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[TR] Cheam Peak - Big NW couloir thingy attempt #2 (solo) 1/19/2008


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Trip: Cheam Peak - Big NW couloir thingy attempt #2 (solo)


Date: 1/19/2008


Trip Report:

The avy conditions were good and I thought it was supposed to clear up today so I got my Dad to drop me off at the popkum Exit to try and solo the big 5,000 ft couloir on the NW side of cheam. I had way to much gear because my parents said that if was gonna try to climb this thing I had to bring a rope and harness and pins and..... ect. I think the idea was that if I got into trouble I could retreat or self belay.

So I arrived at the foot of the mountain at 7:00 and started hiking up the gully, I hit the avy debris in the gully after about 10 minutes and when I hit the first big cliff in the gully I headed left into the forest and hiked around it. I moved into the gully again about 20 ft above the cliff and started climbing the icy gully, after rounding the first corner I could see 3 vertical cliff bands in the gully and instead of dry-tooling them I swam through the ugly forest directly to the right of the cliffs... to me this was the worst part of the days climbing because I hate dense bush and this stuff was nasty. It took me forever to get back into the gully but I made it around all the rock bands alive and climbed 45 degree avalanche runnels for what seemed like a long time until the gully got skinnier and steeper and there was another cliff in front of me. It was really starting to snow heavily and I was going too slow so about halfway up the couloir I headed into the forest on my right and put all my stuff back in the bag and bush thrashed down the ridge. I found a bunch of pink trail markers in the forest that took me directly to the base of the first cliff and saved myself a buch of routefinding down the treed ridge and I got picked up by my Dad at 1:30. I turned around because the weather sucked and I am a wimpy 15 year old and the gully is 5,000 ft and thats kinda big for me when I can't see more than 100 ft either way, but I really have to go back and climb this f*#cker on a sunny day. :P





The route from Agassiz



The gulley from the base, I got about 1/2 way up.



The beggining of 5000 ft of snow



First big cliff, I took trees on the left to avoid this one.



Me at the base of the first cliff



Where I hit the gulley again at the edge of the cliff.



This is what the climbing is like for the most part, my battery died before it got much steeper than this.



The first of four little cliff bands, I swam through the bushes to the right. Looks like it would be easy if it froze.


Gear Notes:

Ice tools, crampons, good snow for pickets if you need them, and some rock gear if you plan on climbing the rock steps (in colder temps they should freeze into short WI2 problems)


Approach Notes:

popkum exit off Highway #1... walk through field directly into gully, cant miss it.

Edited by cheamclimber
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I turned around because the weather sucked and I am a wimpy 15 year old and the gully is 5,000 ft and thats kinda big for me when I can't see more than 100 ft either way,


don't cut yourself down, man. Nothing wrong with bailing.


but I really have to go back and climb this fucker on a sunny day. :P


perseverance :tup:



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Dude, I applaud your effort and your intelligence. He who... blah blah blah...lives to climb another day. Was it fun? Then turning around doesn't matter. Fifteen yrs old eh. Damn.



It was wicked fun, I'm planning another go for tommorow in the sun and without all the gear... more speed... more ascent...more FWA= yay! :)

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ya, I'm in Agassiz. I've seen some massive slides come out of there too. I just have to try again on a good day I guess... my friend says he scrambled up it 20 yrs ago when it was dry but for the 2nd two thirds he was climbing up the forest to the rightr of the gully. So I dont think it's been done in winter or by staying in the last part of the gully.

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Here are a few things to consider.. south west winds transfering low density new snow into your gully.. forecasted arctic highs have arrived. along with mod to strong out flow winds. which are blowing snow into your gully from the other side. west aspect.. afternoon solar effect. these are all reasons why this thing runs natural all the time. and I assume why it is still "unclimbed" I admire your ambition. but I cant help to say my two cents.. please consider the hazard fully. and have fun!



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the redistributed snow from outflow winds will sustain weakness for some time. i ski toured in the coquihalla yesterday and things got spookey for me at 1600 meters the wind affect started to slab up the snow. and the interface from old and new was a weak bond. Mind that storm interface for the next few days my friend.

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Hey Cheam Climber, have you thought about taking a course from a guiding school like American Alpine Institute in Bellingham or a similar outfit in Vnacouver? I think it might help a lot with everything from what kind of gear to bring/wear and when to climb, especially routes with high objective levels of danger.

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Seriously though, back on track you can see huge plumes of spindrift blowing off Cheam and Baker, among others, right now, while driving from Abbotsford to Chilliwack. In particular it looked like the NW face of Cheam was getting spindrift loaded. Which is not very favorable for safe climbing conditions.

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There were snow plumes blowing off the north shore mountains yesterday, looked pretty neat, don't see that too often. There were also spooky windslabs in the seymour area on the normal windward side of the hills from the outflow winds, lots of cracking and whoomphing.

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By this weekend there will likely be water ice in around Hope to climb. It might not be a very good time for alpine climbing, but *if* conditions permit (and there might actually be some solid, semi-stable crust forming on south aspects with these sunny days), south-facing ridges might offer the best climbing. Something like the complete south ridge of Welch, for instance. Or the standard route on Williams Peak, although the bowl you cross to access that route should not be assumed to be safe from avvy hazard.

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Access to Welch is probably harder right now than Williams. The main advantage of Williams in the winter is that you can climb directly to the base of the peak from a paved road, through the forest.


When the conditions for alpine climbing are good, you will probably have much less trouble finding partners.


The NE Ridge of Needle Peak is another good winter outing with paved road access. Although, under some conditions, just getting up the standard route on Needle in winter can be challenging.


Blanshard Needle in winter is an excellent objective when the park gates are open. The private maintenance contractors like to lock it up whenever it snows so they don't have to plow the road, though. In stable conditions you can approach via Evans Creek. In less stable conditions the longer summer approach via Alouette Mountain is preferable. Either way, it may be an overnight objective.


For road-accessible winter day trip climbing, though, the North Shore has the Valley beat because it has Seymour, the Lions, and Harvey. When you get your license or a partner with a car, those will all be worthy objectives.

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Why not join a club..?


BCMC has some neat looking trips coming up..Rainier via Gib Ledges would probaby suit your ambition..I bet you meet all sorts of folks to climb with. I know did! you may have to trudge along on an easier trip first but thats how you build relationships and confidence among your climbing peers.







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