Chicken-Out-Ridge Route Photo
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Chicken-Out-Ridge in August showing the two most used summer routes. The red line follows the knifed edged ridge top through the black (or grey band) which is mostly solid rock with numerous handholds and footholds the entire way. The yellow line shows what I call the "grungy traverse" that some people use to avoid the exposure on the ridge. This lower route is subject to rockfall and if snow covered can be quite dangerous. In the summer of 2016 several parties got into trouble using this "shortcut" resulting in injuries and rescue operations.
The standard route climbs the ever steepening ridge to a V-notch that narrowly avoids the steeper rock on the north side of the ridge and then crosses over to the tan band on the south side of the ridge (make sure to note the location of this notch for your descent). Once you reach the black band, stay true to the ridge top until you reach the short, steep downclimb to the small notch that splits the ridge. Getting across this notch often includes a short, but level snow crossing that usually doesn't require the use of an ice axe by mid-summer. If the route is dry you can avoid the ridge top by downclimbing and traversing across the somewhat exposed and dirty north side of the ridge (yellow line). This lower crossing avoids the true ridge top and is subject to rockfall from above. From the notch, traverse the northwest face staying below the false summit to a large saddle from where there are a number of routes to the summit. It is possible to avoid Chicken-Out-Ridge by using the steep gullies to the south but this involves 4th class climbing on very loose rock. We were forced to use this way of descent once to avoid lightning on the ridge but I would not recommend it otherwise.