With the reopening of the Stawamus-Indian River FSR these past few months life got easier for access to The Sky Pilot area via Shannon Creek FSR. South along the ridge from Mount Mulligan is a minor summit named (officially) Baldwin. Most people don't probably bother with it as it is dwarfed by all of its larger neighbours. But with road access now possible, the inclement weather of late and having the always present urge to ascend something new - well, here's the report.
On Saturday with the promise of clearing skies in the afternoon, Shrubhugger (Ramsay) and I didn't meet up until after lunch. We proceeded to drive to Squamish and take the Mamquam River FSR for 4km or so before turning off onto the Stawamus-Indian River FSR. This is the road that would take you all the way to the head of Indian Arm if not washed out about 10km along. You could probably still bike it if you so wished once all the snow goes near the pass.
The road is in pretty good shape with one waterbar right after the Shannon Creek FSR turnoff. Further along we encounter a grader and a guy working a large excavator. He's building a landing for logging. We had a quick chat and he gave us a run down on the road ahead. Continuing onwards we pass another landing. After that there are a few minor waterbars and then we get to a minor washout at around km 7.2 (685m elevation). Snow started on the other side of that, so we parked there.
First though, I went into the washout on the down stream side to avoid some rocks. Didn't notice the drop off, so the truck bottomed out and got stuck. With Ramsay using some wood as a lever we got out of that with no problems. I dumped some wood to smooth out the drop, but most high clearance 4x4s should have no problem.
Minor washout and parking spot.
We walked up the road on snow for about 1.3km to the pass area (power lines over the road at this point). A couple of minutes of open area and then we enter the forest. A little steep for a while, but the forest is nice and open and makes for a very pleasant ascent.
The grade eases for a while.
Ramsay on the southwest shoulder.
Quite a few clouds still around the peaks, but as the afternoon wore on things were definitely getting better. Baldwin has two summits of near same elevation and we chose to go up the southern one first. It was an easy approach from the south side and some nice views along with a gusty wind greeted us when we topped out.
Ramsay heading up to the southern peak.
Looking at the true summit. Habrich is rear left and Mulligan South (Anif Peak on Bivouac) is rear right.
Mount Sheer to the SSW.
This peak caused us some consternation as to what it was. In the end we figured it to be Hixon Peak. You can see Coquitlam Mountain right behind it.
Ledge is visible, but Sky Pilot has yet to shed it's cloud around the summit.
After half an hour of sight-seeing we drop off the northwest side of the peak and make our way over and up the true summit. Elevation here is a paltry 1495m, but the advantage to that is that all the other peaks look pretty dramatic from here. Alpen is the exception as logging roads and cutblocks cover most of its east side. And, a lot of the higher mountains in the area still have clouds hiding their peaks.
Mount Bonnycastle to the southeast.
Ben Lomond and Red Mountain. Eastcap and Daniels (east of Appian) rear left with Ben More and Ben Lui rear right.
South looking summit shot with Baldwin south peak behind.
The sun is now shining brightly and we end up spending well over an hour on the summit enjoying the late afternoon views.
Mount Jukes, Haggis Peak, Bagpipe, Ben Lomond, Red and Mount Sheer.
Mount Sheer, Ledge, a mostly cloudless Sky Pilot and The Co-Pilot.
Ramsay looking cool
Mount Jukes at left, Haggis Peak centre and Bagpipe at right.
Meslilloet to the southeast. Our route from last year follows most of the rear ridge line from the left.
Even with a stiff breeze we were reluctant to leave, but we did. Dropping off the south face we pick up our up track and start to head down.
We views like this, I didn't mind missing the Canucks game.
Ramsay on the small plateau with the summit and south summit behind.
We drop down to the shoulder and grab a few more pictures before heading back into the open forest and some good snow sliding back down.
One more shot of Ben Lomond and Red.
And a zoom on Haggis Peak.
Heading down through the forest.
This is about as difficult as it gets (as in it ain't).
Back to the road and down we go to finish up near sun down. Round trip was 5.5 hours and we spent over 1.5 hours on the summits, so this was a very easy going trip. Elevation gain was about 810m. After a couple of Mexi Cokes and one of those large chocolate chip cookies we packed up and headed for home
Map of route.