American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington–Cascade Mountains, Chimney Rock, First Winter Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1986

Chimney Rock, First Winter Ascent. The first week of winter found the Cascades under the influence of steady high pressure. Feeling the need to complete unfinished business, Pat McNerthney and I again headed for Chimney Rock, this year with Greg Collum. Logging operations allowed us to drive within four miles of the summer-time trailhead. A day and a half of skiing and step-kicking delivered us to a camp high on the Chimney Rock Glacier. The next morning, December 28, we were racing up the steep snow gully between the main and south peaks. A short rock step required the rope and a belay. From the ridge crest, Pat led the way to the east face of the final summit tower, traversing up, down, and around steep snow and ice ramps. Three steep pitches followed. The conditions were fantastic; the rock was bare and dry, and snow in gullies and on ledges was frozen solid. Quickly we reached the summit and mused at our luck with the weather. It would have been a much different experience given the usual snow-plastered rock of a Cascade winter climb. We descended with five rappels and much down-climbing.

Daniel Cauthorn

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