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marc_leclerc

best of cc.com [TR] Cheam Peak - North Face 6/10/2009

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Trip: Cheam Peak - North Face

 

Date: 6/10/2009

 

Trip Report:

After my grade 12 graduation this past weekend I wanted to kick off my summer by doing something big and committing and to do it solo. I look up at the North side of Cheam every day and I had noticed that the 1976 route on the North Face looked to be in nice condition, so I put that on my itenerary.

Cheam Peak has some burly relief on the north side rising just about 7,000 ft from the highway to the summit, the first half of this gain in elevation is mostly steep, dense bush and the upper half is composed of a mixture of steep snowlopes cut by steep rock bands of crumbling choss.... perfect!

I packed up my bag, bringing no rope, harness, or protection other than my ice tools. I threw in some food, 2 liters of water a sweater and some shell pants too. My parents forced me to carry crampons even though I knew I wouldn't need them.... I mean seriously, I'm graduated!

I set me alarm for 5:15 AM and slept a few hours, then I had some breakfast got dressed and woke up my Dad to give me a ride over to the base of the mountain. He dropped me off on a powerline road branching off the Highway just East of Bridal Falls. I started hiking up at 6:00, hit the creek draining the face in a few minutes then reached the wooded ridge I would follow a few minutes later. I was hiking up a bear trail low on the approach when I ran into a big black bear. I the bear politely let me pass and I had no other encounters for the next two hours of thrashing up the ridge. At 8:00 I emerged from the forest onto the moraine and snowlopes below the North Face. I got my first real view of my objective then and was rather intimidated by the large steep face. I ate some food then hiked up the snow to the left of a large rocky outcrop then cut back right onto the knoll at the top of the outcrop. I started the technical climbing above the knoll at 9:00.

I traversed some steep snow right of the knoll, then skirted around the bergshrund on some rocks to the left. I climbed up a short but terrifying rock step made up of crumbling, wet choss sprouting moss and grass. It was probably only about 5.4 but it was extremely dicey, especially the last 15 ft which was pretty near vertical. Above this I hit the long, right trending snow ramp leading to the NW ridge. This section was tiring and took a long time, I had to be careful not to slip and fall down the face but not linger too long and get hit by rocks falling from the summit. By the time I reached the upper NW ridge I was pretty tired of snow so I avoided the upper section of the ramp by climbing rocks to the right. The headwall was surprisingly easy but very exposed and the rock was awful. The last 200 ft to the summit was loose, exposed and steep, but 4th class gravel covered ramps led to the summit ridge and I topped out just west of the summit at 1:00. A few victory whoops later I was on the summit enoying some 'pop tarts' and cold water. I descended the west ridge then glissaded easy snow slopes into the bowl below the NW face and hiked a long ridge beside the drainage gully draining the NW face. The descent was quite fast and I reached the Highway at 4:00 PM, making this a 10 hour round trip... not bad. Overall the route was pretty loose and exposed but definitely worth doing once. For a grade like 5.4 and snow to 45 degrees it is quite serious. Definitely my biggest, most commiting solo yet.

 

Pics:

 

3614685817_9080b310f2_b.jpg

A long way to go... from the approach.

 

 

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Me and the North Face..

 

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Objective

 

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Up the snow and rock bands, then around the corner onto the ridge.

 

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Looking down the NW ridge... I came up from behind the ridge.

 

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Looking west shortly before topping out.

 

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Self Timed shot of me on the Summit.

 

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Edited photo showing my route, I had much less snow, the rock crux isnt even exposed in this shot!

 

Gear Notes:

Ice ax... if you plan on using ropes and crap bring some LA pitons and runners and leave everything else at home.

 

Approach Notes:

Bushwack... lots of it.. unrelenting... look out for bears and wasps, I ran into both.

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sweet! Congrats on the graduation

 

I had some breakfast got dressed and woke up my Dad to give me a ride over to the base of the mountain

 

lulz

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Very nice! P-Tarts are all I ever take into the hills. Thanx for the great pix and report. I'm not sure what my dad would have said if I'd asked him to drive me to a remote, bear-infested wilderness trailhead so that I could spend a harrowing afternoon solo climbing unprotected 5th-class choss and steep, exposed snow slopes, but I'm fairly certain that his reply would not be suitable for a general audience.

 

Nice one, Marc!

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"My parents forced me to carry crampons even though I knew I wouldn't need them.... I mean seriously, I'm graduated!"

 

 

Love the humor!

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Maybe its just because its a Canadian thing, whenever I see "I got my Grade 12" I think of the Trailer Park Boys. :laf:

 

Nice TR Marc!

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congrats on graduating - ready to move out and start paying your own billz now? :)

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Hey Marc-

 

Nice way to graduate... as it were. From an middling old duffer, it's inspiring to see you getting after it.

 

Continue to be safe. Looking forward to many years of TR's to come.

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For a grade like 5.4 and snow to 45 degrees it is quite serious. Definitely my biggest, most commiting solo yet.

 

Just under 7 years from Cheam N face to Emperor Face :D

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For a grade like 5.4 and snow to 45 degrees it is quite serious. Definitely my biggest, most commiting solo yet.

 

Just under 7 years from Cheam N face to Emperor Face :D

 

That's an improvement in climbing skills!

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