Follow the directions in the Getting There section of the main Chimney Peak page to reach the start of this route near the Old Man Lake trail (206) turnoff.
Route DescriptionLooking at a map, it may be assumed the south ridge line of Chimney Peak is the best way from the main trail to reach the summit. This is not the case. The ridge line has several large rocks and chimneys that make it more or less impassable.
It is best to get on the main east – west ridge a little to the west of the trail junction of trail 206 and descend the north side into the bowl at the southwest base of the summit mass. This is identified as a fairly gentle line across the slope between the steep upper ridge above and the main basin bowl below. Usually large patches of snow linger here. Cut across the bowl to the base of the first large ramp that climbs steeply between the large blocky chimney on the ridge line and another large chimney to the right of it. It should be fairly clear as it’s the only way through impassable rocks to go.
Once at the top of the ramp cut across the open slope below the large chimney toward the main ridge line. Ahead will be a clump of trees on top and impassable rocks on the right. Move to the left or west side of the ridge at or immediately before the trees. It may be temping to contour around below the rocks on the right side, but this will lead to a dead end on the rugged east face of the summit block. Contour on the west slope through a short stretch of stunted trees to the base of the next ramp.
This ramp on the west side rises up through impassable ridge line rocks and jumbled rocks to the west. It is dense with smaller boulders that often provide steps. Once on top, the good path ends at some steep west facing rock. This rock is very short and trees provide holds for a short scoot up to the narrow summit crest.
Once on the narrow summit rocks it’s a short but potentially perilous distance to the high point. Some hand over hand shuffling and minor moves are required on the blocky, potentially loose granite. The exposure on the ridgeline is very great as the rocks are often between one and three feet wide along much of the summit crest. There are some wider rocks mixed in that provide for a good spot to enjoy the views or have a rest before returning.
Most of this route is a steep scramble on well defined ground. The most difficult and dangerous part is the south portion of the narrow ridge crest and getting up the rocks from the second ramp onto the crest.