Mt Urquhart squeezed into a daytrip - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Default Mt Urquhart squeezed into a daytrip

“Hey, I don't remember this…” were Dean1160's words as we approached the huge pile of boulders on the road ahead. The entire width of the roadbed had been buried by the slide. Dean, social climber, TracyL, and I shrugged off the early setback and eagerly set off on foot, climbing over the mass of fallen rock to continue on up the Cogburn Creek road. The time was now 8:30 am.

We passed various landmarks that Dean was familiar with from his previous trip here 3 months ago with TMC and Walkies. Eventually, some 8 km later, we reached the washout that had been their trailhead the last time. We were setting a decent pace, and we continued from there up the Charles Creek road, bearing left again where it forks east and west.



Although the skies were mostly cloudy and Urquhart itself could still not be seen, the clearcuts of the upper roads now offered spectacular views of the U-shaped valley with its numerous smooth and sheer rock walls and meadowy bowls above. Behind us towered Mt Medissa, reminiscent of the Chief with its rounded bumpy top guarded by rock walls. Tracy suddenly said “Look, there's a bear!”. Apparently it was a grizzly cub, wandering out onto the road about 150 feet ahead. We all stopped in our tracks to admire and to be cautious of any larger bear possibly nearby. The cub retreated to the bush and then to our surprise, walked back out onto the road and then began walking towards us! I think we all became a little nervous at this point, but he stopped again, with his ears in the air, obviously curious. We made some noise and he bolted, this time for good.



Sometime around 12:30 or so we had chosen our route and were making our way up through the slash to the old growth above. Jim had picked up a few ribbons he'd found along the road and now used them to mark our route here and there, and this turned out to be helpful later on. A long slog up through steep forest, bushy in spots, eventually broke out into mixed meadows at around 1400 m. A faint track became evident, with a couple existing ribbons in spots. Above was a blissful scene of waterfalls, rockslides, vast heather meadows, and snow patches. The rough crags and final peak of Urquhart could now be seen, although the top was hidden by clouds. Now to make an ascending traverse to reach the SW ridge at the base of the final peak.



SC was the first to peek over the ridge crest. Harrison Lake could be seen to the SW. The smooth ridge extended in that direction below us and around to the left in the distance. Stubborn cornices clung to the north sides, losing their battle with summer. We all paused here to catch our breath, each thinking about how daunting the final scramble up to the peak looked from here. It was now 3:00.



Each of us knew time was becoming an issue. We focused on the objective now close at hand. I think Tracy was intent on taking on the SW ridge we were now faced with. Others were persuaded that there were perhaps easier lines to the W or NW, so we all began traversing around to the left on tediously steep terrain. We looked at different lines, going further and further, but the rock was not looking any easier and we were wasting time. Before long Dean was back on the ridge at the base, Jim and Tracy were busy scrambling a line they had chosen, and I was somewhere in between. After a few moments the 3 of us had actually just converged on the SW ridge anyway, which turned out to be far easier than anything we'd tried already on the west side. Jim and Tracy were on their way up. Dean was still nearby and mentioned that he'd spotted a pair of goats crossing one of the snowfields below.



Dean hung back, watching the nanny goat lead her kid across the snow and scree and nimbly up the cliffs to a safe spot above. I caught up with the others and we continued up the ridge, which turned out to be quite straightforward and enjoyable. Funny how looking at a route straight on at some distance makes it appear more difficult than it is. The clouds had thankfully lifted off of the summit and we made a brief stop there to enjoy before turning back down.



It was 4:00 when we left the ridge for our return trip. The sun was shining and the day seemed endless. In the back of our minds though was the reality that we were looking at returning to the car after dark. We made haste.

Old Settler

With the last daylight fading at 10:00 or so, our crew stumbled over the evil rockslide to finally reach the car. Needless to say, we rushed from there to town and to get within cell phone range (some of us were a little overdue).

Quite a long but rewarding day, and perfect weather. Thanks Dean for putting this together!
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 01:45 PM
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Neat storylines to your trip and pictures. Enjoyed reading about your adventure and escapades. Curious about that bear, perhaps it got a little far from its mother?

Regards,
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 01:54 PM
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Awesome TR and photos, Shakey. Thanks for the write-up!
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 02:05 PM
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Good job on making summit guys! Billygoats around there eh?
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 02:08 PM
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Sounds like an epic! Well, what less can you expect when Dean organizes it? Thanks for sharing.

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 02:40 PM
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Dean, Tracy and Jason - great company and what an experience! Jason, thanks for a superb TR - very thoughtful and well written and one I'll be looking back on with fond memories. From my perspective, the day was made all the more special with the bear encounter (fuzzy little guy appeared not to have had encountered the likes of us before, curious but eventually turned tail and ran like crazy - all caught on video by Dean), and the mountain goat encounter (visible to the naked eye far up above us on a tiny little ledge, protecting her kid).*
*
Yes, Dean, thanks for yet another epic! Exhausting day but plenty worthwhile.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 02:54 PM
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Good stuff, way to go! [8D]
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 03:24 PM
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I seem to remember Dean spoke of using bikes on the approach. Would that have helped to save time,or was the road in too steep?
Epic daytrip,though,glad to hear you made out so well. Very cool to see a grizzly cub.Never knew that area had grizzlies.[8D]
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 04:07 PM
 
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Good TR Shakey. It was an enjoyable scramble! Dean, I hope you post your videos of the bear and billygoats.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 05:28 PM
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looks like great fun, guys!
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 05:42 PM
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Mick, it seems the jury's out on whether it is a grizzly or cinnamon black bear. Frankly in the heat of the moment, we weren't concentrating so much on whether it had distinguishing features like a hump (which I gather may not be so apparent in a juvenile) or scooped snout, as we were on scaring it back into the slash so we could move on. What we saw was a brown coloured long-haired bear with a long loping gate when it ran off. It was standing amidst large fooprints with very pronounced long claw marks, distinctly different from what looked like black bear prints without the pronounced claw marks. We are waiting to get a closer look at Dean's video. I'm told there are grizz in that area, which was also news to me.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 06:45 PM
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Sounds intriguing, grizzlies are moving back into a number of areas they haven't been for a long time,it seems.
I'm waiting to run into a goat in the North Shore mountains someday. So far I've only seen tracks,but they are up there somewhere
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by mick range

Sounds intriguing, grizzlies are moving back into a number of areas they haven't been for a long time,it seems.
I'm waiting to run into a goat in the North Shore mountains someday. So far I've only seen tracks,but they are up there somewhere
Ah yes goats are shy folk!

Great trip report. I'll look forward to that *ahem* video Dean!
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 07:30 PM
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Great job guys getting it done!! Glad you all made it back OK.
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2005, 08:37 PM
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Stellar accomplishment [8D]. This will be one you remember for a long, long time. Congratulations to all.
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