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layton

Ashlu TR

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Sorry to dissapoint all, but the trip was a bust!

I'm sippin some Black Velvet I grabbed at the Duty Free, so this should prove interesting.

 

There I was, hanging in dead air, feet dangling in space above a 80 degree slabby drainage, runout unknown holding onto a shruby branch, desperately trying to swing apelike to another lower branch. Misery. Pure and undiluted.

 

My 1st real attempt, having drivin up to the avy slide months ago. Climzalot and Mike K were in the truck. Climzalot was behind the seat, head bashing into the glass from the waterbars. I counted 53 signifacant waterbars during the 4X section!!!

 

Here's the driving beta.... HWY 99 N, left on Squamish Valley road, stay left. Follow McLane's guide book direction. Road turns to gravel, hang a left onto bridge across river. Continue up Ashulu main into canyon. Hang a right a few miles into the canyon. It goes down, past a little quarry, and across a bridge. Don't go up, gated mine, and access to Mt. Jimmy Jimmy (my fav. mtn).

Past bridge stay left. Take a left off what looks like the main road onto an obscure road. This is still the main road!!! It's the 1st left. Don't go uphill. The river should be on your left! Keep it there, close to your car. Follow this for a while.

This is the start of the Vehicular Bushwack!!! Seriously thick schwackin' on a road for a long ass time. The road makes a fork. Go right, uphill. The downhill road should peter out. END OF 2WD. Major waterbar country ahead.

We had a black bear lope ahead of my truck for a couple kilo.

Now, the road will go straight, or turn sharply uphill and switchback below a rockscar. Go straight. Not much longer now. Stop at a scary log and dirt bridge that cuts across ye old river of death. This is shortcut creek. Do not go further. Park and puke.

 

My biggest advice from here is bring a good topo map of the area.

 

The info from here is in serious question...

 

There is a tiny tiny cairn above a little cliff. Go up the cliff and start some hard core bushwacking. A small ice-tool proves useful here. If you find my Nike hat, let me know. Stay on the left side of the creek and go up for a while. According to McLane and a map I saw a fork off the main river splits off left. We followed it. It turns into a nice waterfall, we climbed up the ridge into open areas and came to an ice-encrusted lake below a very steep alpine bowl.

This SHOULD be rugged lake. Fuck if it is or not?

 

Now from the lake, your're supposed to get on a "steepening hillside" onto the ridge to the right. We had to go back down stream from the lake a few yards to find a feasible way onto the ridge. Sketchy loose rocks and slippery heather turned into mid-fifth verticle bushwacking. Monkey and muscle up. Climb sketchy wet mossy steep loose rock and bushwack a lot more.

 

Now you are fucked.

 

Acording to the guidebook this ridge should be somewhat promenent a maybe even a bit jagged. No such luck. Verticle choss and shrub continued on into the mist, and we couldn't bring ourselves to go up it. Nothing in the topography matched any photo or map, or description. Fucked.

Down and to our right many many feet down lay the main channel of the swift creek. above lay massive amounts of snow and glacial terrain. Our ridge, and our mountain were nowhere to be seen. It was one of the few times where topography totally contradicted everything, even though everythign before hand seemed to fit the pieces.

We decided that the minimal approach beta would probably fit anywhere in the mountains. Follow a stream to an alpine lake. shit, we could do that anywhere. Were we playing the right cards for the wrong game?

 

Well I'll never know. The indignity and humiliatory of the approach and descent to come will make me take an indellible marked to the Ashlu pages of the guide.

 

The desent was unmentionably awful. Swinging from tree to tree down the other side of the ridge to the main channel was a humbling, scary, life-altering bushwack. No humans had been were we had gone. Gorrilas don't degrade themselves like we did getting off the ridge.

 

Then the mosquitos...dear god! One mustn't slow their progess lest these satan spawn catch up. One slow step and you are fuckin' covered!

 

There was soem flagging tape on the right side of the main channel, who knows what that's all about? Totally off from Mclane's guide, and topo's. Must be for some much more devilish purpose. I did a few face plants into the marshes, and mangaged to degrade the entire species by beating through bushes back to the car.

 

FYI there was some flaggin tape on the approach we took, and it took 1.5 hours to get to the "lake" whatever lake it may have been in whatever mtn range we were in. God only knows where we were, it was definitely the most random spot I've wound up in.

 

GO GET IT!

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Too bad, I think a number of us were waiting to see a repeat there! If you do ever decide to go back, the right (east) side of the creek is probably much better; I remember very little bush at all (comparable to BC norms). An approach to the south face via the east ridge route sounds to be a good option. Follow creek east to huge basin below Porterhouse, up right side of waterfall, then up scree rib on the SW side of the glacier. Quite straightforward, I cairned the route. Yes, a topo always helps.

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So go up the main channel of Swift Creek (on the right side) all the way to below the glacier of the S.Face of Ashulu, and head up?

 

It would've helped if every mountain or visible thing for that matter wasn't obsured by fog too.

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803_Ashlu.jpg

route for east ridge typically follows the right hand red line. To access s face, contour across snowslopes (not as steep as it looks).

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Last year we bushwacked in, got lost in thick clouds, climbed the prominent gendarme on the west ridge in the photo above, rappelled of in the pouring rain and bushwacked/slid back down in a torrential downpour.

 

The Mclane book certainly underestimates the time it would take to get in and out of there. I think our biggest mistake was underestimating the distances you have to cover in the alpine area. That face is a long way from the ridge you cross!

 

All in all a beautiful area. I don't remember the bushwacking being that bad!

 

Oh. And the rock was pretty nice....

 

[ 07-15-2002, 10:06 AM: Message edited by: dberdinka ]

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Mike: Where did we go wrong? Once again everything noted here and the picture are so far from what we saw and experienced. So? What the hell did we do wrong, where the hell were we and where should we have been. To the Chehalis range is what I say. Maybe some other time for that mountain.

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Dear climbing community...

...I think it should be noted that this is the 1st time Climzalot has EVER swore! This alone should attest to the heinousness of our attempt.

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