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Dr.Hook

[TR] Mt. Ashlu- South Face 7/4/2004

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Climb: Mt. Ashlu-South Face

 

Date of Climb: 7/4/2004

 

Trip Report:

Background: Jesse Mason and myself had originally attempted the route in July 2002, the day after Mike Layton's trip (we were reading the printout of his TR on the drive up - not inspiring). This experience had made us familiar with the approach and descent so we were aware of what lay before us. In 02 we attempted to do the route in a day from Vancouver but were stopped under the face in super dense cloud and forced to leave.

 

July 2004: Jesse Mason, Jeff Hunt and myself committed to another attempt. We left Vancouver the night of the 3rd after work and drove into the Shortcut Creek. The drive requires a 4W drive high clearance vehicle with a short wheel base - thanks Jesse. We spent the night on the road and left at 6am for the hike in.

 

Approach: We remained on the left side of Shortcut creek until it split and we headed up for Rugged Lake (left side) two hours from car. The weather appeared fine in the morning but was steadily deteriorating into dense fog and intermittent cloud as we reached the lake. It took us an hour to scramble up the faint buttress to the south spur of Ashlu and another hour to cross snow and rock to the south face. With a few rest stops we reached the base of the route at 11:30.

 

The Route: During the clear breaks we were able to find the base of the route. The route follows the line in the guide book photo and is obvious. Two pitches led us into a seeping groove that we followed for another pitch. Climbing was fantastic on solid rock with enough pro. The final two pitches headed left out of the groove and followed broken ground to the top. The final pitch is the crux which consisted of tight overhanging flakes with big holds and minimal gear (10a). We completed the route in five 60m pitches and summited by 4:30, four and a half hours bottom to top.

 

Descent: Summiting in total cloud cover we rested before heading down the West ridge. The guide book shows a descent route that follows a long jagged ridge crest heading SW before scrambling down to the snow. After about 20min of descending we noticed a gully interrupting the ridge that easily descented to the snow. This is a much easier alternative to the descent described in the guide and brought us to the base of the route half and hour after summiting (no shit). From under the south face of Ashlu we dropped into the basin below Porterhouse following a snow gully and morrains (stay way left) and walked through the meadows along the creek back to the road 3 hours.

 

Summary: The trip took us 15 hours car to car. The guide had a few inaccuracies. It is still at least 2 1/2 hours to the base of the route from Rugged lake. The climbing was done in 5 long pitches with a full rack and took us 4 1/2 hours (3 people). The biggest surprise to us was the descent gully which at half an hour to the base from the summit, shaves off 2 hours from the guide book descent time and seemed the obvious choice. The route was fantastic in a beautiful position/area. A worthy trip if you don't mind 10 hours of hiking/bushwacking for 5 of climbing.

 

Toby Froschauer

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Thank God you guys did it!

I ripped that page out of my guidebook. I'm relieved that the approach took so long for you as well. The 1st time in to the lake we were lost in the clouds as well and had no clue if we were even at the right lake! The 2nd time in a broken rib kept us off. Each time provided new lows of human evolutionary bushwacking skills.

Once again, I'm very pysched you guys pulled it off and the route was actually fun! Way to go!

Just curious, why didn't you hike up the right side of the river like was suggested to me after my last aborted attempt? That way sounds much nicer and Jordan Peters flagged it i think. Does that look like a better way to go?

Thanks for the TR, I hope you took photos.

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To be honest I forgot about Jordan's post and didn't even check it out! We stuck to the route we took two years ealier because I was positive it would go. It was a trying day overall.

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Just a note on the road, its in better condition than two years ago, No bush at all, and it was so bad before that i almost rented a chain saw, a fellow from bivouac.com mentioned that Cerise creek road has worse bush and I agree.

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Just a note on the road, its in better condition than two years ago, No bush at all, and it was so bad before that i almost rented a chain saw, a fellow from bivouac.com mentioned that Cerise creek road has worse bush and I agree.

Please qualify. Who cares about bush, how were the h2obars? Passable w. standard non-mod 4hc?

 

I think that is like the first confirmed repeat I have read of for the Serl route thumbs_up.gif Don't think it gets done that much confused.gif

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I have 4 inches of suspension lift and 33" tires on a 2 door explorer sport drove every water bar head on didnt scrape once. The less modified truck you have the better your driving skill must be. I doubt my explorer would have come out unscathed with out the mods. but a jeep or the old rangers and toyota short boxes would probably fair pretty good, theres only a couple really bad ones. i dont think a 4 door land cruiser would do too well.

 

pics will be shortly, work is busy right now.

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work is busy? is that 'cause we're actually getting weather now? yellaf.gif

 

good job thumbs_up.gif

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I think that is like the first confirmed repeat I have read of for the Serl route thumbs_up.gif Don't think it gets done that much confused.gif

 

craig mcgee, as well as climbing the SE buttress route noted in bivouac.com further right (5-6p x 60m, mid 5.10), also repeated the original route and said the rock was fine. the chossy comment came from yet another of craig's ascents, which by mistake mostly followed the broken zone to the left.

 

those whistler boys stay busy!

 

cheers,

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The guide book shows a descent route that follows a long jagged ridge crest heading SW before scrambling down to the snow. After about 20min of descending we noticed a gully interrupting the ridge that easily descented to the snow. This is a much easier alternative to the descent described in the guide and brought us to the base of the route half an hour after summiting (no shit). From under the south face of Ashlu we dropped into the basin below Porterhouse following a snow gully and morrains (stay way left) and walked through the meadows along the creek back to the road 3 hours.

 

Summary: The trip took us 15 hours car to car. The guide had a few inaccuracies. It is still at least 2 1/2 hours to the base of the route from Rugged lake. The climbing was done in 5 long pitches with a full rack and took us 4 1/2 hours (3 people). The biggest surprise to us was the descent gully which at half an hour to the base from the summit, shaves off 2 hours from the guide book descent time and seemed the obvious choice. The route was fantastic in a beautiful position/area. A worthy trip if you don't mind 10 hours of hiking/bushwacking for 5 of climbing.

 

Toby Froschauer

 

toby,

 

good work, man. amazing u guys climbed in 5 pitches what we did in twice that many - long ropes, bigger racks, and higher standards really do bring progress! congrats.

 

to clarify:

 

1. Alpine Select clearly underestimates the approach time. adding the interval times on pg41 gives 2 1/2 to 3 1/4 hrs, so i'm not sure where 2-3hrs came from. i don't recall (and can't easily unearth) McNab and my times, but i do know that i previously was on the summit via rugged lake and the west ridge scramble in 4 1/2 hrs from the road (with light packs).

 

i think the best approach line is a fair way up the hillside above the initial creek.

 

2. i suspect the descent gully line off the W ridge to the glacier basin is mis-marked in A/S, and i'm probably responsible for that. it sounds like you went down a gully right at the base of the steeper section of the ridge, before the "toothy" part - i certainly didn't cross any technical or time-consuming terrain at all, either on the "scramble", or following the S face route.

 

3. i think kevin means 2-3h TOTAL descent time on pg 180, not time back to the base of the route.

 

4. i've walked out on the S side of shortcut creek below the drainage from rugged lake, and recall the travel as perhaps easier than the N side, but it's easier to reverse your approach if you're travelling late by headlmap than it is to "explore" new ground, and McNab and i did the route in october...

 

also, i recall the creek being in a bit of a canyon in some sections, and there remains a bit of a concern about being able to cross it where you'd like to.

 

cheers,

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Above Rugged lake

 

59740888003_IMGP0275_p001_015-med.jpg

 

 

Topping out on the ridge

 

59740888003_IMGP0276_p001_016-med.jpg

 

 

Still along ways away from the face

 

 

59740888003_IMGP0278_p001_018-med.jpg

 

 

Toby arriving at the face

 

 

59740888003_IMGP0280_p001_0201-med.jpg

 

Starting out

 

59740888003_IMGP0282_p001_022-med.jpg

 

 

What happened to the sun

 

 

59740888003_IMGP0283_p001_0231-med.jpg

 

 

The Top

 

 

59740888003_IMGP0287_p001_027-med.jpg

 

 

Finding the easy gulley

 

 

59740888003_IMGP0292_p001_032-med.jpg

 

 

Follow the river home

 

 

59740888003_IMGP0295_p001_035-med.jpg

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