Trip: Slesse, BC, Canada - NE Buttress - *Descent update* Trip Date: 08/07/2020 Trip Report:
Some bivis are better than others! August 2019
A trusty Subaru Forrester got us into the Memorial Trail where we bivied before the long day ahead. While climbing the NE Buttress, Slesse shed ice from a hidden hanging pocket glacier above the approach slabs, narrowly missing a party behind us. Slesse rumbled as rock fell to the right of the North Rib, the landslide that had started the day before from Stumpy frequently hurled new debris down its ever widening path, ruining the crossover descent. The climbing was dirty and had several loose blocks in places which made it a bit nerve wracking to have the party below, but lent us an amazing experience in one of the most beautiful and seemingly remote alpine settings.
We had snow pockets on route and found a great, albeit mini, bivi ledge two pitches from the summit. We mixed up the bypass and left it early and climbed some hard 5.9+ to the base of the crux pitch! Glad Jun was a bit of a crux thief really, as my pack was a bit heavy for optimum performance. We started the approach in the dark and climbed all day until darkness made it impossible. On the bivi ledge the rumblings from stumpy, realization we would runout of food soon, and uncertainty of how the crossover descent would go made me want to descend down the Slesse Creek drainage. Janet and Topher offered to drive out from east Vancouver, save our bacon and shuttle us, sweet, problem solved!
We topped out early the next morning, and rapped the face from just north west of the summit notch (scramble down to first rap, or set a rap off summit notch), something like 8 raps with a single 70m landed us at the descent trail, quite good really but not sure how it compares to the other descent. We hiked out to the ridge but got sucked down a trail on skiers right of the ridge and had to do some nasty exposed down climbing, near rib busting rappels, and steep sidling on grassy vegetation that had one tumbling; then found the ridge looked better from below as the party behind us confirmed!
All 3 parties on route decided to bypass the crossover descent as the land slide started right at the base of Stumpy's cliff face taking out the trail, at sunrise the one side of the landslide cast a shadow.. A double rack from BD .2 to #2, a #3 and #4 were indispensable, also a hiking stick, micro bivi sac, tarp, warm layers and 3 liters of water each, but we could have swapped out the ice axe and crampons for a light weight sleeping bag. Our rap from the summit is in the image below.
*It is possible the crossover descent could go still if someone put in some work to make a way below stumpy's cliff face, like trail and some bolts in the rock on the traverse, but really no idea. Or possibly before Stumpy there are some low angle slabs with trees which may need a bolted rap line, or perhaps a climb over stumpy would go, it's a bit of an adventure if you try and descend the crossover now, and could be a very humbling waterless experience unless there are still snow patches present. Actually a new route or descent was just put in by a friend Brent Nixon from Vancouver Mountain Guides called Crack of Noon Club, details are on Mountain Project, Happy Climbing...
doubles BD .2- #2, one #3 and one #4 Approach Notes:
Memorial Trail, 4x4 or Subaru Forester.