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maurop

Crossover Peak - Winter

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Has anyone ever done Crossover Peak in winter? Is it a worthy first winter objective? I haven't been able to find much on it.

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It has been done. Were you thinking of via the Slesse-Crossover descent trail or from Pierce Lake area/Macfarlane?

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Not too sure.... I was told it was a good intro to winter climbing....but it looks like it might be more 3rd/4th class. In Beckey, he mentions the traverse is good, but mainly 3rd/4th. I lead 5.7 with ease, so I was thinking a low to mid 5th class day would be more interesting.... I've never been in this area, so I'm not sure how the route shapes up though in terms of exposure and objective hazards.

Edited by maurop

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In winter, you'd be looking at two days via Pierce Lakes minimum. Depending on how high you can drive up, might be faster via Slesse Memorial. The big problem is that the alders get pushed down by snow and you can get forced to crawl.

 

A west side ascent direct bushwack from Slesse Creek isn't out of the question either.

 

If you're leading 5.7 in summer, 5th class in winter might seem much harder.

 

I would suggest something with a shorter approach as a first winter alpine route - say the NE Buttress of the West Lion.

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Hey G-Spotter,

 

where's the typical winter snowline in this area? Would the Rexford area be the same story in terms of what sounds like a horrendous approach through alder?

 

I'm leading 5.9/10a in summer, but I've only recently started leading them. I'm good on anything that's 5.7/5.8. West lion looks good (5.4 ish?), if you have any beta, that would be awesome. Thanks!

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Typically, the snow is at or near valley bottom so you have to ski or walk from Chilliwack River Road or near there.

 

Rexford is much less aldery.

 

The West Lion is a good route, snowy rock climbing with plentiful trees for pro. Bring some bigger hexes or Tricams; it can be difficult to get large cams to seat in icy cracks but hexes can be hammered in, and Tricams' beaks dig into ice and hold.

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Crossover peak might seem to involved a serious unbalanced ratio of alder crawling and/or snow slogging vs climbing. Maybe a couple pitches at the top?

 

The Nesakwatch spires definitely has a steep approach but in good conditions it can go pretty fast and the mixed climbing up there is great in my experience! The shorter routes are not too intimidating and there is lots of rock gear available, as well as nice thin cracks to torque your picks in and positive flakes to hook. The North Ridge of the North Spire could be fun, we climbed an M5 ish line up the NW face with short cruxes and good gear, descent is easy on the SE. I'd bet Rexford from the col with the south spire would be great too!

 

Another fun route in winter, although with a lot of elevation gain to approach, I'd the east ridge of Alpha in the Tantalus. I've done it twice in mixed conditions, including a couple days ago. The 5.7 pitch feels like a short M4 or M5 and there's a fixed pin. The rest is easier but not boring with some good mixed and classic snow ridges. Again an easy descent to the West.

 

Alpha is a long approach for only a couple pitches as well. But seems a bit more classic overall than crossover! Both have great views to enjoy.

 

Good luck getting out there! It's gotten pretty stormy again it seems.

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Has anyone ever done Crossover Peak in winter? Is it a worthy first winter objective? I haven't been able to find much on it.

 

I don't wanna beat up on you too badly, but the FWA is reported on page 265 of Fairley's guide. Not still in print, I realize, but readily available for research. March 5, 1978: D. Serl with Greg Yavorsky and John Wittmayer.

 

We came at the mountain from Nesakwatch Creek. At that time, the creek was bridged pretty much directly east of the summit. We crossed the bridge and immediately headed uphill, gaining about 3000 ft (with little bush except in the lowest sections) and breaking right (north) into the basins east of the summit. The snow was deep but reasonably settled (it was March) - we did not use snowshoes. We worked our way up the southeastern flanks of the peak, and somewhere along the way put on the rope. There were hazy but mighty impressive views south to Slesse from the top.

 

Our problems occurred on the descent. We intended to traverse the ridge north towards McFarlane, then drop off east eventually. The ridge is narrow and was heavily snow-crested, with occasional small towers and cornices. We passed one or two, then reached a section which didn't look very feasible on the crest. It appeared, however, that we could drop about 100 feet down a gully on the west side and traverse northward beneath the crest. Once we got down this section, however, the traverse didn't look so do-able, and the snow was too steep and deep to get back up without super-human effort, so we were kinda screwed - we had no choice but to try to follow complex branching ridges down west to escape. Somehow, we made all the right choices and didn't get cut off - we didn't even have to rappel.

 

We spent a cold night shivering in our clothes by a tiny fire next to Slesse Creek. In the morning we walked out to the Chilliwack River Road. We must have hitched a ride to the Nesakwatch road, but then, because it was my vehicle, I was elected to walk in and retrieve it - there was virtually no snow at main valley level, so we'd been able to drive the 3km or so along the south side of the Chilliwack, which was where the road ran back then, and maybe another 2km up into Nesakwatch. I can recall barely having the energy to put one foot in front of the other, and of laying down in the sun on a log beside the road at one point and falling fast asleep for maybe an hour. Eventually, of course, I got to the truck and the story came to an end...

 

But this remains one of my favorite winter mountaineering outings. It doesn't have to be hard to be hard!

 

Btw, judging by the difficulties we encountered on just a short section of the north ridge, that would be a HUGE winter undertaking! Go give it a try - the descent could be made SE, via our ascent route...

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where's the typical winter snowline in this area? Would the Rexford area be the same story in terms of what sounds like a horrendous approach through alder?

 

I'm leading 5.9/10a in summer, but I've only recently started leading them. I'm good on anything that's 5.7/5.8. West lion looks good (5.4 ish?), if you have any beta, that would be awesome. Thanks!

 

The secret to success for winter climbing 'round here is to hit the mountains after a warm spell (best is a full-on Pineapple Express which puts the freezing level way up at 3000 m), followed by a cold snap. That turns the lower-level snow into iron, and settles the upper snow too for easy progress. Bush is a problem in early season, but by March much of it is well buried... and the days are longer and warmer too. Outside of these sorts of rare conditions, southwestern BC is not very favourable for winter climbing - there's just too much snow, with too big approaches! But it's fun to try!

 

The West Lion is really good in the right winter conditions. I've enjoyed the 'normal' route several times. Ditto the Ramp on Harvey. Sky Pilot will see renewed traffic now that the tram is in. The West Face of Habrich has been done in winter. But most winter climbs 'round here are snow/ice lines, not 'rime climbs' of the sort you get in Scotland, or drytooling lines like the Rockies. If you DO find a pitch of rimed rock herabouts, my experience was that given the need to clean the rime before you can climb, a pitch of middle 5th class will take 2 hours. You don't get much done in a day in 'technical' winter mountaineering, except by following snow/ice lines.

 

You sound keen, so just get out and do it. Winter mountaineering can be brutally harsh and cold and demanding, plus sometimes frightening, but the rewards of even the 'easiest' ascents are very rich indeed.

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But most winter climbs 'round here are snow/ice lines, not 'rime climbs' of the sort you get in Scotland, or drytooling lines like the Rockies. If you DO find a pitch of rimed rock herabouts, my experience was that given the need to clean the rime before you can climb, a pitch of middle 5th class will take 2 hours.

 

Hey Marc post up the pics from Dione last week!

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Has anyone ever done Crossover Peak in winter? Is it a worthy first winter objective? I haven't been able to find much on it.

 

I don't wanna beat up on you too badly, but the FWA is reported on page 265 of Fairley's guide. Not still in print, I realize, but readily available for research. March 5, 1978: D. Serl with Greg Yavorsky and John Wittmayer.

 

Google didn't yield much, I thought for sure someone here would know. Thanks for all the info guys! Nesakwatch has been an area I've been meaning to check, I've heard way too many good things to ignore it for much longer. I'm pretty keen to get out, I'm just waiting for the right timing. The weekend warrior thing is pretty brutal. Hopefully, I'll have a TR soon.

 

Would love to see some pics from climbing in the Tantalus!

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