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Travis

Coast range winter climbing

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I'm looking for some moderate snow/ice lines that would go this weekend (Feb 23/24). Day trip'able from Vancouver perfered but not required, suggestions?

Conditions in the North Shore group should be great if the weather holds, so I'm considering the backside of Crown Mt, the gully that's visible in Mclane's Alpine Select, but not described.Has anyone done this in winter? Is it even worth the trip?

Also, Fairly mentions a 3 pitch ice climb up the SE Gully of the West Lion, anyone layed eyes on this? How hard, how likely to be present? Tried the ice up the north side of Harvey last year, mostly climbed on roots and turf, but the second pitch would have been much better if my partner had tools.

I'm not aware of similar climbs elsewhere near by, so by all means enlighten me.

Be nice to have a partner as well, had some cancelations and will most likely be soloing; not by choice.

later...

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that gully on crown avalanches shocked.gif" border="0 N face of harvey is nice right now (so i heard) no rocks or dirt

see w. coast ice for Se gully of Lion beta. 4 hr approach vs 1.5h for harvey n face.

you sound kinda transportation-limited or i would suggest s ridge of welch as good winter line with quick approach.

check out bivouac.com for more info on routes on Crown.

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Thanks for the info on the ice climb, just gotta locate that book now. It became a moot point anyway, snow didn't stop falling until too late Friday so I ended up doing the bottom of Cannabis Wall instead.

Reason for choosing the North Shore wasn't transport, just thought the conditions would be more solid and predictable had the forcast come true. (They're relatively low and the only mountains I can see from home.)

Unfortunately, my transportation options do not include a 4x4 (or skis). So, as for Welch, I'm quite interested in doing a winter climb in that area. I've been up that road (in a friends 4x4) and I don't get the impression that it would go at all in winter. I'm assuming this is the approach you're talking about, which probably means I'm spending the night; is that right?

I've been up to look at the North side of Harvey in the last 10 days and I can confirm that it looked in really good shape from the bottom.

Thanks again,

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go up road to lake, climb ridge, ski down?

should take about 14 hrs. dunno if that involves overnight.

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Nice pic, but I think 'drool' capacity should read 'fill-your-pants' capacity. (ref. bivouac.com for puzzled surfers)

For Welch, I think 14 hrs in winter is a little optimistic. Lack of AT gear and my additional drive time and I'd be bringing bivy gear for sure.

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In good conditions Welch West Face takes 14h return with no skiing, from the Foley Creek bridge (or so it was reported to me) . South Ridge could likely be done in a similar time, or faster if you skiied or snowshoed up the road to Williamson Lake.

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time on any peak in the winter is completely dependant on conditions; it's not very useful to quote a specific number of hours. 14 hours on welch might be reasonable in average conditons; i took 6 1/2 hours in ascent on the 1st winter ascent of the south ridge in '78, but conditions were perfect: had the crampons on almost right from foley lake (no road above the main valley back then). the firm conditions lasted almost to the false summit; only the top 500' or so were softer. it's 6000' from the valley, but 6 1/2 hours is not fast for an altitude gain like that in "good" conditions.

for contrast, 2 friends and i (sharing breaking trail) took 4 hours to climb the top 1400' on the n face of tomyhoi last spring - very relaxing for the two not pounding holes in the snow!

the point? if you're climbing serious stuff in the winter, you're not likely to be out there unless conditions are at least decent, but even for moderate-to-easy routes (like welch or tomyhoi) winter times ought to be accepted with at least a factor of 2X for variability.

and the north shore/howe sound mtns are almost always good choices when the bigger peaks are still too heavily snowed up...

see: http://www.bivouac.com/BlnPg.asp?rq=Pg&BlnId=124

i doubt you'll be climbing welch till after the next thaw (much less the judge, eh dru...)

cheers, don

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quote:

Originally posted by Don Serl:
dru: holy moses! 5,000 feet of R&R anyone?

when do you want to leave?

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The north shore/howe sound has been my winter conditioning/hiking/climbing home for the last two seasons. The snow comes in warm and consolidates fast, the peaks are low with less snow and I can look out my window in the morning to see if the visibility sucks or they've just had a big dump.

So, at least one more foray up there this weekend.

It required a road trip to Burnaby, but I finally got a copy of West Coast Ice. I see a possible link up of easy ice climbes from Thermometer Gully, traverse over to the notch and do the SE Gully of the West Lion. This would get us roped up and climbing 2 hours from the car and we'd have bail out points and variations to try most of the way up.

Questions:

Are we about to be spanked back? Snow should be solid, but I can't predict ice conditions. I think they'll be okay.

Where do these lower climbs top out? Ideally, we'd like to pop up at the tow of the buttress of the W. Lion, but I suspect we'll be well right of that.

Are the lower climbs worth it? Since there's a risk we'll run out of time, should we bail on the early pitches and go straight to the SE Gully?

Oppinions?

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From the top of Thermometer area (which ice lines tend to be somewhat sporadic at this time of year, usually best in January) you will be on a snow slope about 200m below the NORTHWEST BUTTRESS of the W Lion and you are going to have to circumnavigate 180 degrees around the whole damn mountain to get to the SE gully. Up, over, around and down...I would suggest doing one or the other but not both. Or, do thermometer or Marmalade, traverse over to the base of the NE buttress and do that. Take some big hexes or Tri Cams to pound/place into icy cracks and lots of long slings to tie off trees. A few Spectres for frozen moss dont hurt neither (I say this based on climbing it in summer only so take this with a grain of salt)

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quote:

Originally posted by Travis:

It required a road trip to Burnaby, but I finally got a copy of West Coast Ice.

Don, you can buy me a beer as my commission on this sale.

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Tried Welch West Face on Sunday. Left Chilliwack 3:30 AM. Turned around at the spot in Airplane Creek just after sunrise, where you cross the creek to gain the avalanche chute. Lots of evidence of surface slides high up on Welch anf The Still and about 6 inches of unconsolidated over a solid base. south and west facing slopes sliding. NE aspects more stable.

Some neat (unclimbed) ice pillars, high up on the Still. Pix eventually.

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We, on the other hand, slept in and were at what I think was the Thermometer Gully at around 10:30 Saturday. The ice was already dripping. We did one pitch as the sunny side of Harvey Basin started sloughing like crazy and the amount of crap flying down the gully increased, so we bailed. The ice was 'intermittent' to say the least.

Seems to me that a ton of ice forms back here, anyone know of routes other than the ones in W Coast Ice?

There are a number of nice looking continuous lines up ice, snow and rock that would take you to the top of the W. Lion (probably via the NE Buttress). I suspect conditions would prevent it from being safe most years, at least for me.

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