Cheam peak- West Couloir solo attempt - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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Default Cheam peak- West Couloir solo attempt

The avy conditions were good and I thought it was supposed to clear up today so I got my Dad to drop me off at the popkum Exit to try and solo the big unclimbed 5,000 ft couloir on the NW side of cheam. I had way to much gear because my parents said that if was gonna try to climb this thing I had to bring a rope and harness and pins and..... ect. I think the idea was that if I got into trouble I could retreat or self belay.
So I arrived at the foot of the mountain at 7:00 and started hiking up the gully, I hit the avy debris in the gully after about 10 minutes and when I hit the first big cliff in the gully I headed left into the forest and hiked around it. I moved into the gully again about 20 ft above the cliff and started climbing the icy gully, after rounding the first corner I could see 3 vertical cliff bands in the gully and instead of dry-tooling them I swam through the ugly forest directly to the right of the cliffs... to me this was the worst part of the days climbing because I hate dense bush and this stuff was nasty. It took me forever to get back into the gully but I made it around all the rock bands alive and climbed 45 degree avalanche runnels for what seemed like a long time until the gully got skinnier and steeper and there was another cliff in front of me. It was really starting to snow heavily and I was going too slow so about halfway up the couloir I headed into the forest on my right and put all my stuff back in the bag and bush thrashed down the ridge. I found a bunch of pink trail markers in the forest that took me directly to the base of the first cliff and saved myself a buch of routefinding down the treed ridge and I got picked up by my Dad at 1:30. I turned around because the weather sucked and I am a wimpy 15 year old and the gully is 5,000 ft and thats kinda big for me when I can't see more than 100 ft either way, but I really have to go back and climb this sucker on a sunny day.


The route from Agassiz


The gulley from the base


The beginning of 5,000 vertical feet of snow


The first cliff, I avoided this one on the left


Avi debris and the first cliff band in the gulley.


General climbing conditions in the gulley, it is steeper than it looks though... about 45-50 degrees.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 11:00 AM
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Wow you are the bravest 15 yr old I ever seen.
Why not do this with another climber/hiker, in case you got into trouble? This time of year I'd assume would be trecherous, hiking up Avalanche Gullies.



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post #3 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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I was unable to find a partner... all my summer climbing friends are not equipped for winter climbing and my other partner was ice climbing in Lilooet, If I was climbing with another partner I probably would have gone a bit further but it was definitely snowing hard enough to make me want to turn back either way. I am also extremely familiar with the area and topography of the mountain so I'm not worried about getting lost on cheam.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 11:38 AM
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Nice work Marc. It's good to see that a person of your age knows where his limits are. Good on you for having the sense to turn around when things go beyond that line of comfort. Very important skill to have.



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post #5 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 11:41 AM
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welcome to CT marc_leclerc!

I got my Dad to drop me off at the popkum Exit to try and solo the big unclimbed 5,000 ft couloir on the NW side of cheam

I don't know who is more brave, you or your parents

good work, and a wise decision to turn back re weather. Pls keep us posted on your climbing and hiking adventures. re taking photos of steep: take the photograph from foot level looking up, instead of from waist level looking up, and you will get the results that you are looking for.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 11:42 AM
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Welcome to CT Marc (doesnt look like a formal welcome has been made yet). Excellent Trip report and a fine attempt on a difficult route.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 12:05 PM
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LoL Marc,

I wasnt thinking you'd get lost, but is possible. It is a long crawl back by yourself on your hands and knees if you easily busted your ankle up there.

Good decision to turn back when you felt you should. A friend of mine went up in that area with one of his friends, and his friend slipped. They had to call SAR to heli him out, but first my friend had to hike all the way back out of there, then go for help, then return with the SAR. This was a few km down highway 1 from where you hiked, but very similar terrain.



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post #8 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 01:03 PM
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Darn good attempt under poor conditions. Great TR with lots of knowledge about climbing and terrain terms. Sounds like you know your stuff well.
Welcome to CT.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:It is a long crawl back by yourself on your hands and knees if you easily busted your ankle up there.

Good decision to turn back when you felt you should. A friend of mine went up in that area with one of his friends, and his friend slipped. They had to call SAR to heli him out, but first my friend had to hike all the way back out of there, then go for help, then return with the SAR. This was a few km down highway 1 from where you hiked, but very similar terrain.
I may have heard about the SAR you are talking about AH, was it in a gully draining the NW bowl of cheam or on a waterfall a 5 or so km's dow the highway. I know what you mean about breaking an ankle up there , I was thinking about that when I was climbing because the runnels were very icy and if I slipped I would be worried about a crampon point catching in the snow... ouch that would hurt!!!
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 01:44 PM
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At the waterfall you mention Marc, thanks Marc for not taking my statements as a personal attack on your skill level. Just trying to bring awareness, however it seems you sensed it for yourself up there.

I can see that view from my balcony:




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post #11 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote: At the waterfall you mention Marc
Is this it? I climb up here all the time..its fun but watch out for a film, of ice on cold days



btw.. is that pic taken from near Morrow or Logan rd...? I live near the Fernie Coombe pool and the Ag Hall so I have a bit of a different angle on the mountain.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 04:29 PM
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nice work.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 04:33 PM
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I think that is it yes, I know one of the guys that went there with his friend and had the mishap. They were looking for fancy rocks/stones etc.

I was supposed to go check it out any day now with the same guy, and he is bringing his metal detector for treasure hunting. The pic I took was taken from across the street from A&W in the apt buildings there.

Nice waterfall pic!



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post #14 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 05:54 PM
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Ummm... I don't know what to say about this...

I don't know you, your experience or the terrain you were in but when I think of a 15 year old in sketchy winter conditions soloing complex technical terrain I don't feel too warm and cozy.

For the viewing public I think the disclaimer “don't try this at home” may apply here.
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 06:06 PM
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Marc is young, but possibly one of the most enthusiastic climbers in the Fraser Valley at the moment.

That said, the current alpine climbing conditions are not very good. The skiing conditions are very good.

good call turning around. & I hope that, despite what you said on cascadeclimbers, you didn't go back up there today!
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