East Ridge Overview
First, I gave this route a class 4 rating. The route, with excellent route finding can be kept at class 3. However the fastest route is sticking directly to the ridge crest of the East Ridge and doing that requires solid class 4 climbing. Stick to the ridge, its more fun!
RT-8 miles and 4,800-ft
With respect to the property owners encompassing McClure Pass, I will not describe that approach. The standard approach begins around the Genter Mine or the Prospect Ranch which reside just yards away from the Crystal River. I haven’t done this approach but I do know there is a trail of sorts that ascends southwest and traverses the northeast slopes below “The Cleaver” or UN11,866. This trail eventually meets up with the Chair Creek Drainage. I wouldn’t recommend the Rapid Creek Drainage; it looks awfully steep and loaded with difficulties.
From Chair Creek in the lower Chair Creek Drainage, the approach route up to the boulder ridden basin below the huge concave northeast face of Chair Mountain is obvious. There is a west and east side of Chair Drainage. Ascend the east side of the drainage which runs parallel with the steep west face of “The Cleaver.” Once you arrive to the huge basin below Chair Mountain, begin a boulder hopping south, to the east ridge.
Ascend about 400 vertical feet up dangerously loose slope to gain the east ridge. From here the route is obvious. Ascend the east ridge, it is difficult class 3 by its easiest route. Class 4 climbing is only a few feet away the entire route to the summit. The rock is solid for Elk Range standards, however, there are places where one needs to use caution by checking handholds.