REI Community
Chief's Head Peak
Select Route:
Aquavelva - aka Headdress - aka Chickens on Ice? T 
Chiefshead Northeast Ramp aka Slant Gully T 
Northwest Ledges T 

Aquavelva - aka Headdress - aka Chickens on Ice? 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a WI5 M5

Type:  Trad, Mixed, Ice, Alpine
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a WI5 M5 [details]
FA: Todd Ritter, Scott Lehman, D Ferguson?, B. Armstrong?, E Helmuth?
Season: ephemeral fall smear
Page Views: 1,868
Submitted By: Scott Lehman on Sep 27, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (2)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
BETA PHOTO: Observed en route to Black Lake.


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.

Photos of Aquavelva - aka Headdress - aka Chickens on Ice? Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Is that tiny piece of ice on Chiefshead this route...
BETA PHOTO: Is that tiny piece of ice on Chiefshead this route...

Comments on Aquavelva - aka Headdress - aka Chickens on Ice? Add Comment
Show which comments
By alpinglow
From: city, state
Oct 12, 2002

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.
By Dougald MacDonald
Oct 19, 2002

Pretty sure this was climbed by Topher Donahue and (?) a couple of years ago.
By djcrux
Jan 12, 2004

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).
By Eli Helmuth
From: Ciales, PR
May 6, 2010
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a 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'.
By Eli Helmuth
From: Ciales, PR
May 30, 2012
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a 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.

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About