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Elevation: 7,124 ft 2,171 m
GPS: 48.6191, -116.6967
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Shared By: David Stephens on Feb 26, 2008 · Updates
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Description Suggest change

Chimney Rock is a unique three sided granite tower that sits atop the Selkirk range in north Idaho's panhandle. It has been called the "lightning rod" of North Idaho.   The West face is the shortest and the climbing on the East face the longest.  The North face sits nicely between the two for length.

The West Face was climbed in 1934 by John Carey, Mart Chamberlain, Fred Theime, and Byron Ward. It was soloed in 1935 by John Boothe walking in from the lake and back out.  Impressive physical feat of climbing and endurance even today.   At 5.3 the Standard route is without a doubt the most repeated route on Chimney.

Jack Miller and Bill Fix of the Spokane Mtneers climbed the Northeast Face in 1959 (5.6, A2).  It was finally freed in 1980 by D.Burns & M. Colby @ 5.10c.   The east face was then climbed on a second attempt in 1961 by Ed Cooper and Dave Hiser @ 5.9 and A2.   The Cooper-Hiser Route was seldom repeated and not freed until 1972 by John Roskelley and Chris Kopczynski.  (Cooper-Hiser 5.9) Fred Beckey and Jerry Fuller in 1968 found the summit by way of the South Nose route 5.7 A2 that eventually went free in 1977 at 5.10b by J Roskelley and Tim Ray of Spokane.

Publication is always a big draw for aspiring climbers.  Both West Face Direct (1968 5. 7 A2 ) on the West Face (freed @ 5.8 ), originally done with some aid and the Cooper- Hiser (1961) (freed @ 5.9)done in a like manner were both eventually free climbed in 1972 just prior to the first published records of Chimney Rock in "Off Belay"  Dec., 1972.

Ron Berger and Thom Nephew (originally Seattle climbers) added Berg's Breeze in 1974 on the southern edge of West Face.  It was actually the other side of the Becky's South Nose route as that crack split the South Nose east to west.   It would be another six years before that standard of climbing was repeated on Chimney Rock.   The reason in part?  Ray Jardine's "friends" that allowed the cleanly fractured, smooth sided parallel crack systems to be climbed.  

Dane Burns, joined by any number of partners, in 1980 added  Fun Roof, NE Face, NE Arete (Eye of the Tiger), Free Friends, Illusions, Yahoody, and Grey Matter (the first 5.11 on Chimney).    Climbers involved in those routes were Will Parks, Tim Ray,  Gary Silver, Chris Kopczynski, Mark Colby, Dave Fulton, Gwain Oka, Hilary Bates, Darcy Droste, Jim Langdon,  Kim Momb, Chuck Hartshorn.  Those routes were seldom repeated and the grades stayed at that level until 1985 when Burns and a few other locals added another group of clean crack climbs on all three sides of Chimney Rock.   The best written historical record of those Chimney Rock climbs are the past summit registers (housed @ the Spokane Mountaineer's Library)  or Randall Green's "Idaho Rock".

1985 saw another jump in grades at Chimney.   Most of it done in traditional style, ground up free climbing with few falls.  Other climbs were done with preplaced protection, eventually bolts and top roping.   It became the joke (and not in a good way) between a few "Chimney locals"; one could find a crack, name it, rate it, place the pro in any manner you were capable of and then try to climb it.  Then get it written into the newest guide book.

The flip side to that was Jay Koopsen from Spokane and Burns as a rope team.  They climbed their lines on site, no pre inspections and few if any falls.   They climbed Youranalysis on the West face and then Kimmie and Tsunami in that manner.  And then went back to do 2nd ascents of many of the 1980 routes together as well along with the few new routes others were putting up. Of the 35 current routes on Chimney Rock, Burns did 14-1st ascents, 13-2nds, and 7-3rds.  The standouts were his and Koopsen's ascent of Tsunami in 1986 and the 25 minute solo of Illusions-Free Friends in Oct of 1987.   And Chimney's first 5.12, UNI,  in 1988 with J. Mattern.  

In 2012 a major rock fall on the South East face dropped the entire South East face onto the talus below.  Grey Stoke, Uni, Magnum Force,  and a few others right up to the Cooper-Hiser fault line are now a part of the rubble field at the base of the East Face.  

It wasn't long before the Cooper-Hiser was climbed again with a much newer 2nd pitch...still climbable at the same 5.9 standard.
The other climbs on the rock both on the NE Face and the West face seem to still be "semi solid" and intact for another generation of climbers to enjoy.
 

Getting There Suggest change

"Climber's Guide to North Idaho & the Cabinet Wilderness" by Thaddeus Laird 2007. This is lacking the long and rich climbing history that North Idaho enjoys. A better guide for Chimney Rock in particualr is Randall Green's "Idaho Rock".    The drive is 10 miles of dirt road and can take up to 50 minutes. At Hunt Creek road turn right, at 4.0 mile mark take the left fork. The last 1/3 mile before the Horton Ridge trailhead can be very rough.

17 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Chimney Rock

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 22
West Face Standard
Trad 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 37
Rappel Chimney
Trad 3 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 5
Scuffin Up
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 13
It Ain't Hay
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 9
Sancho's
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
 6
West Face Direct
Trad 3 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 8
South Nose Exit
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 5
Fun Roof
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 6
Canary Legs
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 7
Cooper-Hiser
Trad 3 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 16
Free Friends
Trad 3 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 4
Illusions
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
West Face Standard W Face/Chimney Rock
 22
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad 3 pitches
Rappel Chimney W Face/Chimney Rock
 37
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 3 pitches
Scuffin Up W Face/Chimney Rock
 5
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
It Ain't Hay W Face/Chimney Rock
 13
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Sancho's W Face/Chimney Rock
 9
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
West Face Direct W Face/Chimney Rock
 6
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13 Trad 3 pitches
South Nose Exit W Face/Chimney Rock
 8
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Fun Roof W Face/Chimney Rock
 5
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Canary Legs E Face/Chimney Rock
 6
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Cooper-Hiser E Face/Chimney Rock
 7
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 3 pitches
Free Friends E Face/Chimney Rock
 16
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad 3 pitches
Illusions E Face/Chimney Rock
 4
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
More Classic Climbs in Chimney Rock »

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