Cheam Peak - Up the North Face Before it Melts!!! - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Default Cheam Peak - Up the North Face Before it Melts!!!

After my grade 12 graduation this past weekend I wanted to kick off my summer by doing something big and committing and to do it solo. I look up at the North side of Cheam every day and I had noticed that the 1976 route on the North Face looked to be in nice condition, so I put that on my itenerary.
Cheam Peak has some burly relief on the north side rising just about 7,000 ft from the highway to the summit, the first half of this gain in elevation is mostly steep, dense bush and the upper half is composed of a mixture of steep snowlopes cut by steep rock bands of crumbling choss.... perfect!
I packed up my bag, bringing no rope, harness, or protection other than my ice tools. I threw in some food, 2 liters of water a sweater and some shell pants too. My parents forced me to carry crampons even though I knew I wouldn't need them.... I mean seriously, I'm graduated!
I set me alarm for 5:15 AM and slept a few hours, then I had some breakfast got dressed and woke up my Dad to give me a ride over to the base of the mountain. He dropped me off on a powerline road branching off the Highway just East of Bridal Falls. I started hiking up at 6:00, hit the creek draining the face in a few minutes then reached the wooded ridge I would follow a few minutes later. I was hiking up a bear trail low on the approach when I ran into a big black bear. I the bear politely let me pass and I had no other encounters for the next two hours of thrashing up the ridge. At 8:00 I emerged from the forest onto the moraine and snowlopes below the North Face. I got my first real view of my objective then and was rather intimidated by the large steep face. I ate some food then hiked up the snow to the left of a large rocky outcrop then cut back right onto the knoll at the top of the outcrop. I started the technical climbing above the knoll at 9:00.
I traversed some steep snow right of the knoll, then skirted around the bergshrund on some rocks to the right. I climbed up a short but terrifying rock step made up of crumbling, wet choss sprouting moss and grass. It was probably only about 5.4 but it was extremely dicey, especially the last 15 ft which was pretty near vertical. Above this I hit the long, right trending snow ramp leading to the NW ridge. This section was tiring and took a long time, I had to be careful not to slip and fall down the face but not linger too long and get hit by rocks falling from the summit. By the time I reached the upper NW ridge I was pretty tired of snow so I avoided the upper section of the ramp by climbing rocks to the right. The headwall was surprisingly easy but very exposed and the rock was awful. The last 200 ft to the summit was loose, exposed and steep, but 4th class gravel covered ramps led to the summit ridge and I topped out just west of the summit at 1:00. I few victory whoops later I was on the summit enoying some 'pop tarts' and cold water. I descended the west ridge then glissaded easy snow slopes into the bowl below the NW face and hiked a long ridge beside the drainage gully draining the NW face. The descent was quite fast and I reached the Highway at 4:00 PM, making this a 10 hour round trip... not bad. Overall the route was pretty loose and exposed but definitely worth doing once. For a grade like 5.4 and snow to 45 degrees it is quite serious. Definitely my biggest, most commiting solo yet.

Pics:


A long way to go... from the approach.



Me and the North Face..


Objective


Up the snow and rock bands, then around the corner onto the ridge.


Looking down the NW ridge... I came up from behind the ridge.


Looking west shortly before topping out.


Self Timed shot of me on the Summit.


Edited photo showing my route, I had much less snow, the rock crux isnt even exposed in this shot!
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 06:13 PM
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Nice report. Where are the pics`?
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 06:19 PM
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I take my hat off to you, young man...
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 06:35 PM
 
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next time you want to do cheam let me know im down for doing it while there's still snow

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 06:36 PM
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You went right across the chocolate swirls! That climb is one hell of a personal achievement.



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post #6 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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quote:Originally posted by AcesHigh

You went right across the chocolate swirls! That climb is one hell of a personal achievement.
Yeah, there is some objective hazards from the rockfall on this route.. but i only got buzzed once. Mind you, that falling rock was only 3 or 4 ft from smoking me, I picked up the pace after that!
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 06:51 PM
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This is a route less travelled young man! Good Job
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 07:31 PM
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 07:37 PM
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Wow, well done. Kudos.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 08:40 PM
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Awesome and well done trip. Hazardous and hairy, but you had a lot of fun and sense of accomplishment of doing this.

K
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 08:46 PM
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Very nice, Mark. That is a big old feather in your cap for sure. [8D]

Now you can point out your window and tell all your friends amd relatives that, "Hey I climbed that". Excellant!.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 10:39 PM
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Wow Mark, your already a fantastic climber, I cant even imagine what you'll be accomplishing ten years from now. Awesome achievment! [8D]
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 11:01 PM
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Congrats! On both graduating and what reads as a great trip
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 11:07 PM
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[8D]
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 11:07 PM
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Very cool. Congrats on both achievements Marc!
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