Saturday, August 18, 2007

Mount Abbott

We escaped from town on Friday evening and spent the night at the Loop Brook campsite in Rogers Pass. We didn't really have any objectives in mind for the next day and the weather forecast was a bit dodgy. We decided on Mount Abbott and perhaps the traverse over to Mount Afton. I'd been up that way a few times before but Brenda had yet to climb either peak. So, a worthy objective!

Abbott is mainly a scramble but it still took us a few hours to reach the top. Combined with our usual leisurely departure time meant that it was well after midday when we ate lunch on the summit. During the week we'd been exchanging email with Bruno and Sheri, friends of ours who live in Connecticut. It was nice to think that they had been at this very spot a few years earlier on one of the Montreal Section's summer camps. Alas, we searched the cairn in vain for a register.

Abbott provided us with a great view towards Sapphire Col. We had been there two weeks earlier with Fred and Junko. In one photo I could get all three of the peaks that we had climbed.

With the weather starting to move in we decided to give up on the idea of continuing over Mount Afton. As we started down I was a bit miffed and declared "You know we probably could have made it. The clouds are still really high and it probably won't rain for at least a couple of hours -- if it even rains at all."

Of course it was bucketing down within moments.

Partway down the ridge a ski pole that was attached to my pack started buzzing. I'll leave it up to this video and photo tell the rest of the story. It was a hair-raising descent.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Eagle River

A change of pace on Sunday -- we canoed the Eagle River from Malakawa to Sicamous. The Eagle runs from east to west along the Trans-Canada Highway from Revelstoke (roughly) and into Shushwap Lake. Fred and Junko used our canoe and we borrowed our neighbour's Clipper.

Click to see the GPS track

It's a nice easy paddle -- mostly flat, flowing water with the occasional small drop and the odd sweeper thrown in to keep you on your toes. The river plays hide-and-seek with both the Trans Canada and the main CP Rail line that runs through Rogers Pass. We saw several trains and each one gave us a quick couple of blows on the horn. The first time it startled me so much I almost fell out of the canoe.

The river runs through a mix of forest and agricultural land. Inevitably we came across some cattle as we got closer to Sicamous. Another good reason to be a vegetarian in my opinion -- it reduces the number of cattle crapping in our rivers.

The flow of the river kept us moving along at a consistent 6-7km/h but it still took us 7 hours to reach Sicamous (the "Houseboat Capitol of Canada"!). A good day, we had fun, but we'd had enough by the end. We saw several bald eagles along the way. No salmon yet. Perhaps in a few weeks?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Sapphire Col

Three peaks in three days - a new record for the "B" group!

With a whole three days available to us this weekend, we decided to make the trip up to Sapphire Col. Using the SuperBus, we camped at the pass on Friday night, and on Saturday morning, Andrew, Brenda (your guest blogger today), Fred and Junco all set off in fine weather for the long and adventurous route to the humble yet beautiful (like your guest blogger) Sapphire Col Hut.
After an hour or two on the trail, we encounter the first obstacle of the day - crossing the raging river coming off the Asulkan glacier. One misstep would lead to soggy feet! Not to be daunted, we collected nearby branches and logs to create makeshift bridges. Obstacle 1 surpassed!

The next test of mettle was a miserable bushwhack through alder and scrubby cedar, which happily did not last long (though it couldn't have been too short). This was followed by a good hour of walking through a rocky meadow between two moraines, which led us to the fourth and most pleasant obstacle - a series of bedrock steps interspersed with small (and not so small) streams. This zen-like landscape took us to the toe of the Asulkan glacier, the fifth and final obstacle!

The final leg of our journey had ups and downs. The down was, as you can see in the photo, a sprinkling of rain. The upside was the sweet anticipation brought on by a helicopter making multiple passes above us long-lining... yes it's true... FRESH BARRELS! Arriving at the Sapphire Col Hut is always a great feeling, but never so great as when we know that clean facilities await.

That evening we made the easy trip up to Mt. Castor.

The following day saw us atop the broad slushy summit of Mt Swanzy via the SE Couloir - a longish grind up a steepish snow slope, which would make a helluva ski in springtime. Along the way we met with a graupel-and-snow storm - normal August weather.

Finally, on Monday, we went up The Dome, by far the most interesting and fun climb of the trip.

The trip out was long and unremarkable - the reverse of the trip in, except that it seemed an awful lot longer. Ice cream on the way home was the perfect end to one of the best trips to be had in Rogers Pass.

More photos here.