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JasonG

[TR] Tantalus, Dione, Serratus, Alpha - Traverse from Sigurd Creek to Lake Lovelywater 7/27/2014

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Trip: Tantalus, Dione, Serratus, Alpha - Traverse from Sigurd Creek to Lake Lovelywater

 

Date: 7/27/2014

 

Trip Report:

On the hike up Sigurd Creek we debated the meaning of "arduous", since McLane uses the term to describe the Tantalus Traverse sans helo. Four days later as we each sweated our way across the cable over the Squamish river we had to give Kevin his due, his description was apt. But arduous doesn't mean scary, boring, or ugly. The Tantalus Traverse is far from all of those terms. We found spectacular scenery, engaging routefinding, easier than it looked quality climbing, and fantastic camps/huts. And we had every route/summit to ourselves. Since there isn't a lot of detail out there on this trip, I'll try and provide some, broken down by how we did the traverse.

 

Day 1. Sigurd Creek almost to Pelion/Zenith col, ~8 hours. The trail up Sigurd Creek is surprisingly good, and well marked. It ends at the moraine below Pelion/Ossa, so don't think it will take you all the way to the edge of the ice. Some minor crevasses around the shoulder of Pelion, but mellow terrain overall to the first tarns above the Pelion/Zenith col. Great camps.

 

Day 2. Pelion/Zenith col over top of Tantalus/Dione to Haberl Hut. 14 hours? From the Pelion/Zenith col we stayed mostly on the west side of the ridge to gain the glacier below the north ridge of Tantalus. To save time we climbed past the 'schrund on broken snow to a notch that accessed the easy snow slopes on the west side of the north ridge. This was a good move, since the day was long, but it might not be an option in late season. Once off the glacier, we climbed to the summit of Tantalus unroped on high quality 4th class terrain with a few moves of low fifth. This is why you come on the Tantalus traverse, stunning! The descent off Tantalus is somewhat unsavory, and we aren't sure if we did it right, but we more or less took the high traverse until we could rap down the Darling Couloir to gain the loose ramp that accesses glacier high on the shoulder of Dione. Expect shenanigans. Once at the base of Dione, easy 3rd/4th class scrambling takes you right to the top. We did one rap on the descent of the summit tower. From here we followed some recent tracks down the high snow shoulder, did a couple single raps to gain the glacier, and finished with more easy glacier travel all the way to the Haberl Hut. This thing is amazing! Hats off to the ACC for replacing the Red Tit hovel with this. Five stars, and we had it to ourselves.

 

Day 3. Haberl Hut, Serratus West Face, Alpha SW side, descend east ridge Alpha, Lake Lovelywater. 12 hours? There is a new bolted descent route off Serratus (topo below) that we read about in the hut book. This coupled with a couple long days prior, and a report of a convoluted descent off the east side of Serratus meant that we left our packs at the bottom of the mountain and climbed unencumbered to the top. Surprisingly good climbing and scrambling (starts low fifth, eases to third) follows just south of the rappel line all the way up to the top. Our first day with unobstructed views, and the sights were impressive! We regained our packs and traversed around the mountain to the Alpha/Serratus col where we scrambled the easy way to the top of Alpha. Fun, and scenic, with a great summit for lounging. The east ridge didn't look that easy to descend, but we wanted to stay in the alpine as long as possible, so down we went. Mostly 3rd at first, it became more exposed and 4th class the lower we got until we had to start rapping the fifth class steps. I think we did three 30m raps in all to get to easier terrain and the glacier. A bit more rambling got us to the col/rib that McLane indicates will get you to the lake and hut. We expected a climber's path, but found none, and ended up bashing our way down through horrific bugs and somewhat thick brush all the way to Lake Lovelywater. Expect shenanigans. Although the sun had set, we all jumped in the lake to wash three days of stench off. This left us chilled and wet, but at least we had a mouse infested hut to cook in. It was better than dealing with the mosquitos at the camps around the lake, but a far cry from the Haberl Hut.

 

Day 4. Lake Lovelywater to the Squamish River, bike ride back to truck. 5 hours? This is a steep trail! In a couple sections you might die if you slipped off the trail, which surprised me a bit. Still, it was well marked, easy to follow, and didn't mess around, so it doesn't take long to get to the river. There are some beautiful waterfalls along the way, old growth, and interesting rambling along the Squamish river. And then the dreaded cable crossing! We all walked it, using a belay locker to hang our packs on the lower cable, hooked to us by a long tether. We each had a couple slings, via ferrata style, that we had clipped on the top cable that allowed us to clip past the buoys. When the upper and lower cables start to sway out of sync, it is especially fun. Expect shenanigans. Gord was kind enough to offer to ride the bike (we had stashed it on the drive in) back up to the truck. Tim thought he could beat him by hitching and so the race was on. Steve and I guarded the beer and placed bets. We were both surprised to learn that they had tied- Gord is pretty speedy even after four days hard labor.

 

I probably won't take the time to add captions, sorry! But feel free to pester about a particular shot you are wondering about.

 

 

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Gear Notes:

60m half rope, very light rack (tri cams, stoppers), crampons, axe, helmet. Large belay 'biner for cable crossing, and assorted slings and lockers.

 

Approach Notes:

Sigurd Creek Trail

Edited by JasonG

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Great trip, very nice style as well. The route from Zenith col to Tantalus via the N Ridge is indeed stunning. Only 8 hours from Sigurd to your camp with packs is hoofing it!

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Wow! Nice pics as usual Jason. Almost makes me feel like I was right there!

 

One of my favorite trips in recent years. Super cool terrain and the luxury of the hut make the suffering feel minimal! Thanks for including me at the last minute! Hut! Hut! Hut!! Hut! Hut! Hut!

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It wouldn't be bad, I'll post a map with some lines drawn on it for you later tonight. I think that is probably the best way to describe how to hit it from the North Ridge of Tantalus. It is a fair bit of distance from the NR to the trail, though the terrain is mellow for the most part.

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Well, I guess I've exceeded my upload limit of 40 images a day? I will try and post the annotated map tomorrow, or shoot me a PM if you want it sooner.

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Jason: Outstanding photos as usual! One of the great things about the area is being able to stay in the alpine for so long. (And the hut)

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Looks like a great trip Dudes. Glad to see you were all under the wing of ths handsome international mountain guide Gordo Fausto! You just cant go wrong with The Fausto onboard.

Great photo's Jason.

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The phrase "expect shenanigans" should be in more guidebook descriptions.

 

 

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