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JasonG

[TR] Mt. Sloan - NE ridge 9/10/2011

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Trip: Mt. Sloan - NE ridge

 

Date: 9/10/2011

 

Trip Report:

dR and I had been talking for years about a September trip up to the Hurley, but somehow it never happened- until this weekend. Leaving work a bit early on Friday, I raced home, threw the gear in the civic and pointed it north. The border wait was basically nonexistent, and soon I was loading my gear into dR's car for the slow crawl to North Van to meet Neil and his Pathfinder (a 4WD HC is highly recommended). Then we drove, and drove, and drove. It's a long drive! I think we didn't arrive at the TH till about 11:00pm, 8 hours after leaving my house (included a few shorts stops and lots of Vancouver traffic- the drive home was about 6.5 hours with a dinner stop). McLane's/Gunn's directions are just fine, though in the dark we second guessed ourselves a bit. The road to the TH is rapidly growing in with alder, so it is probably best to get on this in the next couple of years unless they do more logging back in there.

 

Anyway, a short few hours sleep and we were up at 5 and away a little after six the next morning. We stumbled upon a flagged rough trail at the upper corner of a cut block (basically in line with the peak from where you park) that took us to the lower lake. From their we followed faint game trails up to the ridge and started scrambling . .. and scrambling, and scrambling. As a matter of fact, we never roped up, preferring to bypass the jagged fifth class bits with short traverses below the ridge crest (in the interest of speed, it is a long ridge). I think this is probably the most enjoyable way to do it (much lighter packs, though we didn't enjoy this benefit). The rock was usually quite good, making for fun, scenic scrambling.

 

We reached the summit in about 5.5 hours after leaving the cars and took a long break to admire the fine views. I knew basically none of the peak names, but hopefully some of you Canadians can help out with the captions below. It is a great vantage! We descended the class three gully described in Gunn's scrambles book, which went quickly, and soon we were at the upper lake contemplating the bash back to the car. Luckily, there is another flagged trail on the east side of Ault creek that takes you to the lower lake. Here it diverges from the newer trail and keeps heading down the east side of the valley. We followed it for a bit past the lower lake, thinking we would just cut across the creek when opposite the truck. Bad idea. A better plan would be to bushwack around the lake and join the new trail on it's NW side. I think it was about 10.5 hours car to car, at a reasonable pace- taking lots of photos and breaks.

 

I would highly recommend this scramble, and here's some of the reason why:

 

Scrambling low down on the ridge:

MG_4418.jpg

 

MG_4457.jpg

 

Looking south:

MG_4465.jpg

 

MG_4454.jpg

 

The truck is just visible above the climber:

MG_4441.jpg

 

Final bit of the ridge below the summit:

MG_4473.jpg

 

Fun scrambling!:

MG_4470.jpg

 

The impressive North Face of Samson. It is on list!:

MG_4485.jpg

 

The summit:

MG_4479.jpg

 

The view SW to Samson, Sessel, and many others:

MG_4483.jpg

 

The view west to??:

MG_4500.jpg

 

North to Gun and Downton Lakes:

MG_4503.jpg

 

The view NW to ??:

MG_4502.jpg

 

Descending the class 3 gully:

MG_4517.jpg

 

Massive split boulder above upper Ault lake:

MG_4539.jpg

 

Don't take this "shortcut":

MG_4548.jpg

 

A welcome sight at the end of a hot day:

MG_4549.jpg

 

Gear Notes:

Helmet, ice axe and crampons in early season.

 

Approach Notes:

Follow McLane and Gunn

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View west is the Manatee group, with Wahoo Tower etc.

 

View NW is over the Sorcerer/Griswold Pass area to the high peaks of the Monmouth area at the north end of the Lillooet/Bridge Icecap in the far distance

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We stumbled upon a flagged rough trail at the upper corner of a cut block (basically in line with the peak from where you park) that took us to the lower lake. From their we followed faint game trails up to the ridge and started scrambling . .

A slightly longer, but more casual with less bushwacking, approach is to park at the fork just past the bridge and hike to the end of the road which goes to the upper cut block. A very short bit of thrashing leads to more open trees on the ridge and away you go.

MG_4441.jpg

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The view west to??:

MG_4500.jpg

 

as Drew says, Manatee group left (Wahoo Tower in profile); that's Athelstan on the right - I always wondered why no one ever went in the climb the N Face... altho it's a longish approach... maybe the buttress in the centre? wld be spectacular with hanging glacier seracs on both sides! or the right-hand ice face, if you cld get thru the hanging glacier below... top looks dried out now... bloody near killed myself up there one time, trying to get far enough out onto the slope from the summit to see down into that face, which then avalanched under my feet, luckily only about 4" deep with fresh powder... yet another fine Thanksgiving trip...

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The view NW to ??:

MG_4502.jpg

 

 

Monmouth is the highest, kinda square-topped summit on the left. From this angle, Fluted looks like a rightward extension of Monmouth. Chapman has the distinct snow-couloir which falls directly towards the camera. The big snowy summit in right-centre is Winstone. The steep-looking rock tower to its right is The Beast. The lighter rock further rigth is good granite around Beehive. All these summits lie at the head of the Tchaikazan and/or Falls river valleys, and all are approachable via long drives to the Chilcotin and pretty easy hike-ins. Plus the weather is somewhat drier than in more coastal areas, so you can get away with climbs here when other stuff is 'out'. I've made 5 trips into the Tchak, and a couple up the Falls... great places...

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Amazing info, thanks much Don! This was my first trip this far north in coastal BC, but it won't be my last. You've certainly piqued my interest for more forays even farther afield....

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