Ascent of Chennek Peak on 2019-02-28

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Richard Mclellan -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Date:Thursday, February 28, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Chennek Peak
    Elevation:13278 ft / 4047 m

Ascent Trip Report

The obvious low-prominence summits around Chennek base camp, the first a short easy hike, the other two a little more serious (approx 400m ascent, 5km) and with possible security issues - guide/scout advisable. (Armed scout is mandatory when trekking in the Simien NP, and excellent value).

After our morning hike from Arquaziye (see Silki TR), we wander across the road and up the small nearby hill (GPS 3647m P20 although seems more prominent) with its bench and spectacular clifftop viewpoint, good view of lammergeier and the ubiquitous thick billed raven. Richard and I then head for the two good looking but low prominence (P30m) summits south of camp. Note it's not recommended to wander around unguided here, supposedly due to bandits; we encounter some locals on the ridge but they  are more or less friendly.

Crossing stream which is camp water supply (disused concrete header tank) we climb easy slopes of grass, giant lobelia and tree heather, initially up spur then traversing up R then back L to col, a few short easy scrambles. Afternoon rain arrives late today, catching us on top at 5pm, a bit cold and windy. We GPS the col (GPS N13.24900° E38.19982°, 4013m) and summit (GPS N13.24914° E38.19826°, 4047m, outcrop, P34m), not high confidence and as usual the OpenStreetMap contours undersell the summits, both apparently >P30.

We descend west, generally keeping to crest but a few rock steps involve detours and in one case a short YDS4 downclimb (probably avoidable). Avoiding whole ridge on its S side might be YDS2 all the way - but less interesting. Level col, rain stopped, then up the next little peak with its impressive overhanging N face. 3 short scrambles on crest, nothing more than YDS3 and little exposure. Nice summit. 3890m P48 GPS. Back to col where we encounter a man and presumably his son, we heard shouting earlier. Seem friendly, young lad offers to guide us but we have our route plan. We disappear into the steep tree heather forest, a few shouts and a couple of stones follow us and we hear voices behind us for a while but they'll not want to approach the camp with its guards and soon we have the descent to ourselves, passing caves, crossing shallow ravine then easy slopes lead back into camp, 1830, before dark, 3hr round trip, in good time for dinner which we're told is francolin, like scrawny chicken.

Next morning pack up camp, seedeaters wattled ibis lammergeier, baboons move in to clear scraps of food, we are driven back to Gondar, dirt road busy with trucks, buses, tuk-tuks, tourist 4x4s, roadside a chaos of vegetation, red sorrel bushes, hypericum bushes, clematis, rose, alarmingly robust  globe thistle with 4 inch flower heads. 2hrs to park gate losing only 500m, extensive dissected plateau. 1200 lunch at Debark, Park Hotel cafe again. Donkeys carrying sacks of grain for market. Police road block, first we've seen, waved through. then Saturday fly to Addis for our homeward flights. Our 2 week trip visiting 5 ultra prominent summits has gone well, noting that several of the peaks were unknown to our guide Meles,

Chennek peaks photos
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1401 ft / 427 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country
    Weather:Raining, Cool, Windy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1401 ft / 427 m
    Distance:3.1 mi / 5 km
    Start Trailhead:11877 ft / 3620 m
Descent Statistics

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