I'm not too sure about that old saying "what doesn't kill you will only make you stronger" as I'm pretty sure the person who said it didn't have kids. In fact, I'm under the impression that if I didn't have kids I might live to 120. As is, I'm holding out hope for 70 quality years. To think I actually had color in my hair 5 years ago...
After almost 3 months of limited outdoor adventure, including one month of every seasonal illness the season could muster, I needed to get me legs underneath me and hack/farmer’s blow out the ball of phlegmatic unfriendliness currently afflicting my lungs and sinuses.
Two weeks ago I tried to recruit a few souls to head out behind the Lions in an attempt to stand on one of those unofficially named enchanting destinations. I had a couple bites but as the day dawned, it was just Patrick (Redbeard) and I pushing our bikes up the oft-traveled road out of Lions Bay.
Whoever said “A squeaky wheel gets the grease,” obviously wasn’t accompanying Patrick up the road. Had I been sporting the mullet I had before shaving my head for the cancer cut a few weeks back, I might have been able to supply said grease. I tried drowning out the squeak with hacking coughs and diaper stories all to no avail.
Short story long, we were at the part where the HSCT drops down between the camel’s humps when Patrick realized he’d left the stove on while I realized I had the lungs of a 90 year old smoker. Having both done the West Lion before, we settled on lunching on Unnecessary instead. This would be the same day Muskeeto was on the West Lion and in fact, we’d later see him on our descent dancing around up top.
Where we went instead.
Patrick heading out along North Unnecessary ridge.
Featuring Patrick as the ...Central Lion?...
My 2nd kid doesn’t understand that he’s slowly killing me with his all hours of the morning wake-ups due to T-rex’s chasing him, Lions eating him(ironic…I know), or just plain hunger pains. Kids can be so selfish sometimes. So two weeks after Patrick and I’s jaunt, when I got the thumbs up for a sunny Saturday to myself, I had the intention of sleeping in and maybe doing Seymour or something like that. At 5:30AM I was rudely awakened by 2 WWE wrestlers raging on each other in the living room. Tough to sleep through. Guess I might as well head back to Lion’s bay.
8AM arrival was too late to find a spot in the lot, but I had my bike so wasn’t too bothered. Saw quite a few people gearing up or passing me on the way up. I had the pleasure of meeting Ashi and RIYan at the Brunswick/Lions junction and Ryan mentioned that 2 guys had been rescued somewhere in the vicinity of where I was heading. I wished them well on their adventure and continued onwards. It was already a lot hotter than I had anticipated.
Once on the ridge, I caught up with a couple who had tented overnight. They were planning on following the HSCT to the Harvey bowl and down. I relayed the information about the rescue and emphasized the part about the 2 dudes not having the right equipment. They didn’t seem bothered and followed me down to the uncomfortable downward sloping snow traverse. I’d certainly have been hesitant without pons and an axe, but as was I didn’t have too much difficulty even with the varying snow quality from step to step.
Zoom on couple in middle of uncomfortable traverse.
I decided to go for the ledge traverse under the West Lion to add a bit of spice, but due to some awkward transitions between rock and snow, I opted to go under the face on my return.
Shot of ledge traverse taken midway across uncomfortable traverse.
Half-way across the ledge, I watched the couple struggling across the first traverse. The gent was kicking steps and then supporting his girl as she faced in. I held my breath. If she slipped, regardless of his footing, they’d probably both slide off. On a scale of 1 to dead, it’d probably be somewhere around “3roken 3ones” if that happened. Luckily, it did not.
Pic of route taken off of ridge through bowl with Enchantment in sight.
When I dropped off the ridge line into the bowl behind the Lions, I paused for a good bit in the shadow. Why is it that when you are tired, everything seems a lot farther away….and in black and white?
I questioned my resolve and it said to go a bit farther to see if I felt better. My liquids were already running low. I went high at first, hoping to not have to drop into the drainage to gain the ridge. I couldn’t find an obvious way down so I backtracked into the bush before reaching this boulder field. The lazy man in me refused to take of the pons even though I’d have no need for them until the peak itself. I imagine I resembled a toddler taking to the ice for the first time.
Finally the last bit of up presented itself. Yet again, a couple awkward transitions between snow and rock and then some steep snow and I was on top.
There was a bit of a cairn on top and great views in every direction. I had trouble tearing myself away at about 2 PM, but I was already pretty beat and still had to make it back.
Seldom seen angle of Lions.
I hate when these guys photo bomb my shots.
It took a long time for me to make it back up to the HSCT. I was pretty winded. The traverse back was easy. It’s always easier with axe in my right hand versus my left. I had actually made decent time so I took another long break in the late afternoon sun. It was certainly a beaut of a day.
A little bit of down and once on the bike I made short time of the rest of the road. In the end, I probably could have done something with a little less elevation and distance but I hate unfinished business.
Now I just need the East Lion and it looks far less intimidating from the backside. Anyone ready for a summertime Thrash?