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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Port Douglas, BC, Canada.
Posts: 473
Default Harrison Lake to Whistler Village

A Two Week Traverse Across Garibaldi
Climbing Sill Peak, Snowcap Peak, and Mt Pitt

September 11-24, 2013


Adam: ‘Hey Evan, this year, wanna try and get to Whistler from Harrison”?!?!
Evan: ‘Awe ya mate, bloody good time that will be, I reckon'…

Route and Objectives:
A Traverse from Harrison Lake to Whistler Village unsupported while climbing Sill Peak, Snowcap Peak, and Mt Pitt. The next time we would see any sort of road or trail would not be until September 24 while exiting out on Cheakamus Lake, Singing Creek Campground trail 14 days later after leaving a cutblock off of Fire Creek FSR accessed from Harrison West FSR.

Day 1: Started at the usual (2009, 2010, 2011) Fire Creek FSR spur above Fire Lake after being dropped off around 1:30pm on September 11 after driving along the Harrison West FSR for a couple hours. We hiked along the grassy meadows and tarns along the ridge leading towards the Terrarosa Glacier. We set up camp at the first large tarn around 7pm.

Day 2: Headed towards Terrarosa lake which we would set up camp there for a night which would give us access to an exploratory trip we wanted to do down in the upper stave ‘sinkhole valley' before heading up along the ridge paralleling the Stave Glacier; (Rather than going up headwall as in 2011 expedition to Pitt Lake from Harrison, we choose to climb the long never ending ridge which would give us access to Terra Alba and the Misty). A long day finally brought us to the shores of Terrarosa Lake, this time at the North end of the lake, near the outlet. This stopped us from going further as we spent the night devising a plan on how to cross this mini canyon of rapids…

Day 3: Set up a bag hauling system with a 30m dynamic, which would allow us to cross on some rocks and logs, then climbing along the canyon wall, while making a final long jump leap across. It worked.

We then descended down into the upper Stave region. While others took a break before ascending the headwall of the ridge paralleling the Stave Glacier, Evan and I headed off for an hour to explore some lakes and canyons we first spotted in 2009…(to be clear, we did not go into upper Stave, but stayed in the valley east of the glacier to access ridge…less bush.

Reached a high camp on sub-peak of the ridge that evening and set up a beautiful camp on some slabs with some ‘pools' nearby to swim in.

Day 4: Continuing on up and over the high point of the ridge, we made good time considering the numerous ups and downs- it probably would have been faster to go directly up the glacier, but never the less, we came to a short cliff with no safe way to down climb with 30kg packs, so we set up a short rapp and descended down into the alpine bowl and climbed back up to final peak on ridge setting up a high camp overlooking the Stave Glacier on the Terra Alba.

Day 5: Worked our way over to Sill Peak, and summited by late afternoon. Beautiful little peak that Evan and I had spotted from Stave and Misty Peaks in 2011. After climbing Sill, we descended back down onto the Misty. This ice field is quite possibly one of my personal favorite geological landscapes in the province. We headed towards Snowcap…Negotiating some large crevasses, we had to take an alternate route across, by way of a rocky ridge to the east, then back onto the ice field. Thunder clouds were encroaching upon us, and we ‘bee lined' it to a camp above the ice field but below the snowcap which would give us quick access to ascending the Snowcap Icefield the next morning.

Day 6: No go, stormy and rainy. A day of watching Star Trek original series Episodes, Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica TV episodes on my iphone all day while we waited out storm. (dedicated to the era of 1960s, 70s, 80s Mountaineering Legends who came before us in this region in the true style of week(s) long mountaineering trips putting up numerous first ascents, some that have not have seen many repeated attempts…Ya, I read a lot of books at home, I don't need to read a book in a tent while smelling farts, and listening to them snore, long live the iphone and itunes and digital media, and all the rest of the innovations that is courtesy of reverse engineering captured spacecraft.

Day 7: Woke up to some clear weather, and started our ascent up the Snowcap Icefield. Some steep ice and crevasses warmed us up with some low angle climbing in the morning. Beautiful! Reached the approach for Snowcap Peak by noon and summited around 2pm. We found the 1959 BC mountaineering Kodak film canister along with the summit notes and names of people on the trip, 2 separate trips, a month apart from each other. 1959! I love it. After climbing Snowcap, we descended down to Snowcap Lake via Staircase Glacier. Descending down, a loose rocky ridge with car sized boulders would slow us down, and the chunks of breaking ice of the Staircase thundered in front of us, breaking off and smashing like a star fighter blasting asteroids. It was a dramatic descent, with all our hearts and nerves elevated to the max. Reached Hourglass Lake in the evening and decided to camp above it rather than the Snowcap Lake due to darkness closely coming upon us.

Day 8: Hiked to Snowcap Lake, and crossed the natural bridge to the other side for our basecamp on Roller Coaster Ridge, by Tawassus Pass, and set up camp before departing to climb Mt Pitt. We Reached the summit of Mt. Pitt at 5pm via a complete traverse over the ridge onto east summit, down climbed a short section around a pillar of rock then up a chimney crack onto to final ramp, then up to main peak. On way back, we bypassed the chimney and climbed the wall up the east peak, up and over. Reached camp at 9pm where Chris stayed behind for the day and fought off Grizzlies that were reportedly trying to take over our camp…

Day 9: We made our descent down into Tawassus Pass, and reached the forks in the north and east creeks by early evening, setting up camp in a forested section off the main water flow.

Day 10: Headed towards the Pass, back up and over the next valley through the bush, slowly making our way towards the alpine under Mt Sir Richard and Veeocee Peak. If we had clear weather, this would serve as a basecamp for climbing the two. That was a no go. It started raining and snowing on us that evening.

Day 11: Woke up to rain showers, decided to see if we could wait it out for some clear weather. Another day in the tent. We ate a lot of food, and watched a movie on the iphone…2 movies. I love my solar panel charger.

Day 12: Woke up to snow and low visibility, decided to get the hell out. As we approached the higher bowl, we hit solid snow, and a foot of snow on the ground. As we descended we stepped across the toe of the Forger Glacier, which had a light dusting of snow on it, but posed no navigational problems as we were mostly on rock through the pass. Slowly making our way down to the low country, the temperature slowly warmed enough for the snow to turn to rain, but we were soaked and chilled completely through and needed a break. We hit the river bank, made a fire and ate some lunch while we attempted to dry off a bit. After an hour lunch break, we made our way down further into the upper Cheakamus River Valley, skirting the river bank and then out onto a sandy, open wide gravel section where we made camp for the night.

Day 13: The Final Push; Winding in and out of the forest and back and forth onto the river bank, we made our way to Cheakamus Lake and eventually hitting a wide open meadow by early afternoon. The thick grasslands at the head of the lake came into view and we knew we were close to the lake. We found the lakeside trail by later afternoon, and took a lunch break once we were a couple kms from Singing Creek Campground. After we refueled, we charged on through the campground, and onto the wide provincial trail along the lake. The first people we saw in two weeks were at the 3.5km mark along the trail and we spoke with them for a few minutes who graciously offered a ride to us from the trailhead into Whistler. However, once we reached the Cheakamus Lake Trailhead parking lot at approx. 430pm, we had cell service and called Whistler Taxi to come pick us up. The next couple hours were spent eating, cleaning, and hot tubing at Whistler Village Inn and Suites until Kevin and Sheena picked us up the next day.

Overall, a great trip, climbing some peaks along the way, and a great day climbing Mt Pitt in the middle of the traverse...

This trip is dedicated to those who were here before us, during that true era of exploration by local mountaineers in this region during the 1960s, 70s, and 1980s...I grew up reading about these guys and their week(s)long trips, and in awe. While most of the world is caught up in reading about high altitude mountain ranges across the world and the sponsored athletes completing new speed records, we here, right in BC, have had some of the most daring, skilled and courageous mountaineers exploring in our backyard, putting up routes on peaks that didnt see first ascents untill the 1960s, 70s, and 1980s...Truly magnificent and legendary...Walking across the Misty Icefield, I am truly grateful for such a magnificent geological landscape to be so close to my home, and the opportunity to explore it. It was almost as if John Clarke was walking beside us as we crossed that thing.

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 07:21 PM
Off the Beaten Path
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Location: Chilliwack, BC, Canada.
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Fantastic record of our adventure Adam!! Great Expedition :-)

Here are some shots that I took along the way.

[u]Looking towards the Stave Glacier</u>

[u]Views of the TerraRosa & the Stave Glacier </u>

[u]Sill Peak (center)</u>

[u]The Misty Icefields (an Amazing landscape...)</u>

[u]Snowcap Glacier to Snowcap Lake</u>

[u]From Tuwasus Pass, looking back at Snowcap</u>

[u]Climbing Mount Pitt</u>

[u]...and finally, a collection of snapshots from this incredible expedition as an attempt to capture some of the memories...we experienced all types of weather, terrain and many challenges. It was a pleasure to spend time in the mountains with my friends and will remember this for years and years to come. </u>
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 07:36 PM
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Wow !!! What an awesome trip and report !!!
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 07:51 PM
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Amazing 2 week hiking classic, superbly well done Adam and company. Just like the early explorers, a very enjoyable read and see you got a superbly executed trip in and to experience so much terrain that not many venture to experience.

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 08:07 PM
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Sign me up for 2018, I should be able to get some significant time away by then.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 08:10 PM
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Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada.
Interest: Rock and Ice Climbing, mountaineering, AT skiing, xc skiing, backpacking, hiking...
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Super Awesome......That is one sweet ass journey......
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 08:11 PM
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Trip of the year in my opinion. It's awesome that you folks got it together to pull off a trip like this. This modern world bullshit... nobody ever seems to have the time. Also great timing with the weather. Thanks for sharing.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 09:05 PM
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Nice one. There is some great country in there that is a pleasure to share with the goats.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 09:41 PM
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Great report,way to go guys.
Haven't seen you guys for a while,I loved that old note,feels pretty good when you find something like this.
Hope to see you guys and join at your next crazy trip.

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post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 10:13 PM
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Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada.
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how lucky are you guys. To bad the weather crapped out there at the end.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 10:17 PM
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Location: Mission, BC, Canada.
Interest: TO GET OUTSIDE! Hiking, backpacking, canoeing, bushwacking, scrambling
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Crazy awesome. I was wondering what you guys were up to this year for your trip! You guys are true explorers! Congrats on another successful trip!
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 10:18 PM
Summit Master
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Fantastic and eloquent!!! [][][]
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 10:35 PM
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Wow, what an epic trip!
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 09-28-2013, 12:20 AM
High on the Mountain Top
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Location: Whistler, BC, Canada.
Interest: Exploring the Coast Mountains and surrounding ocean waters in all seasons.
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Some historical bits there.

Cliff Fenner was the Superintendent of Garibaldi Park in the '50's and was known for his love of climbing...

Whistler Museum and Archives has a collection of materials he donated.

Article http://blog.whistlermuseum.org/2011/...r-mountain-man
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 09-28-2013, 12:25 AM
Headed for the Mountains
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Too brilliant for words.
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