Monday, July 20, 2009

Terminal Traverse

On Saturday, your guest blogger (Brenda) accompanied Andrew on the Terminal Traverse.

We left after work on Friday and slept at the Illecillewaet parking lot (yay van!). Saturday morning began portentously; the alarm did not go off as planned, and we got up at 4:40 instead of 4:00. Our bleary-eyed cereal consumption was marred by the fact that we had accidentally brought whipping cream, not milk. Undaunted, we set off at 5am.

The trip began with the hike to Perley Rock. It's a tiring 3-hour uphill grind, but Perley Rock itself is a scenic spot beside the glacier. A perfect place for a snack.

From Perley Rock, we continued up the snow and crossed a corner of the glacier to get to the base of the south ridge of South Terminal Peak. Here, Andrew leads your guest blogger jauntily up the glacier. Our route up is the right skyline.

At the base of the ridge, we stopped for a snack and got ourselves ready to climb. The route itself was not always obvious - there was a good deal of poking around, wondering where to go next. The rock was good, however, and the climbing generally fun.

It took longer than we expected, so we stopped for a snack half-way up.

We finally made it to the top of the South peak, and took a well-deserved snack break. We enjoyed ourselves until we realized that we had to get down somehow. This did not come as a surprise, but it did cause some concern, as the way down was not obvious. We weren't sure whether we wanted to go for the traverse to the north peak, so we descended the ledges of the West face in the general direction of the North peak. The way down, much like the way up, was not obvious. Maybe descending more directly from the peak would have been easier, it's hard to know.

Eventually we determined that it would be easier and simpler to just go over the North peak, so we started in that direction. At last, the route was easy to find, and having found our way we stopped for a snack.

The trip up and down North Terminal peak was mercifully straightforward. We took the fast exit down the snow slope, easily over the bergschrund and off the glacier in good time. It was a relief to get off the glacier and stop for a much-needed snack just as a few raindrops started to fall.

All that remained was the bone-jarring hike back down the Perley Rock trail. Judging by the summit register, South Terminal doesn't get climbed very often. It was a long day, but a fun climb. At 8pm we made it back to the van. We found a place to camp, had dinner, and went to sleep.

Total ascent/descent - 2100m
Guidebook time - 12-14 hours
Brenda & Andrew time - 15 hours
Snacks consumed - 2 PB&J sandwiches, 2 cheese sandwiches, 2 pastries, several granola bars

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

West Ridge Mount Tupper

Update June 2017:
Google killed the Picasaweb photo service and the photos in this post no longer click through to larger versions. Here's the album containing the photos:

Craig, Brenda and I hiked up to Hermit Meadows on Saturday afternoon.

Much less snow this year and we didn't even need to dig out a tent platform.

The next morning we got an early start and made our way across snow and braided streams to the start of the ridge. The snow was still quite supportive and there were only a few occasions when one of us would disappear up to the waist with a startled "oomph!".

The route wanders up and down across easy terrain until you reach the first steep part. It looks quite imposing at first but the rock is solid (for a change) and the holds are all there. We were tentative for the first few meters but eventually got into a rhythm as the Tupper glacier began to drop away beneath our feet.

We got the rope out for a little traverse, and then for the 5.6 corner pitch, and before we knew it we were on the final pitch to the summit. We'd been worried about the weather all the way up, but it had held for us and we had great views from the top.

We were 5 1/2 hours up and we spent another 4 hours rappelling, down climbing, and slip-sliding back to the tents. The snow had softened considerably and there were quite a few more "oomphs!" on the way down than there had been on the way up.

We packed up, shouldered our heavy sacks, and trudged down the trail back to the highway. A great trip. More photos here.