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Dru

[TR] Slesse Group - Labour Day Summit - East Pillar & Gendarme 7/17/2005

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Climb: Slesse Group - Labour Day Summit -East Pillar & Gendarme

 

Date of Climb: 7/17/2005

 

Trip Report:

This was supposed to be an overnighter but my climbing partner, who is also a firefighter auxiliary, got 2 callouts on Saturday afternoon. Thus we turned it into a long, long daytrip.

 

sunday 6AM I met Shaun at the vedder bridge. drove out to nesakwatch creek

 

parked shauns truck at 7am and started hiking. the new trail to slesse memorial is nice al;beit a bit muddy. once it joins the old trail, significant bush has been cleared to slesse memorial making for a fast hike. 1.5 hrs from the car

 

from slesse memorial to the road end, NO bush has been cleared. there was a lot of dew on the jungle so we had to stop twice to empty water out of boots, wring out socks and steam a bit in the sun. from road end to prop cairn the trail is well marked and in good shape. about 2.5 hrs from the car

 

from propellor cairn we started traversing south across the moraines and talus. our destination was Labour Day Summit, the SE most of the Slesse Group peaks. you get a good view of this from rexford. the Labour Day Buttress (north buttress) was climbed in the 70s and a route on the E face, was done in 2003 but we knew that there was still steep granite left unclimbed.

 

we traversed to the base of the NE face and scrambled a few hundred meters to a snow gully leading up to the col between the east pillar, and a major gendarme. we were able to avoid most of the snow via slab climbing to its right, mostly class 4 with a few 5.7 moves. got forced onto the snow at the top, which was a bit worrisome as shaun just had stiff boots whereas i had floppy boots and had a 3rd tool. shaun kicked good steps and i followed with the tool out on some 45 degree neve. it was soft enough to kick steps but hard enough to be stable, so we made out OK. the last bit up to the col was a muddy, rotten basalt dyke that made for though provoking scrambling.

 

from the col, we first scrambled up the gendarme, although fearsome from most aspects the back side went at a pleasant class 3-4. however the final summit was a 4m high block, overhanging on 3 sides, with 200m drops below. shaun soloed the 5.7 moves to the summit while i took pictures; i was feeling too cooked to go up there myself.

 

back down in the col it was very hot and we were dismotivated. to go up would be difficult but to go back down would also be a sufferfest. we napped for an hour or so and finally started climbing around 2 pm once the face was fully shaded. shaun picked out a good looking but steep and hard line going almost directly up from the col. i volunteered to let him lead it all as i was feeling rather weak and worked over already. the pitches went at 30m 5.7 (soloed), 30m 5.10a, 45m 5.10d, 60m 5.10b and 50m 5.4 to the summit. amazing climbing up finger, hand, and knee sized cracks and then a loose chimney. the 10d pitch was one of the best alpine pitches i have climbed, shaun did a really good job on lead. i was forced to pull on a few pieces while seconding.

 

by the time we got to the summit it was 6 pm. great views in all directions especially with slesse looming to the NW, an unusual view of "The Fang".

 

to descend we scrambled down the south face of labour day peak and then traversed south until we could downclimb a ramp into the second cirque SE of Labour Day. then we had to climb through a ridge notch into the SE cirque, and finally could begin the long traverse back to the Prop Cairn over snow, moraine and boulders. we had been out of food since the summit, but took advantage of the many meltwater streams to stay hydrated.

 

back to Prop Cairn at 9 PM, great alpenglow from the sunset on rexford etc. made it to slesse memorial just after 10, headlamps on, staggering by now. neither headlamp had a new battery so the light was rather faint but we made it to the car by 11:25 PM and I was home in da Wack by 12: 30. I nearly fell asleep while drinking the victory beer, and arrived late for work today.

 

Pics to come, and we did not yet come up with a name for our new route.

 

 

Gear Notes:

One set of wires

Full set of cams (purple TCU to #4 Camalot), with doubles from yellow TCU to blue Camalot. Didn't have a #5 camalot but could have used it for the 5", 5m long offwidth off the belay on the 2nd pitch. no pins.

 

Approach Notes:

Nesakwatch Cr road 2wd/3km, 4wd/6km. Bring rain pants or something for dew soaked bush.

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Holy smokes. That's a big rack! Sounds like a fun climb. How did the Labour Day Buttress look?

Edited by peas

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Labour Day Buttress itself looks fun, but appears to have shrubbery in places.

 

but then WTF so does the whole Slesse Group! hahaha.gif

Edited by Dru

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We had 6 Tricams too, but Shaun left them at the belay for the 10d pitch, then wanted them after he ran out of finger and hand sized cams, then none of the other pitches needed them... the double set of finger to hand sized cams is probably plenty.

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cool trip Dru! i was accross the valley from you that day. was keenly observing LDB. did you park at the old TH for slesse? i just saw a green pick-up obnoxiously barring access to N.fsr; and a VW van from Montana parked waaay back at the first waterbar.

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we saw that vw van from montana, a jacked up campervan with bc plates, and then shaun's black truck was parked at the slesse trailhead.

 

postscript: he hid his keys in a potato chip bag and tossed them in the back of his truck, which was full of yard clippings and other garbage. when we came down the keys were hanging from the truck door lock. WTF? why would someone search through the trash in truck just to find keys then not do anything with them but leave them hanging in the door?

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hmmm, i encountered 3 "characters" on an atv in that vicinity, and became worried about my parked vehicle. obviously i needn't have. but i still insist it was their green truck!

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This was a new route.

 

The central buttress is Labour Day Buttress, FA Culbert Starr & Douglas early 1970's, sandbag 5.4, modern 5.8

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I think that route was over in a filthy gully to the left of the pillar - it was the only 5.9 looking terrain we could see. I don't think the yellow line is accurately drawn either in the bottom portion?

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Actually reviewing the description of the Spagnut/Laing I realize now that it wasn't where i thought it was. The distinctive "leaning pillar" and double overhanging cracks on that climb's crux second pitch, are a good landmark. Our first belay is shared, S/L climbs in from the left and we accessed the belay from the right. The hand cracks on p2 S/L were soaking wet and slimy, so we traversed left and ended up climbing a thin groove about 20m left of the S/L crux. Then our crux pitch was only about 10m left of the S/L third pitch, which must have been in the chockstone gully to our right. The routes cross higher up and we finished right of the S/L.

 

I guess that means the moss gully line to the left of our route was still unclimbed.

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357eastpillar.JPG

 

Our route is pretty much on the left skyline the whole way,moves right near the top of what is visible. S/L goes up the first major RF shadowed corner right of the left skyline. You can see the double hand crack just left of the obvious cracked block in the left foreground.

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Feggin Shweet! Is the rest of the rock untouched?

PRP- Pure Rock Porn

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Ah, glad you did a little homework before claiming a first ascent for shaun!

 

on the subject of climbing grades, my route was conservative @ 5.9. maybe the 5.10 climbing grade on your route can reasonably applied to the former route. what the heck -- i might just jackup the grade of the spagnut-lang route for posterity sake.

 

aside from any misgivings that i might have about your fact-finding ability -- you were obviously confused about route details before correcting yourself (sic). Still, It's pretty cool to hear someone repeating my routes though.

 

 

 

 

Edited by spagetti

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so spaget,

bcalpinism.ca seems to have disappeared (what happened?), but does dru have your line (the dbl cracks, then the shaded RF corner) correct in his photo description?

cheers,

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