Wedgemount Weekend: Armchair Traverse – Sep 14 - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-18-2013, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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Default Wedgemount Weekend: Armchair Traverse – Sep 14

The Armchair Traverse, a rocky ridge connecting Cook and Weart mountains above the Armchair Glacier, is an attractive and classic BC scramble. Plainly visible from the lake, the ridge is hard to miss and beckons you from above to come and explore.

I'd originally suggested it as a day trip but Alex insisted on spending the night and knocking off some more peaks if he was going to do the trail again so quickly after the last time he'd been up there. Now, for the record, I'd actually done it more recently on a birthday hike with my mom (who was a total champion by the way) but I let that slide.

We set out up the familiar trail and dropped our overnight gear at the hut before continuing on to Cook. Alex had already hiked up it and warned me that the Matt Gunn route was circuitous and a little tedious so we decided to shortcut up a gully on the south face. Filling up on water at the last little stream I made sure to bring a little extra as I doubted we'd find any on the traverse itself.

We came onto the ridge just short of the false summit and continued upward to the peak. I thought Cook would be easy-peasy but I was actually feeling pretty worn out once we summit so I decided to take a little nap before the main event.

Feeling refreshed, we descend on loose scree and start to climb again. There's a cool little pool of melt water trapped in a randkluft at the start to the ridge.

The initial climb is class 3 and loose all the way up the first intermediate summit on the traverse. We probably encountered some areas of class 4 because we tried our best to stay on the ridge whenever we could. Fun and nothing too commiting, all difficulties in this segment can be bypassed on the south.

The glacier below provides a great backdrop on one side and the mountains and ridges heading off to Mt Currie fill out the other.

We came down from the first subsummit and encountered a part where we needed to descend a short, unexposed chimney which is perhaps the only strictly necessary class 4 move on the route. It helps that both of us are taller and we could simply reach for the footholds.

Climbing again over loose scree and boulders, we came to the 3 way junction of the ridges connecting Cook, Weart and the Owls and headed due south for Weart.

The very narrow nature of the ridge ascending Weart now becomes readily apparent.

This second section of the ridge was more difficult than the first as we had to climb over or around several small and crumbling towers to continue onwards.

After navigating our way through, all that was left was the final push up Weart. The north eastern face is so steep and smooth that it's a little disconcerting being so close to it. I like a bit of exposure and I certainly got my fill of it here, no question.

We topped out on Weart and by then the sun was getting lower and lower on the horizon. It's hard to leave since the views are breathtaking but neither of us wanted to be descending the lower boulder fields in the dark. We got onto Matt Gunn's route for the descent and finished the final boulder fields in the dark.

We made it back to camp, had dinner and crawled into our bivies on a cloudless and pleasent night. I fell asleep quickly which was good considering that we had more planned for the next day as well.

I was glad to have had the chance to return to Weart as my previous ascent had been socked in and more than one person spoke very highly of the views. The traverse itself is great and recommended for the experienced scrambler. In case you wondering, in my opinion it's not more than class 4. You have to be comfortable with exposure though and I'd also recommend going from Cook to Weart as you'd be downclimbing the majority of the exposed areas otherwise.

Thanks for coming with me Alex, another great day in the mountains!
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-18-2013, 09:32 AM
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Thanks for this TR - sure looks fun!
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-18-2013, 12:19 PM
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That ridge does look like a lot fun. Thanks for the report!
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-18-2013, 01:06 PM
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Awesome. Great late season playground- beautiful light. "Randkluft"? German for "moat"?
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-18-2013, 01:25 PM
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Good one.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-18-2013, 02:11 PM
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Another very thrilling read! Man I remember that day being cloudy and rain.... I might go nowhere this year..
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-18-2013, 03:30 PM
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The sunset shots are good but I really like this one.

How did things look from the col area towards Mount Moe?
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-18-2013, 04:16 PM
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I have heard people give this traverse an alpine grade as high as AD although it seems like a texbook PD to me. Not having done it myself I don't have a dog in the fight though.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-19-2013, 08:48 AM Thread Starter
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@noman: yup, it's german for moat. As I understand it, a randkluft is where a glacier meets rock and forms a moat. It's like a crevasse but only one side is ice.

@simonc: I didn't get a look at the whole route to Moe but there seems to be two obvious ways to do it. From Cook travel towards the first subsummit on the Armchair Traverse and enter the glacier from the col. From there make your way through moderate crevasses until reaching the col with Moe. It's all rock from there. The alternative that might save you from travelling on as much glacier is to climb the subsummit and then descend the ridge towrds Moe. This might be mostly rock although a bit of glacier is still involved.

Here are some pictures that show what I'm describing:

-from below Cook, looking across the glacier towards Moe

-from beyond the first subsummit, looking towards Moe. The descending ridge from the subsummit isn't visible.

@dru: agreed, textbook PD. That being said I'm not really experienced enough with AD to know.

Thanks for the comments guys!
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-19-2013, 11:47 AM
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quote:Originally posted by DoubleE Alpinist
Holy shit that glacier has melted out in the last few years. Here's a pic taken Sept 9, 2007. Notice absence of crevasses. When we crossed to the base of the NW face of Moe, there weren't ANY slots to negotiate. Yowza.

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post #11 of (permalink) Old 09-19-2013, 06:53 PM
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Another great week-end,this was my third time up there.
Great weather for both days,the traverse wasn't that bad as I expected,only few exposed sections.
Too bad that my pole suffered a bit.
Here are some pictures from my camera and will try soon to finish a movie with that traverse.

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post #12 of (permalink) Old 09-20-2013, 05:55 PM
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Thoroughly enjoyed TR. Funny how I am safely behind a keyboard and so far away, yet my heart rate still went up for a moment when placing myself in this picture. Great capture. : )

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post #13 of (permalink) Old 09-20-2013, 07:12 PM
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quote:Originally posted by DoubleE Alpinist

in my opinion it's not more than class 4.
You should change your name to DoubleS Alpinist for scurrilous sandbagger []

You've scrambled Class 5 stuff and seem immune to exposure. You've definitely found your match in Alex, I remember him being almost identical in disposition.

Well done on the traverse, it does look fun though.

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post #14 of (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 07:57 AM
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What is that crossing the glacier? This area always seems to have a lot more mammals on the glaciers than one sees in the Spearhead...
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 12:55 PM
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Yes excellent report and pics.

I was trying to keep my balance in my chair just looking at this pic:

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