March 13, 2015
A recent report on this area had me thinking it was about time we ventured in. I don't know why, but I was always under the impression this hike was only accessible by 4x4, but as it turned out, the big log across the Jones-Flat Creek FSR reported on previous was removed and we were able to drive right to the trailhead; cross-ditches and all. My car had no difficulty, but it does have fairly decent clearance for a car. Some pin-striping involved.
As for Jones Lake FSR, it is easily driveable by pretty much any vehicle, but there is/was active logging all along. It was quite muddy, especially in the morning.
Initial creek crossing at the trailhead was no problem. A lot of reports on this old abandoned road being overgrown and full of deadfall, but I found it to be pretty decent travel for an old road. Seems to me that someone keeps this one trimmed back on a yearly basis, as there was nothing that needed to be pushed away from my face. There were some blowdowns to go over or around, but nothing serious or out of the ordinary. A couple of small slide areas where you may want to scurry across quickly, and even some inspiring views of Foley, Welch, Stewart, etc. Stewart, it's fellow spires, and accompanying glacier are especially dramatic through this stretch.
Leaving the old road behind, I was pleasantly surprised by the trail through the beautiful old growth forest. Most people long for open skies and alpine views, but both Katie and I also find great pleasure in a soft trail through the big sticks and green. I know it is in Katie's blood, but I guess it is in mine as well. Just something so relaxing and peaceful about it.
After navigating ourselves across a few rough creek crossings, we find ourselves entering the land of steep snow, open terrain, and brighter lights.
The steep stuff ranged through the 1600m - 1800m elevations. Beyond that, we left the trees behind and began traversing under the western slopes of Conway Peak through recent snow. A thin and mostly unsupportive crust made things a bit difficult through this stretch, but the views and an anticipated summit of a new peak kept any negative perceptions far from mind.
Approaching the crest of Conway's south ridge. There was a good breeze blowing snow across the surface here, but the camera didn't really pick it up in this shot. Was a cool sight to be seen.
Conway Peak from the south ridge line. The look of the final ascent from here had the heart rate rise a bit, and even had Katie expressing her early disapproval. But as is usually the case, it wasn't nearly as bad as it looked once we were planting fresh foot and paw-prints upon it.
Katie taking advantage of the only spot to warm her paws on a new peak achieved.
The north ridge of Conway.
Awkward looking summit portrait. Katie looking unimpressed that Foley, Welch and The Still are right at our backs. Actually, she hates being asked (forced) to pose.
Although it was just a short stay to allow time to travel some of the south ridge towards Foley Peak and still be down and away from Conway's western slopes before the blaze of the afternoon sun claimed temporary ownership, she still took the opportunity for a summit snooze. Apologies for the crooked skyline.
Descending to the south ridge. We eventually went as far as the bump just above center, and to the left.
Foley and it's eastern slopes from our stopping point.
Looking back at Conway from the same point.
Cool lighting as we descend to beat the afternoon sun.
Another shot of a light breeze blowing snow across the surface, but again, the camera failed to pick it up.
Shiny snow of the traverse below Conway's western slopes.
The steep descent between 1600m and 1800m.
Out of avalanche danger, we sit down for lunch. Obviously the food has already been consumed by the time this picture was taken, as she would normally be right in my face until then.
Taking time to scan for danger as we travel the old growth forest.
Dramatic afternoon view of Foley and it's accompanying glacier as we descend the old road.
Creek crossing at the trailhead.
Back at the car and hoping those cross-ditches will be as forgiving on the way down as they were on the way up (they were). Probably the most mud my car has had caked underneath it.
Camera battery died before I could get a GPS stats/sleepy Katie pic (too much zoom use and pictures, I guess), but it was 16 km, 1350m cumulative, and 7 hours car to car.
Not our typical quick and to-the-point trip report, but this is now listed in the top five of my favourite hikes, and thought it deserved more time and effort. Condition updates are out of date with last night's weather, anyway. A very special area...and day. : )