Two days after scrambling Mount Vaux with Sonny, I joined So Nakagawa (THE MAN) for an exciting jaunt up Mount French.
I've typed up a giant trip report at my website
but here's the gist of it;
1.Go up French Creek - either side works, we went up on climber's right (winter access) and down on skier's right (summer trail). More waterfalls but a creek crossing on the way up, more avalanche deadfall but no creek crossing on the way down.
2.Approach the French Glacier on climber's left of the first morraine. Should be snow patches you can use most years. (We bashed straight up the morraine but the snow would have been much easier.)
3.Once on the Haig icefield get confused by xcountry skiers training in the middle of nowhere on a great system of trails. Obviously they move fast enough to float over any crevasses...
4.GRIND up the south face of French. For every 1.5 steps forward you slide back 1 step. It's the most fun you can possibly have with your socks (and boots) on.
5.Finally hit the ridge only to realize you are going to lose height right away.
6.Go over some very exposed ridge sections, some very loose ridge sections, traverse some interesting terrain and then climb up a loose, icy, exposed gully to the summit.
7.Try to sign a soaking wet register while taking in the amazing views in all directions only slightly dimmed by fires in Yoho.
8.Repeat steps 1-7 in reverse.
There you have it! A gorgeous day out in some fantastic scenery. Good thing, because the actual scrambling is quite a chore on this mountain. The solid bits of ridge are the best part, but they're in short supply and will make you pucker up - especially with the wind gusts we had. Technically I would not consider this a true 'scramble' since it requires glacier travel and some fairly exposed and loose terrain. By some standards this would be a 'climber's scramble' but don't attempt without knowing your own limits and something about glaciers and their inherent risks.
The approach up French Creek to the French Glacier:
The ascent up the south face of French:
The exciting ridge and summit:
Back along the ridge and to the parking lot: