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mwakoja 08-31-2012 04:28 PM

Blanket Glacier

Finally on the edge of Blanket Glacier looking over at Tsuis which I went up in 2008 and first saw how extensive the Monashees are.
I booked 4 days off, loaded too much into my pack and headed out at 6am from Vernon. Going past Sugar Lake almost all the way to Greenbrush Lake where the road heads up the old logging roads to 1300m and it becomes completely overgrown. I tried hiking up the road but that was futile. The bush was crazy. Heading straight up wasn't much better. Gross bushwacking till 1850m. The only saving grace was the blueberries to keep snacking on. It rained hard for 10 minutes and made all the underbrush wet, of course I didn't bother to stop and put my gators on and got my shoes drenched.
The alpine hiking was very welcoming and I'd take the mosquitos over the bush any day.
There were these signs all over the ridge keeping snow mobiles out of the protected area.
After nearly 3 hours I dropped my pack under Armstrong W3 and headed up there.
The summit registry jar was almost imposible to open. There were names every 3-5 years, heading back to the mid 80's. From there I headed south along the ridge making my way towards Armstrong W4.
That little summit made me work. The travese wasn't too difficult but there was a subpeak after 2km that got in the way. On my way I went up and over finding a little shoot to scramble down. Hitting the summit of Armstrong W4 there was no sign of life not even a cairn, so I built a small one on top.
After getting to my pack the clouds rolled in and the rain started, I dropped down a snow patch and pitched camp in the col between Armstrong W and W3.
The rain continued all night. My tent has these little plastic windows on the fly, they both ripped off in the wind and the rain kept me fresh all night long.
I love to sleep and since the rain kept up I slept from 7pm till 9am. Yeah, 14 hours of sleep!

My plan was to pack all my gear across the glacier and set up another camp in the valley north of the glacier and day 3 go up Mulvehil.
Day 4 would be an bruttle bushwack down to Greenbrush lake, around the lake and then hike back up to my car. Since the weather man was calling for more and more rain and there was little visibility and since the first bushwack was short in comparison, I opted for leaving my tent where it was and going up Blanket and back.

So I put the crampons on the only time on the trip and had fun powering up Armstrong W. It wasn't overly steep snow but made quick access to the top.
From there it was slidind down the snow along the ridge line and going up Shawl Peak
and Armstrong Peak
and then skirting around to the north ridge of Blanket. The whole area was littered with flags and markets left behind by those who can afford heli-skiing.
The clouds kept coming and going, giving me periodic views to help with route finding across the bare glacier.
A quick scramble up the rocks and I was on top. From there the views opened right up and I could see Cranberry (which is also on my hit list)
and beyond all the way past Fosthall.
I headed back to camp and made it there by 5pm. Packed up really quick and decided to hurry to my car before it got dark.
Sure I booked four days off, but I finished my objects so no point waiting around.
The bushwacking going down was a bit easier, grabbing onto the blueberries and alders and letting myself down bit by bit. easier but still torture.
It was getting dark and the car was a welcome sight.
overall, great times in the mountains all by my lonesome self.

mwakoja 08-31-2012 04:31 PM

I forgot to say that the rain the made me wet all night was about 3 inches of snow higher up. Took all the slip out of the snow on the glacier

RichardW 08-31-2012 07:18 PM

Wow, exciting trip! Did I understand correctly that you parked at 1300 m? Presumably this would be the waypoint 001 on your Google Earth image? What are the roads like up there?

mwakoja 09-01-2012 10:12 AM

That's right, I parked at 1300m. That is about 4km of driving an alright road in my toyota echo up and up. The growth on the road gave the bottom of the vehicle a good brushing. And yes, that was the waypoint 1 on the google earth map.

billk 09-01-2012 11:19 AM

Thanks for the TR and the pics. I backcountry ski this area from the Blanket Glacier Chalet/cabin and it is interesting to see this in the summer.
Winter pic to compare to your last two pictures.

We have seen snowmobilers right up on Blanket glacier but not in the last few years.

Links to more winter blanket pics if interested.

mwakoja 09-01-2012 12:24 PM

I thought I saw cabins when looking down the glacier. Are there any access to those in the summer?

solo75 09-01-2012 12:47 PM

Nice TR...looks like a great area to explore around.

billk 09-01-2012 02:56 PM

I think the owner of the Blanket Glacier Chalet/cabin only operates it during the winter for backcountry skiing. There are no summer hiking trails from the East or West so lots of bushwacking to get there.

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