sparverius Posted September 7, 2009 Share Posted September 7, 2009 (edited) Trip: Cathedral Provincial Park and Pasayten Wilderness - MMG Traverse, Cathedral (SEB), Pilgrimage to Mecca Date: 8/23/2009 Trip Report: Donn and I headed up to the Cathedral Provincial Park and Pasayten Wilderness for my last major trip of the summer before heading back to the honkey tonks. The approaches and general travel were a welcomed change from some of the N. cascades sufferfests we’d been through this summer. Our main objective was the SE Buttress of Cathedral, which was put up in 1973 by Pete Doorish and Glen Wilson. Glen was Donn’s buddy from high school and boy scouts and first introduced him to climbing in 1970. We approached via the Ashnola River Road and parked at the 39 K sign, just next to the foot bridge. The hike into wall creek took us about 4 hours and was a moderate uphill on a good trail through lodgepole tinderbox. We took the first fork on the centennial trail @ 1.5 hours after leaving the car and were soon at our campsite at the base of grimface. We’d heard conflicting reports of how long the Matriarch Macabre Grimface traverse took, so we decided to give it a go our first afternoon. We climbed scree fields to the ridge just southeast of Matriarch’s summit and roped up. The climbing was easy and fun and the setting was superb. The traverse begins with an exposed 5.4 (short) section leading up to the bolt ladder and webbing ladder. Just beyond the ladder we arrived at the summit block of Matriarch. It presents several options, and we chose the tight 5.3 chimney that Donn led elegantly. Most of the traverse was class 3 and 4 scrambling along the ridge. photo by Donn There was an exciting, but easy chimney that lead up to Grimface's summit and was a good way to cap off the traverse. Deluxe bivy sites abounded on this route, and I was especially fond of this one near grimface’s summit. The entire traverse took us about 3 hours, or 4.5 hours tent to tent. The rock was solid and the late evening sun turned the fine granite a glowing yellow. It was a short scramble from Grimface's summit to an enjoyable scree surf back down to camp. The traverse is a good way to spend a half day if you’re up wall creek. Better descriptions of the traverse can be found on MVS’s TR: http://www.mountainwerks.org/cma/2005/grimface.htm as well as this one: http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/581962 The next day was a travel day, as we left wall creek, scrambling climbers right of the Deacon onto a nice heather plateau that gave us great views, espcecially of the MMG traverse We descended into the Cathedral Fork Valley and had relatively easy climbing to upper cathedral lake. It took us less than a half day to travel from our camp near grimface to cathedral lake. We rested and gazed at the many butrresses of Amphitheatre mountain and even looked for a path that would lead us away from lower cathedral lake at the end of our trip. Wednesday morning dawned clear and cold and we made a leisurely start towards the SE buttress of Cathedral. The first pitch was a wake up call for me, as it was more strenous than expected. photo by Donn The second pitch was a chimney that required passing behind and then over a chockstone. photo by Donn The rock was pretty solid and enjoyable. I think we climbed it in 12 pitches, two of them being very short. There were nice ledges at nearly every belay. Fighting off hand cramps, we tackled the final headwall pitches, with Donn leading the first fun pitch, while I scratched and clawed my way up the 5.10a finger crack. photo by Donn photo by Donn The summit was spacious and gave us a good view down to upper Cathedral Lake. photo by Donn The hike off was a bit of a scramble, exposed in one or two places, followed by more knee-preserving scree surfing. The next day we decided to climb Pilgrimage to Mecca on the Ka’aba buttress of Amphitheatre mountain, first climbed by Darrin and Owen 5 years ago. The climb follows the cracks on the left side of the buttress. The approach was about 20 minutes and the climb starts on a block at the base of the buttress. photo by Donn We climbed it in four pitches, and all but the last pitch were outstanding. I got apparently off route on the last pitch and had to downclimb 60 feet to avoid a loose block. photo by Donn We took a variation on the second pitch that Darrin recommended, but hadn’t tried himself. It was capped by a sweet 5.8 lieback. Unfortunately, the lower half of this pitch was guarded by a six foot tall loose flake that I had to dance around. Donn tried to kick it off as he seconded, but was unable to get it from above. It could likely be dislodged from the side by the second, but presents a real danger to anyone trying to climb that variation again. The third pitch was another fun one, a sweet 5.8+ dihedral. We didn’t linger on the summit for too long since we had some work ahead of us on the hike out. We opted for the ill-advised Cathedral Fork route instead of the scenic highland stroll up and then down to Wall Creek. There was fierce blowdown en route, and morale reached its nadir for the trip. But there were clean stretches along game trails and we managed to get back to the car just over 6 hours after leaving the lake. We saw one couple at Cathedral Lake, and otherwise did not encounter a soul for four days. It was a great trip in a remote setting with a ton of options for climbing on solid granite. Gear Notes: Medium alpine rack, 60m 9.4 rope, makers mark, pringles Approach Notes: left america and parked on the Ashnola river road. approached wall creek and grimface via the centennial trail and wall creek trail. Deproached via Cathedral Fork Creek Edited September 7, 2009 by sparverius Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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