Chiefs Head Peak
Warbonnet Ridge, Class 5.8, ~18 miles, ~5200 feet, With Tim Hallinan
Approach Beta (Courtesy Jim Disney)
Pitch Description (courtesy Jim Disney)
First Pitch (courtesy Jim Disney)
Chimey/Corner On The Second Pitch (courtesy Jim Disney)
Approach Beta:(Courtesy Jim Disney)
From the Wild Basin Ranger Station take the Thunder Lake Trail to the Lion Lake Trail Junction. Take the Lion Lake Trail to it's end at Lion Lake #1, then continue up past Trio Falls to Lion Lake #2,and on to Snowbank Lake then on up to the base of the route. (see map).
Jared's Input - It is 7 miles to Lion Lake #1 and maybe another mile up to the base of the route. From Snowbank Lake continue to the left and up a gully, you can not see the route from Snowbank Lake and it requires some talus hopping on loose boulders to get to. The base of the route is very obvious once you see the ridge itself. See Jim Disney's fantastic Summitpost page for more pictures.
Pitch Beta: (Courtesy Jim Disney)
he route starts up a inside corner, to the left (NW) of the "nose" of the arete. We built a small cairn at the start when we did the first ascent in 1989, it's probably still there.
1st lead ascends the slabs to the left of the inside corner, 80 - 90 feet , 5.6.
2nd lead starts with a short 5.7 lieback in the corner, then works its way up a chimney to a belay ledge just above the top of the chimney, 80 - 90 feet, 5.7.
3rd lead starts with a short right hand traverse on a ledge, then lieback up a flake and work back left and up a groove to a good belay stance, 80 feet, 5.5. Rope drag is a problem on this pitch.
4th lead goes up a "V" groove leading up and right towards the "Nose" of the Warbonnet Ridge to a large ledge, 100+ feet, 5.5.
At this point walk towards the "nose" of the ridge along this exposed ledge across the front of the ridge to the east side of the arete. This ledge is the one we named the "Walk on the Wild Side" ledge (see photo).
5th and 6th leads climb up the steep slabs and blocks on the right edge of the nose of the ridge, 5.5.
7th lead ascends an prominent crack system on the nose of the ridge, 90 feet, 5.8. This is the crux lead.
At this point we were able to unrope and climb simultaneously up through the upper section of the route until the last 80 foot headwall just below the top of the route. Some of the moves in this section are 5th class, but because the ridge goes up in short steps we felt it was safe to climb unroped ... others may not agree.
8th lead goes up a steep headwall to the ridge leading to the summit, 80 - 90 feet, 5.4.
The entire route up the ridge is approximately 1500 feet long.
Jared's Input -
1st Pitch - Combines Jim's first pitch but continues up the short flake to a good belay stance ~175 feet, 5.7.
2nd Pitch - Head up the corner/chimney system, go straight up the crack above you instead of doing the zig zag traverse, it is well protected 5.8 this way, belay on a huge ledge ~ 125 feet, 5.8.
3rd Pitch - Head straight up the "V" groove slightly to the left of the belay, choose your own adventure, 5.4-5.6 we ran it out for 200 feet with about 15 feet of simulclimbing and belayed on a huge ledge.
4th Pitch - Head straight for 60 feet 5.8 ish in spots belay on a huge ledge.
5th Pitch -(Sort of) Unrope and head to climbers right, do a slight downclimb and you are on a great big ledge. Walk to the other side of the ledge and set up a belay. Alternatively it looked like you could stay on the nose of the ridge at 5.6-5.8, we followed Jim's line and walked across the ledge.
6th Pitch - Pick a starting point, head straight up and slightly left, run it out and belay wherever is convenient, 5.5.
7th Pitch - Scramble and/or simuclimb the last 80 or so feet to the base of the obvious crux pitch, 5.0.
8th Pitch - Head up the obvious wide crack and traverse right under the roof, the traverse is well protected but make sure to dump in a lot of gear for the second, round the roof and climb the last ten feet to the ledge above, the last part is the trickiest. Be careful of the flake in the wide crack, you need to stand on it but it might come out. 5.8 sustained, 80-100 feet.
Unrope at this point and pick a line to the top. Expect a whole lot of 4th class and 5.0-5.4 unroped climbing. The 5.4 sections are generally short enough to feel comfortable without a rope. You can avoid the headwall by heading right and scrambling up to the summit ridge via at 5.0. We did not feel like roping up again.
Gear - A single set of cams up to a BD #4, full set of nuts, 8 shoulder length draws and 2 long slings will suffice.
I've had my eye on this line for quite awhile. Jim Disney put it up back in 89 (I think) and has never heard of anyone else doing it so it looked like a fun, moderate climb. I'd been trolling for partners for awhile but most people were put off by the prospect of an 18 mile day with 5200 or so vertical feet. I guess the fact that he climb required rock gear which is somewhat heavy also put some people off.
Fortunately for me my friend Tim Hallinan was interested in the route and is a strong climber and hiker. We set out on Tuesday, September 30th, 2008 at 4 AM and headed for Wild Basin. We started up from the railhead around 5:15 or so and walked briskly towards Lion Lake #1. The trail is very moderate and well maintained and we made it to Snowbank Lake in about 3.5 hours. I was happy to see Bighorn sheep in the basin as I've never seen them in this part of the state before. The entire area was gorgeous and I was amazed I'd never hucked back there before, its well worth the hike.
At the lake we realized that it was going to be too cold to start climbing so we hung out for an hour or so before continuing on. Once the sun was higher in the sky we headed over to th base of the route. As a word of caution, there is little to indicate that anyone has been up there in a long time and the boulders are more unstable than I've found in other areas. Huge talus blocks would occasionally shift so proceed cautiously, 8 miles would be a pain in the ass with a broken leg.
The climb itself is well described above so I won't go into great detail. I let time take the harder pitches because I haven't been climbing much. I'd guesss he lead about 600 feet of the climb and I took 400 or so.
We reached the summit somewhere around 2:30 and hung out for 30 minutes or so. To get back to Snowbank Lake would have been a painful slog down steep slopes so we headed to the west along a gentle slop then down a very nice slope to the south. I was somewhat lax in the descent beta so we weren't entirely sure where to go. We basically headed down the ridge and found a steep descent that dropped us off somewhat near Mt. Alice. We stopped briefly to filter a bit of water at some small lake then continued on. Rather than waste time trying to find the Sandbeach Trail we headed east and south until we came to a bunch of talus covering a stream. We followed this stream through dense woods for about a mile before it intersected the Sandbeach Trail. At the trail we stopped for 30 minutes to relax and share a bit of whiskey to make the 7 miles we had left a bit more bearable.
We hiked and jogged the last 7 miles out and made it back to the car right around 7 at night for a sub 14 hour day.
I'd give the route about 2.5 stars but at least another star for the area. It was well worth doing. I'm looking forward to heading back there next year and climbing the Central Ramp on Mt. Alice. I also noticed that Tanima Peak looked like it might have some nice lines on it.
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