Forum Index > Trip Reports > Chimney Rock & Overcoat Peak - August 26-28, 2011
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Tom_Sjolseth
Born Yesterday



Joined: 30 May 2007
Posts: 2648 | TRs
Location: Right here.
Tom_Sjolseth
Born Yesterday
PostFri Sep 02, 2011 6:23 pm 
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The intimidating summit block of Chimney Rock.  Photo courtesy of Iron.
The intimidating summit block of Chimney Rock.  Photo courtesy of Iron.

In an area not too far off of I-90, from just NE of the highway all the way to the Cle Elum River, there lies a relatively rugged range of peaks that some consider to be the ďPickets of Snoqualmie PassĒ.  Despite that being a slight exaggeration, these peaks are indeed surprisingly rugged for being in the area they're in.  One of these peaks, Chimney Rock, is on the Home Court 100 list, a list on which Mike Collins had one peak left to complete.  Mike has been working on the Home Court and Back Court 100 lists for over a decade, and I have had the pleasure to join him on a few of those climbs.  Together we had climbed the most difficult peak on the list, Middle Index, less than a month prior.  Chimney rock is purported to be the second most difficult peak to climb on the list and although it's not even in the same league as Middle Index in terms of difficulty, it's a complex, challenging peak.  I had always wanted to get into the area, but for some reason I always ended up somewhere else instead.  After putting it off for so long, I was eager to head in there with Mike and proud to celebrate with him at the end of his long-fought quest to finish both lists.  Also joining us was Iron, who is a newly-married man.. congratulations to both he and the lovely hotpantz!

Iron and I were also interested in climbing Overcoat Peak, but Mike wasn't interested in repeating it (it is on the Home Court list), so his plan was to wait in camp for Iron and I while we headed over there.  We would either climb Overcoat on Saturday after climbing Chimney Rock (yeah right), or we'd do it on Sunday.  Either way, we allowed three days for our climbs, and I think thatís about the least amount of time youíd want to plan for.  Leaving from Seattle on Friday morning, we made the drive over to the Pete Lake TH via Cle Elum and Cooper Lakes.  Arriving to a fairly deserted parking lot, we made quick time to Pete Lake thanks to the astonishingly flat trail.  We encountered zero bugs on the way to the lake.

We stopped briefly at the lake before continuing on towards the PCT, 2 miles further down a relatively flat trail thatís in amazingly good shape.  We hung a right at the junction and continued on to a clearing and the first switchback on the PCT, where we kept walking straight into the brush towards the creek.  Here, we crossed four braids of the creek, aiming for open timber on the opposite side.  As the bugs intensified, we climbed onto the crest and found a relatively good climberís path.  The plan is to generally stay on the crest of the rib closest to the valley.  Once the trail reaches cliffs near the basin, we went left at their base.  Here we followed flagging and a faint boot path through dense brush towards the basin.

The basin has several options for bivy sites, but we chose some on the S side of an enormous boulder at ~4600í.  There is room for three bivies here (the third you have to look for, but itís there).  As there was no wind behind the huge boulder, the mosquitoes were pretty thick.  Fortunately, there was a cool, steady wind flowing down the creek from the icefall above which kept the insects at bay.  It was actually quite nice in the middle of the warm day.

As it didnít take long to get to camp, we had the rest of the day to kill.  Fortunately I had the foresight to bring beer, so I enjoyed a couple and basked in the pleasant sunshine.  The others basked too, but I caught the odd look here and there as they ogled my beer.  Still, my resistance was unwavering.

We got an early nightís sleep that night, and woke up at 6AM to climb Chimney Rock.  After a lazy start that consisted of warm breakfast and coffee, we were moving by 7:30AM, headed towards the left side and the discontinuous snow band linking the lower and upper basins.  At least one crevasse required a leap-across for the Mikes, where I took a slightly different variation.  After threading through broken blocks, we exited the ice onto slabby rock (class 3+) which we climbed to regain snow about 150 feet above us.

From here, we joined Stefan and Greg's route up to the U-shaped notch.  I will spare you the details since our trip was identical to theirs.  The climb took us longer than anticipated, so Overcoat would have to wait until the following day.  The descent to camp was exactly the reverse of the ascent route, and we were able to easily down climb through the broken snow and slabby rock.  Back at camp, we cooked dinner and chatted before heading to bed.

Sunday morning, Iron and I were off for Overcoat by 7AM.  This time, we headed to the rock ridge to climberís right of the lower basin, a more direct route around Chimney Rock.  We linked up several low to moderate angle snowfields around the E side of Chimney Rock, eventually gaining the flat and broad Overcoat glacier.  From here, we again joined Stefan and Gregís ascent route, taking the snow ramp to just below the summit.  From here, itís mostly class 3 and a move or two of 4 to the summit which we reached just after 10AM.

After spending an hour or so on the summit relaxing, it was time for the descent.  Rather than descend the steep, firm snow, we decided to look for an alternate descent route.  I scoped out the E side of the summit, and it looked doable.  Stefan and Greg (and others) descended to the E, then W, which we did, but we saw an obvious ramp which we thought looked OK, and we decided to try it.  It wasnít too bad until the very last bit where we had trouble finding a suitable rappel anchor.  After searching for about twenty minutes, we finally found an anchor and rapped to the base of the gully (we did two rappels total, one off of a huge block higher up).  The descent back to camp was the reverse of the ascent, and we arrived back in camp just before 2:30, 7.5 hours after we left.  The descent took us longer than the ascent.  In retrospect, we should have just descended the snow.

Overall, Iím impressed with this area.  Itís relatively rugged in comparison with other peaks in the area, and itís really quite beautiful.  I will definitely be back.  Iíd like to congratulate Mike Collins who becomes only the fourth person to finish both the Home Court 100 and Back Court 100 lists Ė thatís 200 peaks if youíre counting.  Dick ďKangarooĒ Kegel of Bulger fame, Don Goodman, and Fay Pullen are the other three.  It takes a great deal of time, dedication, and hard work to finish 200 peaks.  Itís truly a magnificent achievement, and he joins a group of people that are indisputably among the elite in the NW peak-bagging world.


All photos in this report courtesy of Iron.


Pete Lake as seen on the approach.
Pete Lake as seen on the approach.
Another shot of Pete Lake.
Another shot of Pete Lake.
The magnificent water course draining the basin below Chimney Rock.  The ascent route follows the trees on climber's right.
The magnificent water course draining the basin below Chimney Rock.  The ascent route follows the trees on climber's right.
Mike alongside the creek.
Mike alongside the creek.
Artsy water shot.
Artsy water shot.
The magnificent basin.  Chimney Rock summit at middle left.
The magnificent basin.  Chimney Rock summit at middle left.
Zoom shot of Chimney Rock.
Zoom shot of Chimney Rock.
The creek flowing through camp.
The creek flowing through camp.
Water.
Water.
Abundant wildflowers were on display.
Abundant wildflowers were on display.
More wildflowers.
More wildflowers.
A Hover Fly ([i:d324bf3e16]Chrysotoxum Intermedium[/i:d324bf3e16]).
A Hover Fly (Chrysotoxum Intermedium).
Again.
Again.
A special reminder.
A special reminder.
The broken gully.
The broken gully.
Closer.
Closer.
The imposing icefall.
The imposing icefall.
Closer.
Closer.
Zoom of Chimney Rock false summit.
Zoom of Chimney Rock false summit.
Mike.
Mike.
Mike heading up the broken gully.
Mike heading up the broken gully.
Mike and crevasses.
Mike and crevasses.
Me heading up.
Me heading up.
Getting through the ice.
Getting through the ice.
"".
"".
Higher up in the gully.  U-shaped notch can be seen.
Higher up in the gully.  U-shaped notch can be seen.
And thumbs up right back at ya, Mike.
And thumbs up right back at ya, Mike.
Summit Chief, Bear's Breast, Hinman, and Daniel from the summit of Chimney Rock.
Summit Chief, Bear's Breast, Hinman, and Daniel from the summit of Chimney Rock.
Rainier as seen from the summit of Chimney Rock.
Rainier as seen from the summit of Chimney Rock.
Overcoat from Chimney Rock.
Overcoat from Chimney Rock.
Mike and Iron enjoying some quality summit time.
Mike and Iron enjoying some quality summit time.
The aptly-named Iceberg Lake.
The aptly-named Iceberg Lake.
Evening light on Chimney Rock from camp.
Evening light on Chimney Rock from camp.
Beautiful!
Beautiful!
On the way to Overcoat Peak.
On the way to Overcoat Peak.
The traverse around the N Peak of Chimney Rock.
The traverse around the N Peak of Chimney Rock.
Chimney Rock from the N.
Chimney Rock from the N.
Overcoat Lake.
Overcoat Lake.
Around camp.
Around camp.

Iron's full photo gallery here.
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6098 | TRs
Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostFri Sep 02, 2011 7:05 pm 
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Weird, more photos are appearing as I refresh. Hi Tom!

Looks like a great trip, and you really caught the weather right. Nice photos, Iron.

--------------
Mid Fork Rocks ē flickr
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Tom_Sjolseth
Born Yesterday



Joined: 30 May 2007
Posts: 2648 | TRs
Location: Right here.
Tom_Sjolseth
Born Yesterday
PostFri Sep 02, 2011 7:16 pm 
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Yeah, I had to add them manually because I couldn't figure out Iron's Picasa name to do it the easy way.

Howdy, puzzlr.   wave.gif
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dicey
custom title



Joined: 11 May 2004
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Location: giving cornices a wider berth
dicey
custom title
PostFri Sep 02, 2011 8:36 pm 
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Looks like a nice weekend!  biggrin.gif

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I'm not always sure I like being older but being less stupid has advantages.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/32121172@N00/sets/
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Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer



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Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer
PostFri Sep 02, 2011 11:48 pm 
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Looks like a fun trip out! up.gif up.gif

--------------
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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iron
getting old



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iron
getting old
PostMon Sep 05, 2011 11:16 am 
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good writeup and fun peaks. congrats to MC on his accomplishment. thanks for letting me tag along!

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

--- moe sizlack
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Bernardo
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Bernardo
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PostMon Sep 05, 2011 6:11 pm 
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Thanks for reporting.   Enjoyed reading.   Mike, why don't you do a summary essay/report on what it is like to have climbed all those peaks.  I'm sure there is a audience for that.
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BirdDog
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BirdDog
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PostMon Sep 05, 2011 7:43 pm 
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That's a great area in there, I love it. Nice work guys. Congrats Mike!

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"There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country."
Teddy Roosevelt August 6, 1912
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Chimney Rock & Overcoat Peak - August 26-28, 2011
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