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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-19-2014, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Default 5400 (Gotha)

This is not really a peak, but long bumpy ridge overlooking Deeks lake on east side. It is by couple of grades more serious undertaking compared to Mt. Windsor or Deeks Peak in its vicinity. Most CT reports were in snow conditions, when routefinding is considerably simpler and only real challenge is in form of steep snow slopes directly below the ridge. However when dry complex micro-terrain in addition to almost complete absence of trail and flags/cairns makes things fairly interesting. This report will give bit more details in effort to simplify future summer trips. Tracks (GPS turned on at boulder slope on east side of Deeks Lake):

Access is via standard Windsor trail. 45 min to an hour (~350 vertical) from Deeks lake is marked Windsor/5400 junction. Up to this point trail is very well defined and generously marked (orange markers and flags); couple of drainages coming down from Deeks peak are welcome water source on return. Marker points right for 5400; I expected similar trail to continue, but there was nothing - just bush with few fading flags that are far and few in between and you are guaranteed to lose them. The goal is to reach long grassy draw under west side of Windsor where bits of trail and cairns resume; it takes about 15-20 minutes from the junction. Heading up in southerly direction there is plenty of blueberry bush as well as minor cliff band that can be tackled straight on, or bypassed on awkward slope to the left where veggie belays provide assistance. Sub-alpine lies above offering first view of the target, still quite far at this point:

Pleasant going trending slightly upwards ends at little col; from here turn descend a bit to the right and head directly towards 5400. Flags disappear again; goal is to reach obvious rocky gully at the base of the peak, but bushy slopes must be traversed in between. Unsure how difficult this would be I dropped down and visited nice little tarn on south side of Mt. Windsor, fed by Hannover creek. This is not required and caused some unnecessary elevation loss; on return I headed more directly across the slopes above the lake with only mild bushwhack to contend with. Next challenge is wide rocky gully that is easiest to ascend on climber right; only few spots require use of hands, mostly for balance:

Skimpy cairn on top finally indicated I was on right path; I searched for next one indicating easiest breach of the cliffs guarding summit block, but there was none. Hard core scramblers will probably shrug this off and clamber up head on; for the rest of us, here is easiest way (I built several cairns on descent): Bypass initial bluff circling on the right side, then traverse left on grass for few meters. This leads to dirty gully on your right; do not bother continuing further east, as this is easiest spot:

On top angle left across slabs and boulders for couple of minutes, then turn right and ascend steep grass to the saddle, where another cairn greets you. (Very steep gully heads straight down on NW side; do not try to descend this way on return). Ridge and north peak are now minutes away: Ascend on heather, then skirt on the left side and clamber easily up to wide summit hosting size-able cairn but no register. Views are respectable in all directions, but bird-eye view of Deeks Lake 100s of meters below you steals the show (descriptions inside):

Ridge continues south for quite awhile. Initial going is easy, but at one point ridge narrows to knife edge. This bit is very airy; section of exposed and difficult scrambling. In winter it would be downright dangerous. I dropped the pack and descended to the notch, but really concluded it was not worth the effort. If you go, it was worth leaving your pack behind as at one spot you have to squeeze through dense bush. Beyond ridge widens and leads to north end, from where Hannover and Brunswick Lakes can be seen further up the valley.

Return the same way; as you are almost certain to lose the flags in lower part, it is worth considering GPS. Otherwise simply head towards Deeks Peak aiming to intersect Windsor trail. Quick drop to Deeks lake and peaceful dinner time with still water and nice views, despite the haze:

Left lake at 8pm, so last hour was under headlamp. Somewhere along I broke my hiking pole - it was with me on Kilimanjaro and Everest Base camp, but now it found its end on Deeks Lake trail [xx(]

To conclude, this is serious trip - total elevation gain from Sea-to-Sky is over 1600 vertical; 22-23km, with route-finding and non-trivial scrambling tossed in.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-19-2014, 08:15 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2009
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Good to know we had good reason to stop where you did. Katie was barking madly at me right here. : )

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-19-2014, 10:13 PM
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Nice report, have to try that one soon
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 12:40 AM
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Interest: Hiking, Snowshoeing, and Photography. Enjoying the outdoors fresh air and fitness experience.
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Great shots, that is a fair long touch workout hike.

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