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sadoalpinist

[TR] Mt Rexford and Nesakwatch Spires - Ensakwatch Enchainment 7/7/2012

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Trip: Mt Rexford and Nesakwatch Spires - Ensakwatch Enchainment

 

Date: 7/7/2012

 

Trip Report:

With never-ending sunshine in the forecast, I talked one of my climbing partners to head up to Canada to check out peaks south of Chilliwack. Having never climbed in this area before, we thought that climbing the Ensakwatch Enchainment car-to-car would be a good introduction to the region.

 

This route links up the North and South Nesakwatch Spires (NNS and SNS) with Mt Rexford. The rock quality in this area is very good for the alpine, and many variations are possible. As with most Cascade peaks this season, there is still a lot of snow on the approach, and on most north or east-facing aspects (the NE Ridge of Rexford would be a snow climb right now). This made for some interesting challenges while on route.

 

We chose to climb the North ridge on NNS, which was mostly snow-free to the summit (4th, low 5th). The down climb from the north spire was exposed and covered in steep, melty snow. We down climbed halfway on snow, then moved back to the rock and down climbed some 4th class to the North-South col. The North Ridge on the SNS had much much more snow, which was mostly collected on easier terrain. This forced us to climb more technical variation - each pitch probably had a 5.7 move or two, and there was a fair amount of stemming/chimneying off of snowbanks in rock shoes. We finished by climbing the 5.7 OW chimney to the top of the summit block. The down climb was a little spicy - but doable - without a large cam. If down climbing unprotected OWs isn't your idea of a good time, you can also use a cordellete to sling the flake above the OW, lower down, and flip the rope to get your gear back.

 

We descended SNS to the SNS/Rexford col by a single rappel. From here, the route is supposed to climb the north face of Rexford to the summit ridge. From the SNS summit, and from the bottom of the climb, the NF of Rexford looked like 4th class choss, so we trended up and West to better rock. From where we connected with the West Ridge route, we climbed a few pitches trending right on ledges across the West Face of Rexford and found fantastic 5.6 climbing, with a 5.8ish lieback protecting the last moves onto the summit ridge. The rock quality was very very good, and our route choice was validated when we observed all of the choss and grit on the North Face during our descent. After tagging the true Rexford summit, we rapped the north face, down climbed the West Ridge, and headed back to the car.

 

This climb (with our variations) made for a long and high-quality day trip. The views (especially of the East face of Slesse) were superb.

 

EDIT: Photos

 

N Ridge of SNS

P1020745.JPG

 

P1020750.JPG

 

Our approximate route up Rexford W Face

P1020755-001.JPG

 

Gear Notes:

Light alpine rack. Most of the climbing can be done in approach shoes.

 

Approach Notes:

The approach is described in both the Beckey Guide #3 and in McLane's Alpine Select guidebook. A few notes on the approach: Beckey says 7.7km down the Nesakwatch FSR - it is actually shorter than this (more like 5.6km described in McLane). The spur road is marked by flagging and is now completely choked by young alder growth. It is hard to spot in the dark, so keep your eyes open. Also, there is some new logging activity on this road, so avoid any east-and-upward trending spur roads that are obviously new.

 

The approach to the bottom of NNS took ~2hrs with a daypack.

Edited by sadoalpinist

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