Last year I spent a couple of days in the Hope Creek area off of Hurley River Road to check out some peaks. It's a really scenic area so I planned to come back the following year.
Mystery (Sockeye) and Beaujolais
Culater (Vlad) joined me this time round and we drove up Hope Creek Main (2wd) and then onto the east branch (4wd) to near end. Following the route in The Scrambles in SW BC book we gained the broad bowl west of Beaujolais and started up it. Lot's of wild flowers around and plenty of mosquitoes and horseflies too.
Vlad side-hills around the toe of the southwest ridge of Merlot before dropping into the valley. Beaujolais off in the distance.
Wildflowers with Tenquille area rear left, Chipmunk centre and Brown Molar with Canine at right.
Gradually gaining elevation we reach the pass between the south peak of Merlot and the northwest ridge of Beaujolais. When I did Beaujolais last year I came up the eastern side from Mystery and went down the southern ridge part way before dropping back into the bowl. The northwest ridge would be a new route up/down for me and it's Vlads first time in this area.
It looks like this. Southern ridge going off on the right.
We take a quick break and look at some of the other peaks in the vicinity. This pass has the Sockeye Creek Headwaters on it's northern side and a Birkenhead River tributary on it's south side.
Pano of Merlot South and Main with the ridge leading to Valpolicella at right. Sockeye Creek Headwaters Lake below.
I left my pack here as I would be coming back soon and we started up the ridge. The crux is an angled slab that makes for a fun but short scramble.
At the base of the slab. You can go up talus to about half way then angle back right. One section has small holds but the rock is good.
Here's Vlad on the small holds section. Little bit of exposure.
Beyond that it's a good scramble to end up on top and some good views. Some haziness in the air though.
1. 2445m Summit shot. The Tolkien area rear centre left.
2. Looking northeast: Cadwallader area rear left, Whitecap way back centre, Tolkien area centre right to right. Nice lakes below.
3. Southwest view down the valley we just came up. Tenquille to Semaphore and Sampson area fills the rear.
4. Vlad on the peak. Valpolicella the first peak in the distance with Peak 8200 behind it. Mount Noel rear left.
5. Mystery Peak to the southeast - that's where Vlad is off to next.
As we were splitting up I'd brought the radios along. He set off down the south ridge a short way and waited to make sure I got back down the crux okay.
Looking down the crux from the top of it. Merlot South and Main Peaks behind.
The descent went fine and I got back to the pass and grabbed my pack. Looking at the high ridge between the two Merlot peaks I could see how discontinuous it was. I had an idea of dropping off the pass right here and dropping down to the lake then up the other side to gain the ridge past Merlot. There I could go one way to hit that peak then double back and continue along to Valpolicella.
However, the walk up to the lower south peak looked good so I quickly ascended that and topped out, scrambled the big boulder that is the peak and looked at how I could get to the true summit. Meanwhile, Vlad was heading up Mystery and chatting with a couple of campers in that area. He'll fill in some details hopefully of how his day was going.
Looking down the Upper Sockeye Creek Valley from Merlot South Peak (2330m).
The view from here didn't look to promising for me to get off this peak and over to the next one. A sharp angled block dropped down to the high ridge. I wasn't going to try scrambling down that. I went over to the north side of the peak and a wall of rock dropped away on most of that area too.
Nestled between this wall there was a gulley. It was steep, it had loose rock in it, I did not like the look of it either but I was out of options unless I wanted to retrace my steps. I headed over to the uppper part by descending solid rock to a ledge. Traversing into the gulley I then trundled some loose rocks and watched the speed inwhich they crashed down on to snow slopes below. I couldn't help but imagine my body doing the same thing.
With the obvious loose rocks out of the way I stepped down onto the bigger ones and carefully downclimbed. Reaching a drop I then traversed to my left on a ledge until a flake got in the way. Not being able to squeeze by it or drop down I took off my pack and jammed it atop the flake. Grabbing the top section with my hands I then lowered myself and did a hand over hand along part of it's length to reach the other side and a place where I could now put my feet.
Grabbing my pack I dropped down on smaller rocks (sending a few more on their way) to a dirt section. The runout on this didn't look the best but I could kick my heels in good and got down that most of the way to then get back on good rock again.
Rough idea of route down the gulley.
Good rock quickly gave way to an angled snow slope and then I was on safer ground.
Broader view of the rock walls and gulley.
There was another rise in front of me but I found a way to get down that and work my way along the slopes below the ridge. The ascent from there to the summit was easy and I'm soon relaxing and enjoying the new views.
Where I just was.
Where I just was an hour and a half ago.
Where I'm going.
The view towards the Upper Noel Creek Valley.
Summit (2350m) shot.
Shouldering my pack I have no issues dropping off this summit and continuing down to the low point of the ridge leading to Valpolicella. The terrain looks good in all directions from here. Especially the route down to Upper Sockeye Lake and then back up to the Merlot/Beaujolais Pass.
Leaving my pack again I continue along the ridge towards Val. A very defined goat track bypass some bumps along the rocky ridge top. The radio beeps and it's Vlad telling me he's on the summit of Mystery.
Goat trail visible. Peak in the distance.
Regaining the ridge crest it's a great and scenic route up to the summit on rock and talus with a bit of snow. I call Vlad to tell him I'm on top. He's still on top too so I grab my camera and zoom it in.
Peak 8200. Looks like a good trip from here. Noel Creek FSR's would also give access.
1. Left of 8200 (Noel Creek Valley)
2. Right of 8200 (Sockeye Creek)
1. Looking back.
2. 2400m summit shot.
3. Mystery and Beaujolais across the Upper Sockeye Valley.
Summit panorama - north to south.
Vlad was heading back and we figured to meet up around 7pm near the wild flowers seen earlier in the day. With some reluctance I said goodbye to the summit and started back.
Grape day out - Beaujolais to Merlot to Valpolicella.
Getting back to my pack I then dropped down and made my way over to the Sockeye Creek Headwaters Lake.
The route to the lake (then back up to the pass).
The snow still in the water at one end calmed the ripples enough to get a nice reflection of Beaujolais.
Ascending back to the pass I had another quick break, took a few more photos then started to retrace the days earlier steps.
One last look at Merlot and Valpolicella.
The bugs had left us alone on the ridges and peaks but further down the valley the mosquitoes soon showed up. At one point I could see Vlad coming down the other side of the valley so we were both on time and on track.
I ascended back to the shoulder and waited a bit. Vlad was staying a bit lower so I continued on and then dropped down to the pass near the road. He then got cliffed out I so kept going and we met up on the drop down from the pass, crossed the two creeks and emerged at the road and the vehicle.
9 hours round trip and we still had some daylight to set up camp and make dinner. Good thing Vlad brought a stove as mine would not light up. A fire was lit to help keep the bugs away and I stayed up later drinking some beer and looking skyward for any meteors. None seen though.
Sleep was okay and the next day Vlad rouses me and we make breakfast and head off in the same direction but go right this time at the pass near the road onroute to some peaks named after teeth. TR to follow.
Map of routes.
Next day TR: Canine and Brown Molar https://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topi...TOPIC_ID=51541