Not sure what possesed me to think climbing Mt Hatfield from the Outram Trail was a good idea. At least I scaled back the plans for a trip to Mt Manson instead, to see what it would be like up there.
Manson is the first peak NW of Outram, Hatfield the second.
Short version of this TR.
The longer version has a few details I should perhaps leave out, though some may find interesting... When I pulled into the Outram parking lot, a couple friendly hikers were just getting ready to start. This was on Sunday, the 11th, around 7:30am. They had two dogs, both on leashes, the guy said they were desi-dogs. He also told me they were from BCMC, knew Coastal Climber, and that I'd better go first.
Good thing too, cause I wanted to get my dog on the trail and out of the parking lot. Sure enough 5 minutes later his hounds showed up, luckily he had a whistle they responded to. So I kicked it into a higher gear and motored to the 2km mark, stopping to get a drink. Unbelievably, they were still right behind me. This really got me going and I took off full speed. At 3km I heard a dog bark, then the whistle again, it was unreal how they were matching my pace. Finally, they must have stopped for a break, all became quiet as I pressed on up through the meadows.
Reaching the small tarn above the camp in 2.5 hrs shaved about an hour or more off my usual time, plus I still felt fresh.
The point where I left the trail.
Start of the traverse.
Cutting across this first alpine slope was easy, I was making progress...
There was even some fresh water.
Past the meadow the terrain became bluffy, mixed with trees, it was starting to suck. The trees cleared a bit and I could see some sort of channel down below that obviously originated from the cliffs looming above me. It only made sense to go down, way down, then over to the groove.
Had to drop even more.
At least now I wasn't on a side-hill, but the basin was spoiled by a series of, I'm not sure what they're called - lateral moraines? You know, rock piles.
The head of the basin split into two steep slopes, I took the first one figuring they'd join up. Which they did, combining in a steep wide gully - alpine on the sides, scree down the middle. By the time I'd climbed up over 1000 feet vertical from the basin, I was ready to admit that Outram was bigger than I'd expected and call it a day. At long last I crested the slope and got my first view of Mt Manson.
Hatfield behind, Tulameen in distance.
It had taken 4 hours to get to this point, 6 was my guess on how long it would take to get to the top, so I scooted over to the connecting ridge. At a certain point, the geology changes from Outram rubble to solid granite. Passing over this contact zone, then seeing the nice lakes below me, it seemed like this was going to be fun.
By now the heat was becoming oppresive, and it was annoying to find shelf after shelf of rock to bypass. Tried scrambling a couple, but that was just wasting time. Then there were a few gaps, these were taxing, more up and down. A heathery knoll provided some easy hiking, and I could see an easy way to get down to the lakes.
The whole area was unusual blocky, pillar-like granite, mixed with krummholz. Interesting to look at, not too bad for scrambling. The summit itself was mostly a set of columns and formations.
In total it had taken almost 6 hours to get up Manson, even with the speedy start. Looking back towards Outram, I had a strange feeling, kind of like being homesick. We didn't stay long, and began to work our way back.
Had to climb up to lower snow patch.
At the divide I took one shot of the West ridge - looks doable.
Descended carefuly down into the basin, then across the moraine.
All the uphill late into the hike, combined with the heat, was becoming too much for my dog. No choice but to go up, then up some more. It was quite a relief to be back on the trail, though there were still 8.5km to go. I've always enjoyed the creek crossing spot, and we spent more time there than on the summit. Refreshed, we finished off the trail in just over 11.5 hours from the start, total elevation gain around 7000ft. Not sure if I'll do this hike again, though I felt great afterwards. Going all the way to Hatfield is beyond my range for a daytrip, that's for sure.