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pup_on_the_mountain

[TR] Joffre Lakes - Stonecrop face Rex's Pillar (attemp) 6/17/2011

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Trip: Joffre Lakes - Stonecrop face on Rex's Pillar (attempt)

 

Date: 6/17/2011

 

Trip Report:

We had planned to do the Joffre enchainment - up Stonecrop face of Slalok (Rex's pillar), move over to Matier, up North Face of Matier, bivy at Matier-Joffre col, up South Buttress of Joffre next day, and hike out. Weather demons had other ideas, so we just spent the night in a gorgeous location, and hiked out in the rain with the promise to return soon.

 

We made the drive from Portland on Thursday, arriving at the parking lot in time to catch a great view of the Stonecrop face:

DSC01278.JPG

 

While the forecast had called for clear weather on Friday and chance of rain on Saturday, we woke up Friday completely soaked in a warm marine layer of clouds. We decided to hike in to the upper Joffre lake, set up camp, and wait for conditions to clear. This picture of Chris hiking in summed up most of the first part of the day - clouds!

DSC01283.JPG

 

We sat around, ate, talked about all sorts of things - Kurt Hicks, East coasters falling in love with Portland, coffee craze of South Indians, and so on. The clouds kept the place super warm. Finally, just before 2 pm, there was some clearing up. It was too late for multiple objectives, so we decided to try the Stonecrop face.

 

Chris approaching the gully leading to the face:

DSC01284.JPG

 

We were wary of the avy debris at the base of the gully, but the snow appeared super stable when we walked on it. There was probably 6 inches of fresh snow on a stable layer underneath. But we were not setting off any slides even when we tried to kick things off. So we trudged upward. The clouds parted a bit when we were about half way up, and the sun was shining bright, warming things up even more.

DSC01289.JPG

 

When we started up again after a break, we heard a rumbling noise, and snowballs started flowing down a ditch in the middle of the gully. We were scared shitless, and got our asses out of there quickly :shock: . Back at the lake, we could see about ten small point releases on the upper face, all of which were getting funneled down the middle of the gully: DSC01297.JPG.

 

Rock and chunks of ice/snow were coming down pretty regularly toward the lake on the other face as well (from the bottom of Matier glacier/ice fall):

DSC01304.JPG

 

The only other exciting development happened when Chris woke up in the middle of the night hissing "I heard a grunt.. and rocks rolling. May be it's a bear!". We both peered outside, and everything was eerily calm. I got back to sleep quickly, while Chris was lying awake with ears peeled, trying to hear the bear moving around. Soon I started snoring again, and that's when Chris realized what the "bear" was :laf: .

 

The rain came as promised later that night. While not super heavy, it was constant, and followed us pretty much all the way back home :( .

 

Epilogue: It may take several sunny days for conditions to settle down in the Joffre-Matier area. Once things shape up better, we both want to go back. There are several potential routes accessible from our camp, and many of them doable for an out-of-the-game-forever fat gumby like me. While the drive from PDX is somewhat long, the concentration of several snow/ice/rock routes with relatively easy and short approaches, all in beautiful settings, make it quite worth IMHO.

 

 

Gear Notes:

Lots carried, none used :-).

 

Approach Notes:

Snow most of the way on trail, but no floatation needed.

Edited by pup_on_the_mountain

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You win some you lose some eh...

 

I was in there in July last year and the snow conditions were very poor. I imagine it's not freezing overnight right now so everything is a big slurpy slushy mess. Plus all the winter poops & orange peels will be melting out of the snow :sick:

 

 

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way to get after it! thinking of heading up that way myself in the relative near future. what do you use for weather forecasts?

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Other pics from the trip:

 

Bala at camp:

IMG_2790.JPG

 

Things starting to clear up over Stonecrop Face:

IMG_2798.JPG

 

Bala on the way up:

IMG_2810.JPG

 

And again:

IMG_2812.JPG

 

Catching a break:

IMG_2821.JPG

 

After getting the hell out of the gulley:

IMG_2826.JPG

 

Camp:

IMG_2842.JPG

 

Point releases visible above the gulley:

IMG_2840.JPG

 

Thanks Bala for an enjoyable time out in the hills.

 

Chris

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