Chimney Rock - East Face Direct, July 2004 (by Paul Klenke)
Sergio and I climbed Chimney Rock on a particularly smoky day in the Cascades. How fitting. Other than the reduction in distant viewing pleasure, though, the smoke didn't faze us. Besides, we were more concerned with sweeping our way up the Chimney than eyeing whatever notable peaks might be displaying their curvaceous features to us. As for Chimney Rock, it doesn't really have a curvaceous figure. More appropriately, its form is dominated by hard lines: vertical chimneys, tilted chimneys, diagonal ramps, and horizontal ledges. Sergio wondered if Chimney's name came from the many chimneys on its East Face. I figured the peak was named before the first ascent and therefore its name comes from its cylindrical towering form when viewed from a distance, particularly from the south (like from Three Queens).
Our route of choice was the East Face Direct (EFD). All in all, from my technical alpine experiences, this route possessed similarities to Cutthroat Peak's South Buttress, Mt. Triumph's NE Ridge, and Mt. Goode's NE Buttress. As a side note, I'd like to point out that this route appears much easier than the "East Face" Route; that is, the route that goes up the big gully left of the face. This gully (couloir?) still had snow in it and the snow looked hella steep. Not my idea of fun climbing. The EFD starts out as technical mid-Class 5 but mostly eases to Class 4 in the intervening pitches before the Key Ledge which the East Face route comes to eventually. Really, the East Face Route is a misnomer. It should be called the East Gully Route or something like that to distinguish it from the East Face Direct, which, in a sense, ought to be called the East Face Route. Anyway, I'll confuse you no more and get on with our story... (more...)
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