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#582652 - 07/12/06 09:39 PM [TR] Slesse SE Divide- partial traverse 7/9/2006
Don_Serl Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/01
Posts: 781
TRs: 33 Photos: 74
Loc: Vancouver,BC,Canada
Climb: Slesse SE Divide-partial traverse

Date of Climb: 7/9/2006

Trip Report:
I've long thought it'd be a superb outing to traverse the entire Slesse divide from SE to N. Rob Nugent and I drove out Friday evening and camped near the start of the trail. We were up at 4:30 and away at 6. 2 1/2 hours saw us to the Propellor cairn, where we lounged for nearly an hour, then we headed south for another hour and a half across snowfields (stay high) to the spur ridge at the SE'ern extent of the massif, where we had third breakfast and snoozed another hour. A cool little nearly-hidden descent ledge took us down into the boulder basin beyond, and in 40 mins more we burst out onto the superb 1750m meadowed pass on the Slesse-Nesakwatch divide. This ought to be a popular hiking destination, as the terrain is superb and the views are awesome.

We were confident of the weather and just sleeping under the stars, so it was with some hilarity that I heard Robert mumble "You've got to be kidding!" when raindrops started to spatter down at 2 am, but the front soon passed. We got away at about 6:30 under decent skies and cruised up the ridgecrest, generally avoiding difficulties on the left. The first significant summit is that which carries Labour Day buttress; Robert wandered off onto the E face to finish, but that looked to me too exposed, so I stuck to the SE ridge, which was enliven with several short steps surmounted by means of a series of wide-ish cracks. We hit the top at 8 am.

Pretty easy scrambling led down the NW face (right of the crest), and a sling invited us to rap the final 20m into the col. The E ridge of the next peak (2126m) looked kinda difficult, but a "John Clarke 4th class" scrambling route unfolded: starting on the left, crossing a slab beneath a bulge onto the right flank, weaving up the easiest (often grassy) line on this NE face to beneath a band of overhangs protecting the summit, then oozing out left again onto the crest of the ridge. Here we pulled out the rope and Robert led a pleasant 20m crack pitch to the top - time for 2nd breakfast!

We dropped easily into the next col, then followed the crest till this steepened, at which point it seemed best to traverse left thru a bit of bush into an open sandy gully in the center of the S face. A slow plod up this brought us to the 2187m summit at about 11:30, and the realization that we ought to call it a day - I was fighting a cold, hacking and wheezing, and travelling much too slowly to make completion of the balance of the crest reasonable that day.

The return was not uneventful: a somewhat tenuous traverse line led around the SW side of 2126 from the col with 2187, then we had to gain a touch of height to get into and out of a steep-sided gully on the S side, but soon enough we were out onto easy snowfields on the SW side of the divide. Soon we were glad indeed we had turned back, cuz half an hour before regaining the bivy steady rain began. The plod out was sunnier, but the wet bush treated us to the full rinse cycle before flushing us out to the truck at supper-time. Beer and burgers awaited in Chilliwack.

Gear Notes:
60m 8.5mm rope; half-dozen slings; 6 nuts; 4 tricams; iceaxe.

Approach Notes:
normal Slesse E-side approach to Propellor cairn, then traverse snowfields SE. find hidden ledge to gain boulder field beyond - marked with cairn.

587853-slessesouthroute2.jpg (1567 downloads)

Edited by Don_Serl (07/12/06 09:54 PM)
Don Serl

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#582653 - 07/13/06 09:51 AM Re: [TR] Slesse SE Divide- partial traverse 7/9/2006
fern Offline

Registered: 08/17/01
Posts: 2469
TRs: 8 Photos: 47
cool. How much more time do you think it would have taken to continue over all the main summits and down the Crossover descent? Looks looooong to me.

That couloir between 2187 and 3rd might still be fitted out with piton+sling raps from when Dru and I came down it a couple summers ago. The top most and bottom most would be on skier's left, the rest are on skiers right. They might have fallen out though ...

#582654 - 07/13/06 10:54 AM Re: [TR] Slesse SE Divide- partial traverse 7/9/2006
jmace Offline

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 2007
TRs: 13 Photos: 89
Surpised you didnt see me and toby comin outta there fri night..saw a fellow in a dark blue truck with a canopy but no Nugent van or a crusier..musta just missed you

looks like fun


#582655 - 07/13/06 06:09 PM Re: [TR] Slesse SE Divide- partial traverse 7/9/2006
Don_Serl Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/01
Posts: 781
TRs: 33 Photos: 74
Loc: Vancouver,BC,Canada
actually jesse, we DID see you. I'm driving a black Pathfinder now - we passed each other low on the road, but in the dark u can't see what kind of vehicle is approaching, and it was only AS you were passing and then in the rear-view mirror that I went "that's sure looks like Jesse's Explorer". by which time it was too late...

sounds like u had a nice day on the enchainment...

p.s. the 2 guys in the pickup were from Oregon, headed for the buttress. 1 of them had climbed the NEB 27 yrs ago - i wonder how their day went?

cheers, don

Edited by Don_Serl (07/13/06 06:35 PM)

#582656 - 07/13/06 06:32 PM Re: [TR] Slesse SE Divide- partial traverse 7/9/2006
Don_Serl Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/01
Posts: 781
TRs: 33 Photos: 74
Loc: Vancouver,BC,Canada
hey fern,

timing is still a bit of a mystery of course. we were 5 hrs to the top of 2187 - i was moving slowly on the slogs uphill, but going OK on the flats, and we soloed stuff on LD and esp 2126 that most people would rope. i'm sure i cld do it in 4 hrs now, maybe 3, pushing, with very brief breaks. but you can't push and avoid breaks all day...

from 2187 the 3rd peak looked pretty easy, altho there are a cpl pinnacles btwn the two that might cause trouble, and there's a slabby step about 2/3 of the way up that'd almost certainly need to be belayed. maybe 1 1/2 or 2 hrs? could be longer if getting down 2187 gets complicated.

there's probably 1 rap (plus scrambling) off the 3rd summit, then the upper part of the SE Pk is roped climbing, either via the SE face (which i climbed years ago when i did the SE butttress) or the rib to its left (which some of the party at that time climbed instead - both are good). call that another 2 hrs.

there's one vertical rap off the SE peak, then scrambling across to the base of the main summit. that's soloable if u find the easiest route (or one belayed pitch); call it another 1 1/2 hrs, maybe 2. then it takes about 2 hrs to descend the regular route off the main summit to the basin (2 raps).

and I have no intention of continuing north - i don't want to climb all day with bivy gear on my back. there are gully-ramp systems that lead back SE from the 'main' basin to below the S side of the 3rd summit. then it's just a matter of traversing back to the bivy in the pass - give it 4 hrs.

looks like about 16 hrs pass-to-pass to me - maybe a bit ambitious for a 2-day weekend...
unless you like headlamp walk-outs...

sure cool terrain!

cheers, don
Don Serl

#582657 - 07/16/06 02:45 PM Re: [TR] Slesse SE Divide- partial traverse 7/9/2006
G-spotter Offline
Sick Spray Bird

Registered: 12/20/01
Posts: 15214
TRs: 57 Photos: 410
Loc: free range
Shaun and I have been discussing going from Labour Day to Pierce Lake trail and out via that. Would need to be while there is still snow around for water though.
Bagging a cougar is one of the most enjoyable sporting feats a young man can accomplish

#1156451 - 08/29/17 03:31 PM Re: [TR] Slesse SE Divide- partial traverse 7/9/2006 [Re: Don_Serl]
wayne Offline

Registered: 05/14/01
Posts: 3601
TRs: 78 Photos: 656
Loc: Seattle!
Nice to see that inspiration can visit all people! We had a go at this traverse last weekend. Alas, we got 4 of 5 of the peaks, made it to the top of Slesse for our version of this insane traverse. I will be doing a report of this very satisfying adventure soon, Thanks Wayne


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