This one has been on the radar for some time and after Alhike checked out the exit route off the peak from the Golden Ears side and refamiliarized himself with the area (he's been up that way something like ten times in many years past) we were good to go. However, the big thunderstorm that occurred on July 25 put the plans on hold for the attempt the next day as wet slabs and bush didn't appeal to us.
The White Dyke is a roughly six to eight feet wide strip of rock that ascends slabs on the northern area of Edge Peak. The plan is too ascend that to the northwest ridge of Edge, gain the summit, then follow the northwest ridge back down to the Golden Ears/Edge broad col and then the Golden Ears trail back out.
The day of the big thunderstorm, Radmilla, Shrubhugger and some other BCMCers successfully did the route before the storm, but got pretty wet on the trail return. After getting a bit more info from Shrubhugger and waiting for cooler weather after the heatwave of the previous week Alhike, Spectrum and myself headed out to Golden Ears Park and hit the West Canyon Trail. As Spectrum's real name is Al as well, I will refer to him as Alan for this TR.
We walked up the West Canyon Trail (Golden Ears Trail) to Alder Flats and then headed over to a dry creekbed. This we follow up for a bit and soon enough a view of Edge Peak and the White Dyke can be seen.
Edge Peak approach. We're heading for the snow patch centre of shot and the White Dyke is the very thin line just above left of that.
Easy walking up the creekbed got us to the base of the snow and a couple of snowcaves.
This one is more of a tunnel than a cave as you could walk right on through.
Alan and Al walking up the snow. The White Dyke visible at right.
I managed to stay on the snow avoiding a few big holes whilst the other two spent some time on loose gravel. Getting a head of them I near the end of the snow and suddenly spot a couple of mountain goats nearby. As Alan had mentioned not much earlier that he had never seen goats (or bears either) whilst hiking I yelled down to them to have a look. This of course spurned the goats to vacate the area quickly, but I managed to get one OK shot of them.
Kid and Nanny Goats.
Looking back down into the valley from where we came from.
Al and Alan got a good view as they disappeared and then I got off the snow and climbed some slimey rock (a lot of loose gravel and rock around here) to get to the base of the Dyke. The A's soon joined me and we took a break and looked at the first part of the climb.
Alan and the start of The White Dyke.
Shrubhugger had mentioned that the first part is the toughest (class 4) and it was. Al headed up trying to stay just on the white rock, but one section didn't look to good so we bypassed it on the right.
Here's the start. The area just above Al's head was the tricky spot.
As I was already heading up into that area I took the lead and carefully scrambled upwards. Some parts made me a little nervous, but things went well and we were either on the Dyke or just off to the left or right of it.
Here is where we bypassed the tricky spot.
And here is where the going was a little easier on the other side of the dyke (where Al is pulling himself up).
What comes next.
By now we were getting into the swing of things and were really enjoying the route. After about 150feet or so of class 4/3 things level off a bit and become class 2.
The going gets easier.
On the upper area.
Still with some steep sections we continue upwards and more route options open up. Anywhere from class 2 to 4 will eventually get you up onto the ridge line (part of the northwest ridge of Edge) and a well deserved rest after ascending about 500m of really nice rock and slabs.
Nearing the ridgeline with scree only present on the last part.
Golden Ears are just over there, but our attention is focused on the steep route ahead to gain the summit of Edge.
Looking ahead to what is next.
We head up on some heather and rock to get to the base of a gully guarded by a chockstone part way up.
The A's, the gully and the chockstone.
With Al leading the way upwards we go. Employing a stem move he works his way up and then up a bit more before bypassing the chockstone (4th class) and onto easier ground.
Here's Alan mid stem with Al above just below the chockstone.
I'm not sure how it happend, but I got in front of Alan. Here he is just after the 4th class move.
After that it's a pretty straightforward to keep going upwards. We do a rising traverse under the lower north peak and then drop down to the notch and then scramble up to the higher south summit (1680m).
Alan below crossing the notch with the north summit behind.
After some handshaking and comments about what a nice route this is we ate some food, took a bunch of pictures and hung out for half an hour or so.
1. Golden Ears with Coquitlam Mountain rear left.
2. Edge north peak with Raven Peak behind it. Judge Howay, Mount Martin and Robie Reid all visible.
3. South view towards Blanshard Needle.
4. Summit shot: Alhike, Spectrum (Alan) and me.
Not wanting to leave any summit unchecked we then headed over towards the north peak of Edge.
Al and Alan crossing the notch between the two summits.
Six minutes later we're on the north peak which offers up a good view downwards to our ascent route from the valley.
1. Alan and Al nearing the north summit.
2. North Summit (1675m) shot.
3. Looking down from the top. Our route starts at right on the creek beds and follows up to the northwest ridge at left.
Dropping off the north peak we head back over to the gully with the chockstone and descend that with no problems, though care was taken.
Al showing how to be careful whilst keeping a smile on his face.
An easy section on heather with Golden Ears behind.
We pass where we gained the northwest ridge and then make our way around a small bump and continue down to the tricky traverse. This is where Al though we might need to rappel as he had done so when up here solo a few weeks back (though he free traversed it then on the way to the peak). However, he traversed it here just like that and I was part way into it before he told me this was where we might need the rope.
The exposure is pretty good and the hand holds not so great, but the traverse was easy enough. Alan came round the corner and he too got through with no problems.
The tricky traverse.
Al on the northwest ridge.
The next section of the ridge was the most bushy of the whole trip and all in all it wasn't that bad. We get to a steep section with a good sized drop off and a rappelling rope in place. Al says, we don't need to do that, there's a route downwards on the left. Here we thrash a bit through the small trees and bush, but it's no problem getting down and then onto easier terrain. As mentioned on Bivouac: the northwest ridge is class 3 to 5 depending on the route taken. With Al to keep us on track it made things relatively easy.
Edge Peak with part of the NW Ridge at right.
Now we were traversing easy slopes heading back towards the Golden Ears Trail near the hut on Panorama Ridge. A stop at a melt water creek had our water bottles refilled and in short order we picked up the trail and started back on the long walk down. The flies hadn't been much of a bother all day (a few horse flies here and there) and this continued to be the case on the return trip.
Partway down the steep trail from the ridge to the old road Al helped a couple of hikers who had lost the trail (yelling directions at them through the trees). We get back to Alder Flats to complete our loop part of the trip and then back out to the parking lot on the rather boring trail from there.
The approach snowfield with the White Dyke rising above it. The upper NW Ridge is on the right and our route to the peak is tucked in behind the right side of the right peak.
Round trip was 10.5 hours with 1480m elevation gained and maybe another 100m or so cumulative. We drove over to Al's place in Maple Ridge where beer was consumed and his wife cooked up a great meal of pasta. Ice cream and fruit crumble followed that and very well satisfied Alan and I headed home happy with another great day on a mountain and something a lot better than MacDonalds in our bellies