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West Chute T 

West Chute 

YDS: 3rd French: 1- Ewbanks: 1 UIAA: I ZA: 1 British: M 1a

Type:  Trad, Alpine, Grade II
Original:  YDS: 3rd French: 1- Ewbanks: 1 UIAA: I ZA: 1 British: M 1a [details]
FA: Tony Watkin, 1997
Page Views: 3,297
Submitted By: fossana on Jul 29, 2010

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looking down the West Chute


The West Chute of Cloudripper sports relatively straightforward route finding with enjoyable climbing on solid granite and nearby options for spicing up the Class 3 rating. The total mileage with the Green Lake descent is ~8.5 miles with ~4300 ft of gain, making it an easy day excursion from South Lake.

According to Secor (The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails, 1999 ed.) the West Chute was climbed by Tony Watkin on June 22, 1997. Given the accessibility of the peak and prominent nature of the gully I strongly suspect the first ascent predates this report.


From the South Lake parking area take the Bishop Pass trail 2.9 miles to the signed Chocolate Lakes trail junction (east/left side of trail). Follow the Chocolate Lakes trail around the north end of Chocolate Peak. Leave the trail at the third (east most) Chocolate Lake and skirt the north shoreline to the reach the talus slopes below Cloudripper, aiming for the base of the obvious right-leaning chute, the base of which is bordered by a band of reddish slabs. A blank-looking slab is visible at the top of the route. Approach mileage is ~4 miles.

The Route
From the notch head up the chute and right, aiming for the summit slabs visible from the base. Various options (from Class 3 to low Class 5) exist for ascending the gully and most of the talus/scree is avoidable by staying on the granite blocks/slabs on either side of the gully. After climbing the upper slabs head left to the summit.

Descend the route, or for variety head north off the summit toward the summit of the unnamed peak to the north. Drop down off the unnamed peak across talus slopes, targeting the west/left side of Green Lake. A trail will be visible on the east slopes above Green Lake heading to the large plateau above the lake; this isn't the direction you want, but it's an easy way to identify the lake. At Green Lake pick up the trail heading west toward Brown Lake. Take the trail to the junction of the 1.0 mile southwesterly connector that heads back to the parking area or alternatively, leave the trail between Brown and Bluff Lakes and contour around cross-country until you hit the parking area. The dam at the end of South Lake (just north of the parking area) is a good landmark.


Class 3
None required

Photos of West Chute Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Jascha spicing up the climbing
Jascha spicing up the climbing
Rock Climbing Photo: My GPS shows a different gully than others.
BETA PHOTO: My GPS shows a different gully than others.
Rock Climbing Photo: looking down the chute about halfway up. The solid...
looking down the chute about halfway up. The solid...
Rock Climbing Photo: overview topo
BETA PHOTO: overview topo
Rock Climbing Photo: detailed topo
BETA PHOTO: detailed topo
Rock Climbing Photo: the final slabs
the final slabs
Rock Climbing Photo: the start
BETA PHOTO: the start
Rock Climbing Photo: the route
BETA PHOTO: the route

Comments on West Chute Add Comment
Show which comments
By Aerili
From: Los Alamos, NM
Jun 11, 2012

As of this writing, there is no actual sign for Bull Lake. But the turn-off is the first major left fork you come to, and you can see the trail winding down and around the east flank of Chocolate Peak.
By fossana
From: leeds, ut
Jul 5, 2013

As of July 2013 there is a newish sign for Chocolate Lakes. Description updated.
By Tyler Wick
From: Bishop, CA
Oct 13, 2014

Fun, casual scramble with a straightforward approach! I felt a little sandbagged on the Green Lake descent though. There is required 2000+ ft of heinous, unconsolidated boulder hopping on the final slope down to Green Lake (pic below). I recommend taking the chute on the way back.

Rock Climbing Photo: boulder field to green lake
boulder field to green lake
By Sean Maher
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Aug 11, 2016
rating: 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b

Mostly a talus slog, but with some fun scrambling near the top and rewarding views of many high sierra peaks. On the descent I started following directions towards Green Lake, but soon realized this would require scrambling UP more talus to get over the un-named peak. I liked descents that go DOWN so I went into the notch at the western edge of the lunar-looking plateau between Cloudripper and the unnamed peak. This took me into the next major chute to the climber's left/north of the W Chute and ended on the talus above the third Chocolate Lake. The talus in this chute was a bit sketchy near the top, but judging by Tyler's complaint it might not be much worse than the Green Lake descent.
By Brad Young
Oct 15, 2016

Um, I hate to be a bearer of bad news, but the description in the main body of text for this climb doesn't describe a route on Cloudripper.

Standing at the east-most Chocolate Lake, reading the description given above, none of it fits the west side of the peak. There's no reason to go around the north side of Chocolate Lake, no "obvious right-leaning chute," and no "reddish slabs." They aren't there on any part of Cloudripper.

Then one glances to the left slightly (where a person would go if they went around the north side of this Chocolate Lake). And there it is. All of it. The description is perfect. But the description is for a chute on the southwest side of an un-named peak, "Peak 13,112." This peak is 3/4 of a mile north-northwest of Cloudripper (and about 1/3 of a mile west-northwest of Peak 13,374, also called "Vagabond Peak" in the Secor guide).

The Peak 13,112 route described in this entry above looks good though. It might provide a fun romp up to the plateau. It could be followed by a second summit, Vagabond Peak.

I'd recommend the chute descent described by Sean Maher. We checked that out from the top, but then did the Green Lake descent to check out that area (new to us). Wow, that's a lot of steep talus going down! At least the steep talus in the chute descent Sean describes leads to a trail and then an easy hike out. Glad we went by Green Lake once, but I wouldn't again.
By fossana
From: leeds, ut
Oct 15, 2016

Brad, you can go around whatever side of the lake you want. I tend to go around the N side. I've circled the area I am referring to as reddish slabs in my beta photo.
Rock Climbing Photo: reddish slabs
reddish slabs

By right-leaning chute refer to the other beta photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: cloudripper right-trending chute
cloudripper right-trending chute

Trust me, this is not 13,112 or Vagabond.
By Brad Young
Oct 16, 2016


Thanks for the quick reply. Your photos show the West Chute of Cloudripper and so that settles it. A photo is worth a thousand words (as they say).

Of course I'll take you at your word that you were describing Cloudripper and not 13,112.

For the sake of discussion though, here are the reasons I said what I said:

1. Naturally any person could walk around either side of Chocolate Lake. Any person could walk circles around the lake too if they wanted. When standing at Chocolate Lake though, walking around the north side to approach Cloudripper adds a few hundred unnecessary yards of mostly talus walking.

2. As shown in your first photo, there isn't any right leaning chute that is obvious from the east-most Chocolate Lake. There are two chutes visible from there, and both appear go up and right and up and left in different places (your second shot does show that the correct chute appears to go up and right when viewed from well west of the east-most Chocolate Lake).

3. What I saw, and what is labeled in your first photo isn't red (not even reddish) and certainly isn't any form of slab. I couldn't identify any such feature near this correct chute.

I don't typically repeat routes like this and so I might not ever get back to the Chocolate Lakes. I don't know whether you repeat routes either. But if you do get back there you might look at the southwest chute on 13,112; you've accidentally described that well, from reddish slabs (south facing, near the start of a chute, small, a slight tint of red, and slabby), to right leaning (it leans right the whole way up), to how obvious it is.

Thanks again,

By Acmesalute76
Jul 22, 2017

I want to point out that when the chute splits, if you head up the one that leads to the summit slabs, it doesn't match the GPS tracks shown above. I also felt there were some mandatory 4th class moves getting into and out of that chute but maybe I just missed the easier way. I took a look down the other chute as I traversed past and it looked loose and steep, no slabs. I also took the low angle gully descent from the saddle between Vagabond and Cloudripper and found it loose but pretty mellow otherwise. I uploaded my GPS track for comparison.

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