All Hail! - Slalok 14.08.21 - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
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Default All Hail! - Slalok 14.08.21

Grab a cup of coffee, beer, wine, orange juice (whatever floats your boat) for this tale requires some backstory! You see, it wasn't too long ago that unbeknownst to me, I was exposed to:

McCLURG'S CURSE or (in gaelic) MacLUIRG ORT LACH.

Now I'm sure most have heard of Murphy's Law (whatever can go wrong will go wrong) but what I'm sure you aren't aware of is that Captain Edward Murphy who has been given credit for this saying was actually an irish criminal trying to escape the scales of justice. A man in disguise. A man with nothing to lose. A man with the true name of Barnabus Macluirg...yes that's right. You heard it here first. I managed to uncover this truth through extensive research on my trip to the Emerald Isle back in 1998.

I also managed to find the original words uttered by Barnabus MacCluirg:

Titim gan √©ir√* ort.

Where am I going with this you ask? Well, if you truly translate those original gaelic words you can see that they were actually generalized to refer to whatever can go wrong will go wrong, when in fact the real translation is something more along the lines of

May you fall without rising! - Ah ha!

And so this brings us back to the present. A present that saw me and Leigh McClurg arriving at the Joffre Lakes parking area on a Thursday morning with the vague notion of clambering up Slalok under beautiful sunny skies. Or at least that's what Leigh was thinking about. I had other notions. Notions of science. I needed to know which McClurg was responsible for the curse.

Both subjects pictured below. They seem innocent enough.


Back in 2011 I was unwittingly exposed to the curse when I ran into both subjects on an ill-fated attempt at Mt. Price in the dead of winter in deep snow. Needless to say, I fell without rising and the summit attempt was aborted.


Then later in 2011, I teamed up with the dynamic duo for yet another trip and while the summit was stood on, it was somewhat of an epicly long day that involved me changing a tire near midnight.


Usually an inseparable pair, a couple years ago in Movember Ben and I managed to convince Spring to join us on a trip to Ben Lomond. Needless to say, we fell without rising and we didn't make it anywhere near the summit of ...Capilano!

It was this trip that led me to believe MacLuirg's curse was indeed strong and Spring the source.

A few more epics over the years and I just came to embrace that fact that FSR's would be blocked, snow would be deep, whiteouts would happen, birds would eat loogies, fearing for my life cowering inside of a tent on the side of a road in the Chilliwack valley would feel normal, cameras would roll off summits, and inclement weather would be thunderous! Of course, anyone who has spent ample time in the hills will undoubtedly encounter some of these things and pass it off as mother nature getting a chuckle at your expense, but I knew different. I knew the scent, the taste, the feel of MacLuirg's curse at work!

We set out along the very nicely redone Joffre Lakes trail. I could probably push a stroller to at least the second lake now. (No complaints here)


Views were nice. Weather seemed good to go. We refilled our water just past the Capground/Tszil junction.

Its been said before. The moraine is one cool feature.


Just past the moraine, looking back down. Can you find Leigh?


The clouds started to roll in somewhere around here.


Leigh's been on Tszil a couple times so I went up as he bypassed on climber's left and we met up on the other side.


Looking down at Leigh. Slalok and our route visible behind. Our views were intermittently interrupted by clouds.


It may have been due to the cloud cover, but we were actually almost at the top of the part labeled 'crux' in Gunn's book and looking for the headwall we had to traverse around before realizing where we were. It didn't really look like the pictures I'd seen. Some scrambling shots mostly taken on descent.


The ridgeline was kind of spooky in the clouds, but fun all the same.


Approaching subsummit.


The bit before the summit.



Summit. I tried to cut Leigh out of the picture but somehow he made it in.


Not sure what the keys to our success were.


A couple views here and there. Weird weather. So cold and windy, to so hot and humid the next. If I was a weatherman, I'd almost say it was perfect conditions for a thunderstorm... queue foreshadowing music.


No sooner did we get back across to the subsummit when a thunderous crash from above told me that McClurg's curse was going to make an appearance. It was here, I became super glad I was wearing a helmet as the hail was large enough to sting any exposed flesh.

We added some urgency to our descent as things were getting slick and the hail didn't appear to be stopping. Add in the occasional lightning strike and thunderous crash, and the ambience was downright entertaining. At one point Leigh suddenly shouts "expletive, get down." We'd been talking about 'singing ice axes', and he'd heard it. Sure enough, upon further experimentation, pretty much everything was singing, from poles to ice axes. Throw in the thunder, the crack of hail on helmets, and things were almost orchestracious (not a word, don't look it up).

We hunkered down on a shelf under an overhang to wait things out. It seemed like every time one of us would say 'looks like its passing by,' we'd get a thunderous boom in response. It was actually pretty comical.

Leigh taking one for the team and conducting the choir.


Zoom on Taylor and its freshly hailed slopes.


The storm finally passing by after about an hour.


We finally got a few views with some nice lighting on our way down.


In the end, after several years living under the McClurg curse I only have one final variable to compensate for in order to truly decipher the origins: myself.

Good times!

My hiking career: a selfish pursuit or a pursuit of self?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 12:05 PM
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Excellent detailed photos on the crux. Most detailed I have ever seen. Very helpful. Scary & thrilling looking. Thanks for this.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 12:38 PM
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quote:Originally posted by thecamel
We set out along the very nicely redone Joffre Lakes trail. I could probably push a stroller to at least the second lake now. (No complaints here)
I'm interested in this bit. If I take my 18 month old in a jogging stroller, will I truly make it to the second lake or will I curse you every bit of the way? No boulders / roots / ruts / narrow bits / flooded areas to speak of?
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 12:48 PM
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Awesome trip report Cody! However I do believe the issue is more complex. It seems to be a strange mixture of 1xMcClurg + 1xBoyes = Most Memorable Trips Ever!

Also thanks to you we have been eating delicious Indian food for the past week...so methinks you may actually be our lucky charm!!
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:I'm interested in this bit. If I take my 18 month old in a jogging stroller, will I truly make it to the second lake or will I curse you every bit of the way? No boulders / roots / ruts / narrow bits / flooded areas to speak of?
...ha ha ha curse me...I see what you did there.

Seriously though. On the way up it's smooth sailing except for a pretty steep part that was pretty muddy on the way down. If your jogging stroller has a handbrake then it shouldn't be bad going down that part. Other than that the trail is pretty darn good. they even have a couple spots where they've made some creative pipes through logs coming out of creeks for fresh water.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by thecamel

We added some urgency to our descent as things were getting slick and the hail didn't appear to be stopping. Add in the occasional lightning strike and thunderous crash, and the ambience was downright entertaining. At one point Leigh suddenly shouts "expletive, get down." We'd been talking about 'singing ice axes', and he'd heard it. Sure enough, upon further experimentation, pretty much everything was singing, from poles to ice axes. Throw in the thunder, the crack of hail on helmets, and things were almost orchestracious (not a word, don't look it up).
Spooky stuff - had that happen to us on Seaton (except it was the air that was buzzing, not any of our metal equipment)... got a good video/audio clip of the sound too that still makes my hair stand on end when I replay it.

Good to hear you got down safe.

-Ryan
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-25-2014, 09:29 PM
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Nice one. Glad you guys got down safe
I understand that last notch directly under summit can be very tricky, even dangerous with snow cover.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-26-2014, 12:56 AM
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Nothing like a singing ice axe to keep you lively!
Nice report, tale well told
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-26-2014, 10:04 AM
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Cody, awesome report, but keep schtum about the curse, how are we going to find hiking partners if that cat is out of the bag! It all started when my great grandfather, as a boy living on the coast of County Tipperary, stole a pendant from a Gypsy... but we'll leave that tale for another day.

Here is a video of some of the Thunder clashes. Haven't even been through the pictures yet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzOVqfVSiL0
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2014, 09:50 PM
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I KNEW something was up on all those trips with the McClurgs! The lost cameras, failed summits, whiteout conditions... You've almost cracked it but I think that you might actually have a role in this curse as well. The only thing I'm sure of is that this streak of bad luck has nothing at all to do with me

love that video with the thunder claps, way to stick it out. Well played boys, well played
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2014, 10:54 PM
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I needed the laugh tonight . Awesome trip report!
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2014, 11:48 PM
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Cody on the traverse that stymied Matt Gunn from reaching the summit due to being covered in snow.

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post #13 of (permalink) Old 08-28-2014, 12:53 AM
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That is very dramatic photo

I remember Rambling Bull report from his personal site; early October ascent and notch had thin dusting of fresh snow. He made it, but remark was "Very unnerving; relying on luck and not on skill"
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 08-28-2014, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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Well, lets just say that Leigh has a flare for the dramatic. It's really not that bad...or it could have been the clouds taking away the sense of exposure. I'm not sure.

Spring - I totally forgot about that! The curse lives on! I feared that had I stayed for one beer I'd probably have slept on your guys floor.
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 09-10-2014, 04:24 PM
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Hey Leigh and Cody,

Would you know the round-trip time? Our group's attempt is this Saturday, and we're at odds about car camping or not.

Pardeep
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