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skibum1087

Slesse Question

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I don't want to interrupt this great spat, but I am hoping to get some info. Planning to do the NE Butt. next weekend and since I know (from doing it last year)the Slesse Creek descent is long,tedious and a logistical problem with the transport we are going to try the crossover descent this time. I really appreciate all the beta that people have posted, positive and negative. My question is: will we find water/snow on the approach, climb, descent and if so, where? If anyone who has been up that way in the last few weeks has some insight, please share.

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I don't want to interrupt this great spat, but I am hoping to get some info. Planning to do the NE Butt. next weekend and since I know (from doing it last year)the Slesse Creek descent is long,tedious and a logistical problem with the transport we are going to try the crossover descent this time. I really appreciate all the beta that people have posted, positive and negative. My question is: will we find water/snow on the approach, climb, descent and if so, where? If anyone who has been up that way in the last few weeks has some insight, please share.

 

We did it about three weeks ago and there was water on the approach and slightly above the forest on the descent. There was no water on route.

 

The gullies I rapped were in the crux routefinding section part II. Crux routefinding part I was straight forward and simple. Part II was a lot more complex. The beta isn't quite right in either the Southwest book or in the topo. You might find our rap stations, but be prepared to surrender a bit of gear.

 

We did go down through the woods low on the descent, but never found the flagging. This wasn't really a big deal though. The big deal on the descent was crux routefinding number II on the topo I posted. However, it does sound like people have somehow completely avoided that section.

 

Jason

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The gullies I rapped were in the crux routefinding section part II. Crux routefinding part I was straight forward and simple. Part II was a lot more complex. The beta isn't quite right in either the Southwest book or in the topo. You might find our rap stations, but be prepared to surrender a bit of gear.

Jason

 

ohhhhhhhhh..... I feel bad now about some previous comments. I can see how a screw up could occur there especially if the guide is kinda screwy there. I had the idea that after you dropped down the talus below the ridge you went down those gullies directly into the bowl beneath the glacier cirques, and that seemed like a pretty retarded thing to do. There is a way to avaoid leaving gear wherer you did and another way to avoid rapping at all but it has some steep heather where an ice ax would be a good idea.

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There was no water on route.

 

The gullies I rapped were in the crux routefinding section part II. Crux routefinding part I was straight forward and simple. Part II was a lot more complex. The beta isn't quite right in either the Southwest book or in the topo. You might find our rap stations, but be prepared to surrender a bit of gear.

 

 

There's never any water on this route, but there is snow. Was there any snow on the giant bivy ledge at pitch 15 or so?

 

If you had to place gear and rap down a gully at the Part II crux you went off route. There is one short fixed rap there then you get back on a trail and continue along the ridge for about another 1/8 mile before you drop down below Stumpy hill.

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To discourage people from taking a good descent option, with a horror story and a bad topo, because you got lost isn't so professional.

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We were up a few weeks ago, yes you have water very near the base so you can fill up before starting then you are dry until you hit Slesse creek at the bottom of the descent trail. We took 4 liters each and avoided the sun as best we could and ran out that night. Not too bad, used some Knob Creek Whiskey and blueberries as nourishment. The walk out was tedious but you are out of the sun and the views are nice. Despite all the yapping about it, I would try the crossover, you'll be back to water allot sooner!

Ty

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I guess I wouldn't say don't try it. Instead, I would say to just be aware that some parties have had trouble with it.

 

The topo definitely refers to multiple rappels as does the SW BC book. The most helpful thing for everyone here would be to stop calling names and for someone who nailed the descent to amend the topo for future climbers.

 

Jason

Edited by Jason_Martin

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You are basically doing a ridge traverse until Stumpy Hill/Mt Parkes. At the #2 crux you have 2 choices either climb the ridge up to the summit of Crossover peak that cliffs out and backtrack back down just a bit to a gully that drops down to the right, one double rope rap or 2 single. OR about a pitch before the summit look down right for a dirt/heather slope that skirts down and right of the ridge and climbs a little back up to the end of the raps. 45 deg hard pack heather and dirt, exposed with a cliff at the bottom. Sort of sketch, I used my cleaning tool to self belay.

 

From the end of the raps is the start of a trail that continues on the left of the ridge and leads to the ledge below Stumpy Hill/Mt Parkes headwall. After you get below Stumpy Hill/Mt Parkes descend to 200 ft below the bottom of the toe of the buttress on the SE corner of Stumpy Hill/Mt Parkes. 5200 ft.(first water) At this point start traversing directly across to the East. (maintain elevation) Pass a field of very large granite boulders with a large 1/2 dead tree at the top. (bivy spots). Keep going East about 250 yards and as the angle starts down cross a very large nearly flat granite slab. 5100 ft. From the right (South) edge of this slab pick up a shallow drainage. Follow this drainage down about a 1/3 mile, steep in spots.

 

This drainage is wet early season and dry late season. It goes straight down ESE? through pretty open forest. If you follow the drainage carefully you will come to the top of a rock gully (4400 ft) that goes straight down South into the main basin below the toe of the NE buttress. This bypasses a lot of forest and the bushwack as described in the Topo.

 

You can see this tree canopied rock gully if you approach through the basin. Be aware the gully is steep class 4 in spots and has potential rockfall. From the basin take the climbers trail back to the memorial plaque and out.

 

Edited per Dru and Red Becky guide, Stumpy Hill per McLane is really Mt.Parkes.

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Thanks Jason and Ty for the info. on the water situation. And thanks to Buckaroo for further clarification on the crossover descent route. Armed with all that beta, I figure that our chances of screwing it up are down to 50/50. If the weather cooperates this weekend, I'll report back on our xover experience.

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I have done the Slesse Creek descent once, and now the Crossover Pass descent twice, and I absolutely recommend the Crossover descent.

 

The first time I did the Crossover descent was two years ago, and we were going off the description in McKlane's guidebook - we took quite a while, did some sketchy downclimbing in places, and some horrendous bushwacking at the end.

 

I did the Crossover descent again a couple weeks ago, this time armed with Jeremy Frimer's description, and it only took a few hours to get from the summit of Slesse to the car. Jeremy's topo is very well done, and if you follow it closely (print it out and bring it with you) the descent can go very easily.

 

The only place where we were not able to follow Jeremy's description was on the descent through the forest - we saw no flagging for a long time, but then picked it up again near the basin. The last part of the trail (back to where it joins the official trail, just below the memorial plaque) is much better now than when Jeremy wrote his description, and thus involves no bushwacking. For this reason, I absolutely recommend following Jeremy's description rather than taking the 4th-class gully that Buckaroo suggests.

 

Yes, the Crossover descent is more complicated than the Slesse Creek descent, but it gets a bit easier to follow with every party that takes it. At first I was bummed that the Slesse Creek Road was getting closed, but now I think it is a wonderful thing because it will force more climbers to take the Crossover descent, and soon there will be a well-worn trail all the way, without the hassle of extra bikes or cars.

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We followed this topo and felt that it was pretty honest in it's overall description.

 

sounds like you kinda had too much info, jason. you'd probably have been better off just figuring it out yourself - especially as the easily available info is conflicting and/or confusing. isn't it interesting how easy it is to make ANY situation fit ANY description, in the midst of it all?

 

1. the description on page 274 of Alpine Select is pretty accurate, except for one critical point. it's been quite a while since i was up there, so my memory may be hazy, but i don't think it's anything like 150m back from the drop-off to the top of the correct descent gully - maybe more like 50m? or probably less? whatever, it's the first notch in the ridge back south from the drop off. the word-description then is fine: scramble down a bit to a jammed block, do one rap northeastward, and a second gully (not visible from above) 'appears' opening northward. the rest is casual (altho there are easier and harder ways down thru the forest into the cirque).

 

2. the accompanying photo, however, is wrong, wrong, wrong! the dashed line on the east side section leaves the ridge FAR too early, and there is no traverse whatsoever on the 'correct' route. it's hard to tell on such a small photo, but i think the correct rap gully is the tiny shadowed line barely left of the actual ridgeline (immediately RIGHT of the bottom of the indicator line for the "summit of ridge". maybe this dashed line is why people end up doing a long exposed dirt/heather traverse? anyway, DO NOT GO THIS WAY!

 

3. jeremy's topo describes a third method of passing the 2nd "critical routefinding" section - simply rap the rib dropping northeatward just before the summit of the ridge. this will be the rib immediately north of the "correct descent gully" mentioned in #1. and jeremy's 2nd rap will place you into the second 'hidden' gully. (and jeremy says it's only 30m back from the summit of the ridge, which agrees with my recollections re: distance.)

 

4. for those of you who like to wander and who have pathological fears of rappels, i understand it is possible to trundle down a long way westward, then traverse northward and eventually climb back to crossover pass. altho why you'd want to do so, aside from the exercise, is beyond me... (i think this was done a time or two in the ancient past, before the linked gullies descent was discovered)

 

p.s. jeremy's 1st 'critical routefinding' section is not very critical at all. there are two notches (a fact which he neglects to mention) - go thru the top notch. period. then follow your nose. easy-peasy...

 

btw, i've been down this route 4 times i think it is, including once in winter, and i reckon it's far preferable to slesse creek and the long way back around (which i've also done, much to my exhaustion).

 

final thought - take a digital photo or two on the approach, then call them up on the descent - could help getting down into the cirque the easiest way. (didn't somebody post a while ago about using the westernmost gully and finding it good? altho i always felt drifting east - left - was just fine)

 

 

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By the way there is no such thing as "Stumpy Hill." That is Mount Parkes, plain and simple. Named after Fred Parkes who was in on the FA of Slesse. The traverse south from Crossover Peak was, I believe, one of the approach routes recce'd before the first ascent.

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That is Mount Parkes, plain and simple.

 

 

good call Drew, respect where respect is due. Stan Henderson, Fred Parkes, Mills Winram - Aug 10, 1927. tough old guys. Mills just died back in Jan 2006, aged 98! saw his lantern slide shows of Slesse, etc. best was his tale of the first ascent in 1931 of Mt Meager, a tottering volcanic spire. when they reached the "top" (Neal Carter, Alec Dalgleish, Tom Fyles, and Mills - as strong a mountaineering party as you could find in North America at the time, I reckon) they were confronted by a further, slightly higher, inaccessible blade. so they threw rocks at it till it toppled over and they were on the 'true summit'!

 

Mount Parkes - remember it...

Edited by Don_Serl

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Since everyone is ranting...unrelated to Slesse...I once hiked in Snow lakes trail for the Black pyramid and hiked out Rat Creek in the Enchantments...it was hell. Turned a minor day into a 17hr rush with exposed 5.8 soloing up and down moss covered ledges above deep dark voids of nothing and log highways through devils club...it was a wonderful experience for me...though my partner won't let me live it down since it was my suggestion to take the "faster" becky trail out....go do it...winter would be easier cause you could just ski out...

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The topo definitely refers to multiple rappels

 

I did this descent on the weekend, I found it super chill but I also used it to approach the N Rib so had an easier time in the forest descent.

 

First off, why is everyone convinced there are multiple rappels?

 

The topo talks of 1 30 m rap into a gulley, dont stop there but continue over to the next gulley North. This gulley is where the steep grassy slope under Parkes meets up, tere is a cairn.

 

Drop down the gulley, walking super chill, cross scree and back up and onto Crossover pass.

 

then just walk home, around 4-5 hours from N rib Col

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We also used the Xover descent after climbing the NE Butt.(hey jmace, were you the guys who were yodeling at us on Sat. night?) last weekend. It went really smoothly (thanks to the great beta from Jeremy and others) until we could no longer follow the flagging in the forest due to dim light. We hit the basin a little too high I believe and had a pretty awful 3/4 mile of schwack to get across and up to the trail. Still, I would do it again over the Slesse Creek descent any time. That said, a party of four who were descending with us up to the point where the two descent routes diverge made it down to slesse crk and out to the road in only a little more time than it took us (about 5 hours). The crossover descent has such a great alpine ambiance to it and no transport hassles.

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hey jmace, were you the guys who were yodeling at us on Sat. night?

 

Yup, were you the three guys bivied at bivy spot on NEB?

3966343654_fc0f72ecaf_m.jpg 

 

[font:Comic Sans MS]click for bigger pic[/font]

 

 

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Unfortunately, we were not with the four guys on the big, official bivy ledge. We stopped when it got dark a couple of pitches below that and spent the night tied in on a small ledge that drops off into the "heart of darkness". Wasn't a bad night, but we envied you up on the ridge. The guys above us claimed you even had a campfire. My kind of bivy. That is a cool pic!

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