The Pika Chute (unofficial name - many of these little creatures live in the talus around West Apostle) gives access to the North Ridge of West Apostle between the First and Second Tower.
Climbing the Chute offers a nice snow climb/rock climb combination to gain the summit of West Apostle.
Chute is snow filled at least till late July (in 2008 chute was still snowfilled in mid August).
Getting ThereHike from Winfield (if you have a low clearance car) or from the end of the 4 x 4 road along the left side (east) of the creek to the junction of Lake Ann Trail and Three Apostle Trail. Turn left on the Three Apostle Trail. The trail is crossing the creek after 300 yards on a tree trunk. Hike on the right (west) side of the creek through forest up to the Three Apostle Basin.
When reaching the Three Apostle Basin, the North Ridge of West Apostle is to the right (west)of you.
After reaching the Basin do not follow the faint trail across the creek heading in direction of Ice Mountain, but stay on the right (=west) side of the creek and head up the basin until you are below the North Ridge. Pika Chute is the first snow chute you encounter.
Route DescriptionStay on the left side of the Chute to minimize the risk of getting hit by rockfall.
For the most part, the Chute is moderately steep. Steepness increases on the very last part.
Chute ends below a small cliff. Climbing straight up to the ridge is a III-IV climb (depending on route selection - climb is pretty iffy when rock is wet).
However, a couple yards below the cliff look to the right, a small ravine is granting easy access to the crest of North Ridge -West Apostle.
Essential GearLots of loose talus all around you - narrowness of chute makes it hard to escape rockfall
Helmet, crampons and ice axe are a must