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Routes in Chief's Head Peak

Aquavelva - aka Headdress - aka Chickens on Ice? T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a WI5 M5
Chiefshead Northeast Ramp aka Slant Gully T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c WI2 M1-2 X
Northwest Ledges T PG13
Type: Trad, Mixed, Ice, Alpine
FA: Todd Ritter, Scott Lehman, D Ferguson?, B. Armstrong?, E Helmuth?
Page Views: 1,890 total, 10/month
Shared By: Scott Lehman on Sep 26, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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The route climbs a thin, ephemeral, smear on the lower right portion of the NW Face of Chief's Head. We climbed two moderately angled, poorly protected pitches to the gully system descending from McHenry's. Under thicker conditions it may be possible to join this with a smear formed above the left rising ledge that defines the start of Path of Elders (but still right of Birds of Fire). FA (?) conditions were full on Scottish, with wind driven snow and poorly consolidated rime. The line had apparently been noted earlier by the much-missed Mike Bearzi, but has not to our knowledge been climbed previously. (Note, however, that we both have real jobs, so will not be too disturbed to learn that we are mistaken.) The line was scoped while descending from The Barb via the North Ridge of Spearhead in slippers under wintery conditions a few days earlier- a more difficult proposition than the smear itself.


Tied off stubbies.


Eli Helmuth
Ciales, PR
  5.9+ WI5+ M7 R
Eli Helmuth   Ciales, PR
  5.9+ WI5+ M7 R
"Real jobs" must mean real stinky jobs!
Reading the route description, sounds like you guys were far right from any of the climbing we did in '99 as ours was 6 pitches and still a few to go to the top of the wall, all on steep terrain. May 30, 2012
Eli Helmuth
Ciales, PR
  5.9+ WI5+ M7 R
Eli Helmuth   Ciales, PR
  5.9+ WI5+ M7 R
Topher, Simon, and I found great conditions on a route over here in October of '99 that started on the slabs below the snow ramp, for two pitches of 5.7 and WI5 then continued up and left for four more pitches of mixed up to 5.9 (maybe part of "Much Ado About Nothing"(5.8) with some thick ice in a few of these pitches. We stopped due to darkness, just a pitch or so below the upper ledge systems on this northwest face of Chiefshead.

One of Topher's photos of me on the route was the cover of the Mountain Tools catalog the next winter and I think at least one of him leading the crux pitch was in the CMS catalog that year.

I was calling the route "Chicken's on Ice" due to its proximity to Birds of Fire and Topher was calling it "Headdress"- and both names stuck for us? Since we never reached the summit, I suppose the route is not yet finished, so undeserving of a name other than 'attempt' or 'fun'. May 6, 2010
Dougald, If it is the same line you are speaking of..Topher, Eli Helmuth and Simon Fryer climbed it. They called it the Headdress (aka chickens on ice). Jan 12, 2004
Pretty sure this was climbed by Topher Donahue and (?) a couple of years ago. Oct 19, 2002
city, state
alpinglow   city, state
He boys... hate to shit on your daisies, BUT....

My superhero friend and I (he lead), I believe climbed this around Sept 14ish of this year. Sounds very similiar, and we scoped the BOF and POE ice too, but passed it up as it was pretty early in the season.

We have a proverb up here, "If you scope it, Duncan did too...".

Glad you had a good time up there, and I hope the Scotch was as cold as the Scottish conditions. Oct 12, 2002