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dkemp

Spickard

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Considering Mt Spickard via Depot Creek in mid-June. Looks like the north face glacier is straightforward, but worried about rocky, scrambly area at the top.

Any info would be appreciated.

 

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Hi,

I've done the Silver Lake Glacier route and approached it by Depot Creek, in 1999, so here's some beta:

First of all, Beckey's guide says the Depot Creek road is reached 30 miles along the Chilliwack Lake Road. No. It is like 33 miles. My low clearance car was then only able to get about 3/4 mile up the road before it is badly washed out. If you have a high clearance vehicle you can make it maybe another mile.

Like the description says, hike the road and then take the first left fork in it (which is about where you could drive with a high clearance vehicle). However, it doesn't mention another fork which is reached in about 1/2 mile more. Do NOT take the right fork like we did, following what we thought was "intuition" as it stays in the valley bottom. the resulting bushwhacking/stinging nettle/waist deep water/muck/bug infested/swamp wading ass-kicking epic that ensued is something that should never be repeated by anyone in the history of climbing, but I'm sure it will again.

Anyway, take the left fork, which heads 90 degrees left, straight up the hill, then soon reaches a T intersection and old road grade. Turn right and you are on route. In about a mile the road becomes a trail and you leave the logging slash and enter the United States at an obelisk monument. The next 3 miles of trail are a bit vague in places and with lots of downed windfall, but followable, just pay attention.

The waterfall at the end of the canyon is unforgettable! We were there in July of that record snow season, and crossing the base of it was difficult and intimidating, requiring some scrambling over soaking wet rocks, with some exposure, with the base of the falls rampaging right in front of you! There is a fixed line or two. exit left into the brush and talus as soon as you can. just before the waterfall be sure to follow the ribbons in the brush to find the best way through.

The rest of the approach is straightforward.

The col north of Spickard is a spectacular bivi with tremendous views. The glacier is easy climbing but be wary of soft snow avalanches on warm days.

The rock scrambling at the top is nothing to worry about. take a short, 9 mm rope and a couple small to medium pieces of gear. We hit the summit ridge (east ridge) about 400 feet shy of the top (after a tricky bergschrund crossing at the top of the glacier- the snow was deep mushy and awful). The climbing on the ridgecrest was on often very loose and shattered tiles of rock and rather exposed, but with protectable cracks available, all of which combined justified roping up, but the climbing is easy- 4th class at the hardest. It can be downclimbed and running belayed without a problem. the views again are as good as they get.

Have a great trip.

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I did this route early season (memorial day weekend) a couple of years back. When we did it the ridge was mostly snow with scarry cornices. A few rocks stuck out that we slung for pro (take some doubles). We tread a fine line along the ridge between the cornices and the steep snow face above the bergshrund, until we were able to cross over to the south(?) side and finish via an easy one rope length scramble to the top. You may find similar conditions given the time of year you are climbing it. Hope this helps.

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Lookin' at the maps whilst knockin' back espressos this morning...

The route up from the lake at 5700 to the col at 7400 is a SW facing gully. There are steep S and SW facing slopes leading all the way up to Point 8203.

Hmmm.... mid-June... but low snowyear...

I'm not exactly a beginner but I dont have confidence in my avalanche avoidance skills. Then again, I'm still alive after seven years of mountaineering. But I fear I have turned around more than one climb due to avalanche hazard when none existed.

I'm not asking anyone to sign off on my outing. However, any input would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Just trying to stay alive,

Dox

 

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Doxey-

The gully is 30-40 degrees. At that time of year a good strategy, if you are concerned about the snow, would be to camp in the trees atop the waterfall in the basin below Redoubt, then climb the gully early in the AM. It doesn't get sun until mid morning and should only take you 1-2 hours to climb.

And hey, don't be so hard on yourself- erring on the side of caution, especially with avalanches, will make an old climber out of you someday.

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I was up there last july. we did the last bit to the top via the north ridge(or R edge of glacier) as access to the east ridge was blocked by a schrund. almost no rock scrambling at all but the snow was steep 45-50? for a bit. all depends on the freezing level, clear night, and how early you start if you have a mush avy problem. greta place. trial recently cleared of blowdowns. ditto on W's road description.

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Kevin McLane's "SW BC Select" alpine guide will be out in about 3 weeks with up-to-date road access beta for Depot Creek. Or you can check www.bivouac.com for Depot Creek/ Mount Redoubt access.

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I've been up Depot Creek three times and have found the access very fun with a high clearance vehicle. If you try to guess which road to take, it becomes very confusing. But much like "W" said, if you just keep going left you will have no problem.

The only difference I have done compared to what "W" stated is that instead of taking that road/trail that "heads up 90 degrees left, straight up the hill, then soon reaches a T intersection and old road grade", I just stayed left the whole time and ended up on the grade that you come up to and turn right on.

Sound confusing? It really isn't, it just looks it when you get there. The only rule to the whole thing is getting on the Depot Creek road from the main road (Chilliwack Lake Road). There are two roads you come across just before the Chilliwack Lake Road crosses Depot Creek. The one closes to Depot Creek ends very quickly, the first one above Depot Creek is the correct one and will become rougher the farther you drive it. I have been able to drive all the way to the last left hand turn (fork in the road)and park. The last fork in the road is VERY hard to see because it is so washed out and overgrown. Keep an open mind and your eyes sharp and you will see it. This is where I have always parked and hike from (up the washed out overgrown trail). You will soon come across the "T intersection", but you are already on the road grade and you continue on.

As far as the climb of Spickard. It is fairly straightforward. I was their one moderate snow year on 4th of July. Avalanche conditions were not a concern. The weather had been nice and stabilized the snow. Since it was hot while I was there, there was some blocks here and there sliding off of smooth rock faces above Silver Lake. But that was a couple of days prior to my visit. A rope is needed for the glacier and the moderate scrambling near the top. We ended up doing the climb in a whiteout one year and found it fairly easy with 20-30yd visibility.

For all intense purpose, the only trouble you may run into is finding the climbers trail and figuring out how to get up the alongside the 900' waterfall at the end of Depot Creek. The trick to that is getting up in front of it as close as you can (literally as close as you can) and then heading up and left into the brush and up and up and up....

This place will absolutely blow your mind away. Not to many places like it in the Cascades.

Tod

[This message has been edited by Tod (edited 05-15-2001).]

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