East Face (Winter)

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 47.45970°N / 121.4656°W
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering, Ice Climbing, Mixed
Seasons Season: Spring, Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: III WI3 R
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 4
Additional Information Grade: III
Sign the Climber's Log


The East Face of Chair Peak in winter is an excellent mixed alpine climb in the Snoqulamie Pass area. This route is quite a bit harder than the Northeast Buttress or North Face, and offers 4 pitches of quality steep snow, neve, mixed, and alpine ice climbing. If you don't mind runout, I highly recommend this climb.

East Face Profile

Getting There

Start at the upper lot at Alpental Ski Resort. Follow the maintained backcountry trail down the valley to the west. Just before the end of the maintained point, turn right unto a stomped out path crossing the river to the north. Follow this path to the end of the valley at Source Lake.

Now find a climbers trail trending west-northwest heading up the avalanche prone snow slopes . Keep heading up and traversing north at times, until you arrive in the basin below the steep East Face.

Route Description

Climb up steep snow aiming for a line up the middle of the face below the crux waterfall at the mixed band above. We found a good anchor at the first mixed band on the face.

Pitch #1 - AI3 - Climb up some 65 degree snow and ice with occasional steeper bulges. Protection here was iffy screws in the thin airated ice. Above the last bulge the angle kicks back a bit to 55 degree snow. Keep climbing up towards the rock band on your right. Establish a belay here using knifeblades. A 60 meter rope will not reach the anchor. 225 feet

Pitch #2 - WI3, 5.6 or easy mixed - Climb straight up the steep slope aiming for the crux waterfall above you. If the waterfall is formed, climb directly up it or via mixed climbing either side. If it is not formed and the snow to get to the rock band is to thin, you have to traverse to your right until you find an anchor. The first 100 foot of this pitch has no protection. There is good pro on the traverse. 175 feet

Pitch #3 - WI3 or snow - If you climbed the waterfall or mixed band directly, finish off by climbing easy 45 degree snow to the top. If you travsered, move up and to the right then climb the waterfall on the right side and belay on the snow field above. Another option is to start simulclimbing here. 120 feet

Pitch #4 - Snow - Climb the much easier snowfield up the the south summit. 150 feet

Summit Block - Drop down into the notch to your West, then climb the East side of the summit block on steep snow or mixed.


Backing Down
Downclimb the obvious 45 degree snow couloir heading due south. Trend east while downclimbing the lower section to gain a notch in the main ridgeline. Look down and notice the rap station at a rock buttress. The station may be buried in snow. It is located on the north facing wall of the rock tower that abuts the south side of the notch, on the top of a cornice.

Rappel off here using one or two ropes. There is an intermediate anchor, so you only need 1 rope. Rappel 60 meters to the base of the steep couloir. Now plungestep some 35 to 40 degree snow down to the base of the East Face. Keep heading East until you hit the approach trail. Follow the trail back to Alpental.

Essential Gear

5 screws stubby to medium
4 pins knifeblades and thin bugaboos
2 pickets
5 cams to 1.5"
6 nuts to 1"
70 meter rope




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