also covered in lose scree) which take you to the summit. Summited at 3 p.m. We returned on our ascent route and rappelled down the rock slot then directly down from the "cave". This section looks to be low 5th class and a more direct path I would select it if going back. We descended back into the basin and then headed up to the ridge between Main and Central. It was horrible and would not recommend the route. Lots of lose scree on rock. Rock itself crumbled easily. To climb central, follow the ridge up from the saddle between it and Banshee. There are various easy options. Summited Central at 5:30 p.m. then descended to camp in the basin. Out of camp by 6 p.m.; and at cars at 9:15 a.m.
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