Seasonal Raptor Closures March 1-July 31 or until further notice:
When closed, the closures include the named rock formations and the areas surrounding the base of the formation. This includes all climbing routes, outcroppings, cliffs, faces, ascent and descent routes, and climber's access trails to the formation.
Areas not listed are presumed to be open. These closures will be lifted or extended as conditions dictate.
Expect standard chimney fare with numerous cracks for protection. This is not cruiser 5.7, but what else would you expect on the Owls?!
The chimney starts out wide and comfy, but after a small ledge sporting a pile of poop, it squeezes down very quickly. Thrash past some chockstones. I ended up having to take off my helmet for a few moves, because it was so tight. You have to get out of the chimney a bit here to pass the tightest spot, but there is an excellent hand crack on the right wall for protection. I thought this was the crux.
After a short reprieve, the chimney tightens again near the top. There is a well-attached flake on the right that takes finger-sized pro, but the bottom portion of it is alarmingly thin and perhaps not so reliable, so be careful.
We found a hodgepodge anchor about 10 feet above the chimney, consisting of a nut and a mess of cordelette and webbing. I'm not sure how much one can count on this being here. If it's gone, leave your own anchor material or do another pitch to top out on The Owls (like the second pitch of East Ridge).
Hike the Gem Lake Trail for about a quarter mile, and take the approach trail breaking off left to Hen and Chickens. The route starts above the Hen and Chickens Buttress, a short distance right of the East Owl's SE corner and the more popular East Ridge route. Look for a major right-leaning chimney.
This is a very well-protected chimney, mostly via hand and finger-sized gear. I did place #4 and #5 BD cams, but they weren't critical, and most should be happy enough without them. I brought a #6 and found no use for it.