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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-26-2014, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Default Chekamus > Singing Creek > Russet Lake

Day 1: Chekamus to Russet Lake

Every now and then you hear a whisper of a route. Some prize, a prospects, a possibility to connect two interesting hikes. Rumors of a guy who did it, but no one is quite sure. Once the notion forms, it gnaws at your brain until you finally succumb to its torment; such was the Chekamus Russet Lake connector.

Sunday/Monday were my allotted hiking days. Raindrops fell so hard they rebounded a foot into the air upon touching the ground. My heart sank as my mind reminded my hands to pack the Goretex, this was going to be rough.

At the Chekamus parking lot, the rain had all but vanished. "I'll bring the Goretex as back up, I won't need the Goretex socks", toss.

Zebra had purchased a new sleeping bag, but still only had a day pack. I knew what that meant. It's training I told myself, training. I stuffed whatever gear I could fit into my 85L Gregory and buckled in. It's flat to the end of the lake, a little bit of up, and you're there. It won't be so bad.



Everyone we passed commented squarely on two things: 1) "That pack looks heavy" and 2) Chekamus to Russet? How? I didn't think there was a trail.

Chirpily I replied, "there's a flagged route". How little I knew, how foolish the words.

7km into the trail we were stopped by Ranger Lindsay. Her mountain bike resting on the forest floor she approached us almost shyly to request our proof for payment for the back country. As of 2011 Chemakus (the last free camping area) became pay per use and few people realized that. Lindsay, who is also part of Squamish Search and Rescue asked me to spread awareness about the fee changes. It's $10/per night/person and you can buy it here: http://<a href="http://www.env.gov.b...nging.html</a>


We hiked another 3km to the end of the trail, I could already feel the weight of the pack.


Pink and blue markers mark a trail around the lake but we couldn't find any special trail markers that went "up" after the supposed 600m past Singing Creek. That whole area looked overgrown and bushy so we elected to walk further and find a more suitable spot to begin the ascent.



Contrasted against most BC bushwhacks this was paradise. Mossy forest floor, well spaced trees, almost no under brush in the lower section. We passed game trails and rolled slightly right over steep ridges. Since there was no route, trail, or even a foot bed, it was anything goes in terms of an ascent path.

Zebra took a compass bearing, I had the GPS. He bounded up the trail unburdened as I slogged along. I've been on steep trails before but this, this was a new level of suffering. My ankles were actually sore from the 30 degree angle I was asking them to keep for 1.1km. After the moss turned to pine beds, the angles got even steeper. I was crawling up with my hands more times than I could count.



Today I could appreciate how Zebra felt on previous hikes. I was the one playing catch-up. I was the winded one. I took way more breaks than usual. I had to weave in and out of the dead fall that Zebra simply stepped over. A 45lbs pack in this terrain was brutal, bulky, and terribly inefficient.

The rain returned but the canopy provided cover and a little sprinkling was welcomed at this point. We took bearings and continue, ever up. Finally by some miracle we reached a boulder field (which was mentioned in some reports).



I insisted on Goretex at this point. It was a downpour and the rocks provided no coverage. If any photo wholly and completely summarizes this trip and how I felt, sure this one is it!

.

But my suffering wasn't done yet. The boulder field was a tease. Too short, too sweet. What lay ahead was miserable. A forest burned from below. Roots charred but trunks untouched. This fire burned in the ground and when all the roots were dead, all the trees fell like match sticks criss-crossing on top of each other to form a giant obstacle course. It was utterly exhausting with the pack. It required nimbleness I didn't have. A misstep on the wet slippery logs meant being turtled and speared onto dry branches. The pack snagged, my stubborn resolve kept me going. It took nearly an hour to ascend 50m in this stuff.



1300m, 1400m, 1500m. Up we went. The rain relentless, our pursuit equally so. The shrubs arrived, no longer were we traveling wide spaces, which meant only one thing. This was a day when the true measure of gear was going to be tested. Every shrub made me wetter. My hands were cold and wet and veggie belays were the order of the day. I slipped and slipped some more.

At some point we noticed another change; a flower here or there. We were nearing the last three elevation lines Zebra's spirits lifted and he stood on a rock joyfully describing how to suck out the nectar from the Indian Paintbrush flower. Unfortunately his timing sucked. I was in the middle of negotiating a very slippery and dangerous traverse. I looked up and said..."Really? Really? Right now you want to tell me how to suck the nectar of flowers? Can it wait?"


Ironically it was the heather, flowers, and grass that soaked my boots. The Goretex had long given up. I was soaked to the core and the wind was blowing. My boots literally squished. Everything around was in a while fog and I nearly tripped over a rock Ptarmigan.


I almost limped to the hut. I was miserable. My priorities were warmth. I set the stove to boil water, pulled off the wet clothes, pulled out my sleeping bag and hid inside for a solid hour. Somewhere in there, incredibly, arrived two more wanderers; Nigel and Megan who had ascended the more reasonable Singing Pass. They too were soaked to the bone and shivering. We all understood the blessed warm silence of hands cupping tea.

Fissile was in white out conditions. There was little chance we would see it, let alone ascend it the following day. It was time for a well deserved feast, rest, and repose. Zebra and Lady Red had engagements for the morrow and they could not be missed.

The sleep was almost comfortable. Except for the mice that ran across our faces in the middle of the night. Sigh.

Day 1 specs:




Distance: 17.2km
Elevation Gain: 1100km over 5km



DAY 2: Mountaineering Etiquette

Cover

Etiquette of Dress

Etiquette of Posture 1

Etiquette of Posture 2

Etiquette of Cleanliness

Etiquette of Hands

Etiquette of Footware

Etiquette of Sitting

Etiquette of Conversation

Etiquette of Being a Gentleman

Etiquette of Hunting

Etiquette of Dining

Etiquette of Style


SINGING PASS



Fissile decided to come out only AFTER we had to depart. Hmmph.

We descended the Singing Pass trail. Not much to report there except that all the flowers are in full bloom and a few bridges are washed out near the bottom. My knees were aching and I craved Pemberton Potato Pizza from Creekside Bread. I dare say I DESERVED it!






Distance: 16km to car from Hut

Enjoy the sunny weather this weekend and remember to have fun
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-26-2014, 06:00 PM
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Thanks for posting this!! Singing Creek to Singing Pass have been on "my list" for awhile. Really glad to "see" someone do this trip.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-26-2014, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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quote:Originally posted by Marc

Thanks for posting this!! Singing Creek to Singing Pass have been on "my list" for awhile. Really glad to "see" someone do this trip.
Happy to provide our GPS track if you'd like...just let me know.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-26-2014, 07:48 PM
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Please, please post your gps track or email it to me marcjboudreau at gmail dot com I'd love to have this track file.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-26-2014, 08:00 PM
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Entertaining read. For some reason I skipped over the dining slide and happened to see it after. Put the spork over whichever ear is opposite the fine diners.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-26-2014, 11:15 PM
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Mmmmmmmmmm Indian paint brush nectar
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 12:21 AM
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hmm etiquette, good read fer sure
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 02:27 AM
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Those packs and that route up looks like some serious business. Quite the unique TR I must say. I got a kick out of the etiquette of hunting and the marmot bear
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 12:10 PM
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"Elevation Gain: 1100km over 5km"

Oh yeah that's some decent hands and knee suffering/grovelling. Well done
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 12:16 PM
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great trip report!

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post #11 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by LeeL

"Elevation Gain: 1100km over 5km"

Oh yeah that's some decent hands and knee suffering/grovelling. Well done
Lol, well it sure felt like it! Thehehe 1100m
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 03:09 PM
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You have boundless energy and very unique style of reporting that is both informative and entertaining. Well done! Poor zebra though, I heard these creatures don't really like rain

I wish you success with what you are training for
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 03:17 PM
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Mmmmm, snow chicken.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2014, 12:51 AM
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What happens when a slightly deranged artist goes hiking? [^]
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2014, 01:45 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by guntis

What happens when a slightly deranged artist goes hiking? [^]
Clearly the symptoms of either severe Photoshop withdrawal or delayed onset of hallucination from the week of all-nighters I had to pull for a project. The "artistic" mind is beyond explanation. I can't promise anything more "sane" in the future
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