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scot'teryx

XCountry from Source Lake to Melakwa Pass Question

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Is it thesible?

I have done it in the winter, but never been up there in the summer.

 

Can one go up the Snow Lake Trail, up the hill from the Source Lake junction and up into chair peak basin past the thumbtack, and then over the NE buttress and up to the pass? just curious...............

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You can certainly get from the source lake trail to the NE buttress of Chair peak, if you don't mind some bushwhacking and tunnelling under trees. I haven't done the descent from Chair to Melakwa, but it's my impression that it's feasible if you don't mind crappy rock. I'd bring a rope for rapelling.

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I know there is a goat trail that goes from melakwa pass down to the upper lakes, I just dont want to have to go down to gem lake from snow lake and back up to the pass. thought it would be more direct like the winter route, wasn't too sure of the bushwhack rating though....

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I just looked at the illustration on p. 161 of the new edition of the brown CAG, and it appears that now you can traverse directly from Chair to the Tooth! yelrotflmao.gif

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If you are trying to get to Melakwa lakes from source lake, just go over Pineapple Pass (S. of Da Toof) and drop down the west side to the Denny Creek Trail at Hemlock Pass. Should be pretty easy and not too much shwackin'.

 

 

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When I went up Chair Peak last April and descended the 3rd class route on the SW side, it appeared that there were open slopes all the way to the valley. I didn't go all the way down that way, but instead came back to Chair Peak basin via the southernmost saddle. In your case you would go in the other direction. However, Pineapple Pass is probably a safer bet.

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This is part of the Mountain Ascent Challenege, and one of the requirements is to tag Melakwa Pass, and then hit Granite. I thought it would be quicker to go up via Chair Peak Basin instead of the roundabout way down tosnow lake and then up to gem and then the pass.

 

I bet it's a bushwhack then huh?

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I wouldn't go from Source Lake unless you have to. It's not too bad to the thumbtack from what I remember but there was a lot of tree tunneling.

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If your destination is the pass itself:

From Source Lake, head up to the Great Scott bowl. Once you enter the bowl trend hard right and traverse below Bryant Peak on the north side.

Cross over the low point between Bryant and Chair, drop down heading north to meet the climbers path just below the pass.

If you are heading south from the pass, this is, of course a silly way to do it.

I have always wondered if you can reach it by traversing under the N face of Chair Peak. Then over the NW shoulder at it's high point and down to the pass.

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the long way around just might be quicker as the gradient is much easier and the terrain is pretty clear right up to melakwa pass. a sustainable running pace for sure. Me and some buddies skied from the denny creek trailhead to alpental via this route in July 1, 2001 and found excellent open terrain all the way. work climbers right of the waterfall coming out of melawka lake and you arrive on some benches 300 vert below melawka. I'm not sure you can maneuver to granite via the pass unless you drop back to bend around Kaleetnan, maybe the descent from melawka/kaleetnan is a good way to go, i seem to think it would run for some odd reason...

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Ahhh yes........remember the day Mt. St. Helens blew, my GF and I hiked across Snow Lake, up and over Melakwa Pass and out to Denny Creek. Then I hiked up and got the car at Alpental. I heard the mt. blow and thought it was a snowslide somewhere. They were closing the pass cuz of the ash which we thought was smoke...........

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actually, i think i mean the lake on the north side of melawka pass cantfocus.gifthat drains north, sorry

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Notes from a walk I took up there in Summer 1994, which was basically a circumnavigation of the Chair...

 

1st I gained (via Source lake) the long E ridge/shoulder of Chair peak. I hiked the shoulder and eventually traversed under the N face of Chair to a smallish notch/pass on the N side of the peak. From here, a couple of rappels took me to easier ground on the W side of Chair. I traversed south along boulder fields (dropping down to the trail which connects Melakwa lake and Melakwa pass would have been easier, I think), until I reached a gentle SW spur coming off of the S end of the Chair massif. (This spur drops down to just E of Lower Melakwa Lake.) I scrambled this ridge and eventually gained the pass just N of Bryant peak. From here I descend basically straight E towards Source lake, which was a stupid move. Much of the descent was vertical bushwacking and rappelling through dense undergrowth. Perhaps heading N along the gentler slopes on the E of the Chair massif would have been easier. I eventually hit easier ground and the climber's trail which is used to access the Tooth, and from there, back to the car.

 

So yes, it's quite possible, and not a bad outing. A rope does help, as I recall. The east shoulder and traverse along the N side of chair (nice benches, great views) was a lot nicer than the endless talus on the west side.

 

 

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the trip via Gem Lake was not that bad, just hard to find some of the trails in the dark for some reason

 

Next time I'll use my open eye

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Chair peak, though beautiful, is choss so wear a helmet and be careful.

 

 

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